How I trained for Dopey

IMG_3079So, every runner has a different experience. Everyone is different, we’re all special snowflakes, blah blah blah. But if you’re thinking about signing up for Dopey, you might be wondering about the commitment level. Here’s a basic overview of how I trained for Dopey (and I didn’t PR anything but I did manage to finish even with bad IT band pain during the marathon so there’s that).

The Fall Marathon

I did the Marine Corps Marathon in October and I considered it a part of my Dopey training but this was the marathon I was running to improve my time.

In July, I started Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 1 marathon training plan. I picked it because it had one mid-distance run on the weekends in addition to my long run (in July/August I planned the runs on weather so the longer non-long-run runs were on the coolest possible days and I didn’t run on Sundays because I needed one sleep in day and during the summer long runs had to be started early). The biggest difference here is that if you’re just starting with the WDW marathon as your date, you’ll probably start marathon training in September so you kinda skip over the really hot months and disgusting runs. I’m doing another fall marathon, so I guess I didn’t hate it too much.

The Coast

I definitely coasted after Marine Corps. In theory, Hal Higdon’s Dopey plan was up on my fridge but to say I was following it is kind of misleading because I wasn’t. The thing to keep in mind is that after a marathon you may not really feel like running a lot. It’s a lot to bounce back from, so keep that in mind while you’re planning. I also run alone, so in terms of getting out there to do Dopey runs I was kinda meh about the whole thing, and by that point the really long runs where incredibly boring. Plus, unlike during the weeks leading up to the Marine Corps Marathon, there weren’t tons of people out everywhere running. It was like everyone had vanished and the balloon of marathon excitement had completely deflated, so I wasn’t as excited about getting out to run.

IMG_3072Having said all that, I did a couple of 15+ mile runs between MCM and Dopey. Two weekends before Dopey I did my first and only Dopey simulation, (so I kinda skipped over the taper for this one) which included a 20 miler where my IT band killed me most of the way so I ran/hobbled it. Honestly, nothing prepared me better for the marathon than this 20 miler from hell which ended up being basically my marathon experience. My IT band was also the reason I wasn’t logging as many miles and why my Dopey simulation kept getting put off and basically dictated how I spent marathon weekend running as conservatively as possible.

Overall Time Investment

For me personally, it wasn’t that much more of a time investment than, say, just the marathon, for me, anyway. Dopey ended up including my third marathon and while I would normally be in the camp of don’t-make-the-challenge-your-first-marathon, I’d also say it’s kinda great in a way. This might sound weird, but by the time you get to Sunday, you’re so tired from getting up before the ass crack of dawn that you’re actually in a mindset of “let’s just get this fucking shit over with already” instead of being scared/nervous.

By mile 20, and this is going to sound even crazier, I was so excited to be almost done with the challenge and the idea that I could sleep past 3am tomorrow that it basically made the last 6.2 miles feel not as bad and I started legitimately speeding up my hobble. I ran through Hollywood Studios screaming at other Dopey people, “WE’RE ALMOST DONE!! CAN YOU BELIEVE WE’RE REALLY ALMOST DONE?!” I actually ended up picking up a few Dopey runners who had been walking/slowed down because they were like, “fuck yeah! ALMOST DONE!” One of them told me, “I’m going to follow you because I need something to drag me through this finish!” I also sang Laverne and Shirley’s theme song to them as we passed the ABC Commissary. It was playing so I just started scream-singing, “WE’RE GONNA DO IT OUR WAY!”

In my next life, I’d like to be a pacer/cheerleader.

So that was my Dopey training experience. It was what it was, better or worse, but I got through it. Well, you know, yeah.
How do other people train for these kinds of things?




11 thoughts on “How I trained for Dopey

  1. I have been thinking about Dopey for a while now, ever since I did the marathon in January I have been itching to do the Dopey. I was glad to read that training did not take as much time as a regular marathon training would have taken!

    • It’s not bad if you’re already training for the marathon–after a couple weeks of runs longer than a 1/2 marathon adding a 10 miler the day before doesn’t seem quite so insanely ridiculous since my mid distance runs were around 8 anyway.

  2. I think I followed your training plan for Goofy…bust your ass through the gross summer runs training for a Fall Marathon, then coast into WDW Marathon Weekend. I had a couple shorter races between the fall marathon and Goofy, and only a couple really long runs, culminating in a 20-mile treadmill run in December that not only shattered my will to live but left me with black toenails that I still have almost 4 months later…

  3. The 2015 Dopey Challenge starts 6.5 weeks after the Philadelphia Marathon, which is not too long to coast into WDW Marathon Weekend. Can you and Jenn come up to Brooklyn to keep me company on a long run? I’ll show you my amazing long run route. It includes several laps around a track by the Red Hook Ikea around mile 9.

      • It also goes through all of Brooklyn Bridge Park, which spans over two miles just to get from one side to the other. But I discovered on my seven-miler the other day that they closed down my favorite part of it … this quiet little beachy part right under the Manhattan Bridge … for the ENTIRE YEAR so they can put in some stupid rock-climbing walls and a dog run. I’m so sad.

        Anyway, it probably makes more sense for me to come down to DC for a group run? EITHER WAY LET’S MAKE IT HAPPEN. IN SEVERAL MONTHS.

      • A ROCK CLIMBING WALL?! I never thought I’d say this but that’s pretty bourgeois…

        We actually, surprisingly, have some good spots for long runs–I usually do mine on Capital Crescent or C&O canal because you can do a 10 mile out and back but yours sounds a lot better… hmmm… Maybe we need to schedule a summer one too since WE’RE ALL DOING FALL MARATHONS!

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