Weekly Workouts and Training for a Marathon

So, big announcement here, for anyone who doesn’t already know.

I am now, officially, in training for a marathon.

A freakin’ marathon.

After focusing all of my energy on running (and surviving!) the Dumbo Double Dare last month, I now have the task of training for the Dopey Challenge this coming January.


Photo credit: RunDisney Fitness Team

For those of you who aren’t already familiar with runDisney‘s crazy race challenges, that’s running the 5K, 10K, half marathon, and FULL MARATHON over the course of four days…a total of 48.6 miles.

Those who survive will be granted six medals: one for each race, plus one for the “Goofy Challenge” (that’s the half and full), and then the inaugural Dopey Challenge medal…which I had the opportunity to see up close and in person during the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Meet-Up (recap here!) a few weeks ago.


I sort of decided to wing it when it came to training for Dumbo, but I thought Dopey was far too serious of a physical challenge to prepare for completely on my own. Especially since, you know, I’ve never run 26.2 miles before. So I’ve chosen to follow Hal Higdon’s training plan, designed specifically for those of us nutcases who have registered for the Dopey Challenge.

This week, I technically followed week two on the training plan…I figured I’d go ahead and count the few short runs I did in the days prior to the Philadelphia Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon (recap here!) as my week one training.


Because yes, that’s right…on this training plan, your very first week includes a long run of 13 miles! Needless to say, this isn’t a training plan for the faint of heart.

Am I scared terrified? Yes.

Do I question my decision to register for this thing pretty much every day? Yes.

But the most important thing is that this is something I really, REALLY want to do. So, I figure I have two choices here.

1.) I can allow fear to control my life and beg runDisney for a deferral and feel like a quitter and spiral into a deep depression when I read recaps and see race photos from everyone who had the courage to go for it this January.

2.) I can face my fears and put in the hard work and choose to believe in myself (for once)…and just make it happen.

Needless to say, I’ve chosen the latter…and since I don’t have any intentions of coming home from Florida in a body bag, I plan to take the next few months of training very seriously.

Here’s a look at my first week!

Mon., Sept. 16: Rest

Tue., Sept. 17: 3.5 miles

Wed., Sept. 18: 6 miles

Thur., Sept. 19: 3 miles

Fri., Sept. 20: Taekwondo class

Sat., Sept. 21: 8 miles

Sun., Sept 22: Rest

Total weekly mileage: 20.5 miles

I modified one or two runs slightly, and changed the order of my cross-training (which, in my case, will likely be a mixture of Taekwondo and cycling) over the weekend. I also plan to try to incorporate walking into my weekly routine, since I’ve noticed some soreness in my hips and legs any time I spent a fair amount of time walking around…I figure it can’t hurt to develop those muscles a bit.

In the meantime, I also plan to scale back a bit on my Thai kickboxing classes for the next few months — it’s a pretty high-impact activity, and there’s no way I’m pulling out of this race because I did something to my leg slamming it against a wavemaster.

Right now, I know that my greatest challenge is going to be the long runs. Duh.

That’s not only because I’ve never run anything longer than 13.1 miles before, but because I have a whole lot of races coming up and am not quite sure where to squeeze in these long runs of 14, or 15, or 16 or (shoot me now) 20 miles when I’m racing in a half marathon every other week or so. Didn’t really think that one through! But I know I’ll figure it out. :)

Anyone else training for Dopey?

Who has words of wisdom/tips for someone in training for marathon #1?

How do you incorporate both long runs and races into your weekend training schedule?


  1. Hey Hey! I am also using Ha;’s Dopey Challenge Training Schedule (as slightly modified to fit my schedule). So far so good – but I’ve got lots ‘o miles to go. Good luck and we’ll see you in Disney!

    • EXCELLENT! Good for you…glad to hear I’m not alone in this! We definitely have a long way to go, but I know we can do it. Keep me posted on how your training is going along the way — best of luck to you! :-D

  2. Well that is pretty exciting! Good for you! Your running mileage for the week has me excited because I too have decided to set fear aside and I am running my 3rd half marathon in May 2014. I’m not sure if I told you about my 2nd half I ran and how at mile 1 I was feeling like “why are we running so fast, this is hard” only to check my Garmin and we were running very slow. Oh boy. About mile 8 I seriously thought of throwing myself into a ditch so some nice firemen would come and carry me to the finish line. About mile 10.5 I almost called my husband to come pick me up by decided to just drag my ass across the finish. I did and swore off any running more than a 10k. But since then I’ve gotten to be a much more conditioned runner and figured it was time. Time to erase those memories of the last half and prove to myself that I *can* do this. And girl, if anyone can run a Marathon in 4 months it is YOU! Just look at what you’ve done already! And following a training plan is the way to do it. Can’t wait to hear all about it! :)

    • Hey, Kelly! So good to hear from you. That is FANTASTIC…congrats! I think that’s awesome that you’re getting back out there; I know it’s scary, and I’ve DEFINITELY had those kinds of runs/races too, but you CAN do this. And, eventually, that bad half marathon experience will completely fade from your mind. Super excited for you, and looking forward to hearing about your training, too! :-D

  3. Because this is something that you really want, you will be able to do it! The mind can pull us through some crazy things!

