27 June, 2011

So You Want to Run Goofy?

I never thought I'd actually have to sit down and figure out how to train for Disney's Goofy Race and a Half Challenge.  WHY would anyone want to run that far?!!? Well here I am, registered for Goofy for 2012.  For those that haven't heard, the Goofy Challenge is to run the Disney half marathon on Saturday and then run the Disney full marathon the very next day.  Oh, plus some of us are even crazier and going to run the 5k Friday morning as well.  We lovingly call that the Dopey Challenge. 

As I've been sitting down trying to figure out the correct training plan to use, I got slightly overwhelmed.  Do I run 3x per week like I did for my Disney full marathon training this past January?  Or can I bump up my runs to 4x per week?  Do I have enough time in my schedule with work and school to actually run 4x per week? Ugh...

After browsing a million sites and training plans, I've realized there's a few things that people need to take into consideration....

The only MAIN difference in running Goofy is the drastically reduced recovery time between the two races.  If you can run a full marathon, then obviously you can run the half the day before.  The one thing that kept coming up in my research is to figure out just how hard you want to run each race.  Many people go all out during the half and then try to just get through the full.  Others use the half as an easy 'training run' for the next days bigger race.  And then there's the rest that split their energy and take both races at less than 100% effort and just want to finish.  (There's also a small group that tries to run each race at 100% effort but I honestly think there aren't too many of those crazies out there)

I believe long distance running is a crazy mental game.  More often than not, your body can handle the distance (if properly trained) but your mind can really mess up a great race.  With Goofy I think it's even more important to make sure that you can handle the distances mentally, not just physically. 

A few things that I've gathered...keep in mind that I have NOT completed the challenge yet so I'm still learning as well.  I'm sure a lot of this will get tweaked as the training continues...

1. Figure out your diet for before AND after races:  It's been mentioned before but now it's even MORE important.  Be sure to eat mainly 'basic' foods that are high in carbohydrates and easy to digest. You do not need tummy problems for any of these races!  Experiment and track the results. Your recovery diet must begin as soon as possible after the half marathon on Saturday… like in the first 20 minutes! Fluids typically will suffice if they are high in carbohydrates and you introduce one of the replacement drinks with some protein (to facilitate muscle rebuilding). I usually stick to chocolate HoneyMilk or regular chocolate milk. I usually carb up two days before a race so now I'll have to play around with back to back carbing!

2. Start to double up on long weekend runs:  Build into your training “long double weekends.” Run a long run on Saturday and come back with another one on Sunday. For example, run 18 on Saturday and run 12 on Sunday. You need to get your body used to running long distances with short recovery times in between.

3. Though “goal” paced running may play less of a role in an event like this since most people are in this to experience it and complete it; quality runs (track and tempo runs) are still essential. Running some of your longer runs at faster than “stick it out and finish” pace.  I've seen training plans where every other week has a medium-long run (8-14 miles) at what would be your goal marathon pace and/or 5-8 miles at your goal half-marathon pace (…if you were racing for a time in either the marathon/half-marathon).

4. When you plan your goal pace for these two races think of the total time and distance of the race, rather than taking each of them on its own. As you would with a relay race or multi-sport race, think of the total effort and then pace yourself accordingly. Don't run the half marathon at your fastest half marathon pace and kill yourself.  In the Goofy Challenge, you’ll be running 39.3 miles over the course of two days. Pace yourself accordingly and you’ll feel a lot better.

The Goofy Challenge is a unique twist on something that many people have done over the years: relay running. Races like the Ragnar Relays test people by having them run three or more times in a 24-hour period. Here, the twist is running a marathon and half-marathon in a short period. This challenge should be a fun and interesting one; just remember to take it easy on day one or you’ll be paying for it on day two!

Tomorrow I'll post my Goofy training plan too... Good luck!


  1. Loved this post. I am training for the Wine & Dine half in October, but cannot imagine training for something like this. I find it fascinating how well you need to know your body and your running pace to be able to train for such a long distance.

    And I'm really curious to see your training plan tomorrow...do you use other plans as a guide?

