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!