  2. Well it is going to be fun to sort of train along with you as we all read how you choose to plan and prepare! More power to ya, girl! If I can ever be cool enough to do a marathon, I totally want to go big and be Goofy! And I know me, I can't just do that ... so I'd be a little Dopey!

  3. I love this. Thanks for posting it! I'm planning on Goofy for 2013 so I needed to read this!! Thanks again!!! :0)

  4. Woohoo! I'm so excited for you to run the Goofy! I just decided to run a half-marathon, so this seems 'goofy' to me - but never say never! :) I know you will do great!

  5. @Lisa...ha I'm registered for this chaos and I STILL can't figure out how to wrap my mind around it. :) I'll definitely be doing a lot of trial and error along the way, I'm sure of it! For my plans, I definitely mixed and matched a few popular ones that I've found. Nothing crazy out of the ordinary, just ones that fit better in my schedule, etc!

    @FruitFly...oh I definitely expect you to proclaim that you're doing Dopey at some point in your running 'career'. :) I said I never do a damn marathon and now look...*sigh* I need help!

    @Karen...you're welcome! Hopefully I can figure out the ins and outs for you before you start to train! :)

    @runningtowardstheprize...oh it still seems Goofy to me too, don't worry! :) thanks!

  6. Wow!! I am so impressed you are doing the Goofy! I'm still on the NEVER doing a marathon bandwagon! :) These are great tips though.

  7. Galloway has the training programs available on the RunDisney site starting today...it would take a lot of guess work out if you just followed that plan. :)

  8. @Emily...never say never! :) Thanks!

    @Anonymous...I actually posted the Galloway training plans on the Disney Running 101 section yesterday. They work for a lot of people but I personally don't like them. I don't normally train with the run/walk program and all of his training plans go up to or past the distance you're training for. I see no need to run 26 miles in training when 20 or 22 is definitely sufficient! :)

  9. Oops...let me add that I personally don't like the Galloway programs...for myself! I think he has an amazing program and it has gotten SO many people out there on the roads running! During the marathon, I will be walking at each water stop so I don't want anyone to think that I think this whole run/walk method is a bad idea. I think it's great!

  10. Wow...my jaw is on the floor. So awe-inspiring! I feel like I will be happy if I can get myself through a 1/2 marathon (or maybe a full)...but the Goofy/Dopey is quite a goal. Can't wait to hear how your training goes!

  11. I'll be taking on the Dopey for the second time in January. This year I just wanted to survive. Next year I have more goals.

    Another good thing to do with workouts is do a really intense bike ride or spin class one day and the next day go out and do a nice slow long run. This gets you used to running on tired legs with a little less pounding.

    Most importantly is to have a little fear of the distance and respect it. Practice makes perfect and then come race day - remember to have fun! It's a great experience.

  12. I just registered too! I'm trying to incorporate 2 runs a day (one of them only being 1-3 miles) I think the trick is just time on your feet. I'm VERY excited to tackle this challenge!

  13. @Alison...thank you! You can definitely get through both race distances (half or full). With the proper training, it's not as overwhelming :)

    @Amanda...yeah, survival is my motto this time around. We'll see if I do it again in 2013 :)

    @xcar...I'm definitely excited too! Can't believe it's getting closer!

  14. I was wondering how you did. I was planning on doing the full this year and before I could pay, tomorrow, it was full today. I am quite upset about It. My only option is the goofy. How hard is it? Would this be insane for someone who is athletic but not in running shape? Is there enough time if I just wanted to complete it?

    1. If you've already been training, there's definitely time if you just want to complete it. You need to keep a 16 minute mile from when the last person crosses the start line. Like I mentioned in the posts, we took our half REALLY easy so we didn't burn out too much for the full. Have you done other races before?

    2. So as long as they don't pick you up you still qualify right? I'm scared bc I got my medal but didn't get under 16 but didn't get picked up either...

    3. chi yo...As long as you didn't get picked up, you qualify! I've heard that they threaten that you won't but I know people that have ran much slower yet they've been ok!