  4. You will do great. I’m sure with your determination you will make it to the finish line. I did Goofy last year plus the 5K so I know you will be able to do it. I just updated my own training plan. Although I am running the Philadelphia Full in November as part of my year, I have 8 weeks between Philly and Dopey. I am using the last 8 weeks as a rehearsal for the back to back days. Take a look at my plan. It’s a modified Hal Higdon plan. Hope you find it helpful. See you at the finish line in January.

    • Thanks so much! I definitely appreciate the vote of confidence. :)

      Yes, I saw you were running the full in Philadelphia — that’s awesome! Good for you. But, of course, I can see how you might need a bit of a modified training plan. Thanks so much for sharing with me, I’m going to take a look right now! I know I’ll probably have to make a few modifications to my plan, as well, so this is a big help. Thanks again! :-D

  5. Yay for Marathon #1 training! Don’t even think about the distance of the long runs; they will certainly get easier! Just have a lot of good things to think about and remember that 14 is not that much more than 13. Do the same each week and you can do it! Plus it is a Disney race so it will be fun, right? No pressure!

    • Thanks, Amy! Definitely no pressure for a Disney race, that’s for sure. Haha. That’s a good plan, though — I’ll try to reserve all of my thinking time for these LOOOONG runs! :-D

  6. It might be worth your while to meet with a physical therapist and get some stretches/exercises targeted at that leg/hip tightness. It might get worse with all this extra training.

    You are so inspirational! I just had back surgery at the beginning of August and my surgeon said no running until 4 months out.

    How much weight did you need to lose to make running more comfortable?

    • Good thinking, thanks for the suggestion! I’m willing to do just about anything to get me through this training process in one piece. :)

      Thanks so much; that’s sweet of you to say! Hope your surgery went well and you’re on the road to recovery. When you’re ready to run, you’ll be great!

      As far as your question, I honestly started running as a method of helping me to lose weight. Since, you know, it burns tons of calories, haha. I started out (on a treadmill) with just 30 seconds of jogging alternated with walking, and slowly worked my way up from there…even at 250+ pounds. Back then, it was all a matter of earning “Activity POINTS,” but then I signed up for my first 5K and the addiction to racing pretty much took over my life. Of course, being a bit smaller helps you move a little more efficiently, faster, etc., but I never felt uncomfortable running when I was heavier…I think anyone can do it!

  7. If I can do it, so can you!! Dopey, here we come!

  8. Personally, races for long runs don’t work for me no matter how hard I keep trying to make them! The on course support always rocks, though.

  9. Good luck with Dopey training!

  10. I’m not doing Dopey this year (plan is to do it in 2015 though!) but guess what?! I just registered for my first marathon too!! I am doing the Woodlands Marathon here in Houston on March 1, 2014 and I am both excited and petrified! I think following along with your training and knowing you will be going through the same training will help me though!

    • AHHHH, SO EXCITING! I’m so happy and excited for you. You’re going to KILL it. If I can do this, anyone can…we’re all in it together! Looking forward to following you on your training. ;)

  11. I’ll be doing Dopey also! My best advice would be to take your time, have fun and not worry about your times for any of the races! Making it through 48.6 miles is enough of an accomplishment!

    Just out of curiosity have you looked at the Jeff Galloway runDisney training plan? I’m not a fan of the face that his long runs go up to a full marathon (I just don’t think it’s necessary), but even if you’re not doing run/ walk I think those plans are good because they incorporate the back to back runs that you’ll need training for something like Dopey. Good luck!

    • Oh wait, just realized the Hal plan you’re using is Dopey specific also…I didn’t even realize he had one : )

      • Haha, no problem! I didn’t know about it either; saw it on someone else’s blog! Hal’s plan only seemed slightly terrifying, so I figured I’d give it a shot. ;)

    • AWESOME! Best of luck on your training, you’re going to be awesome. Totally agree — this is for fun (well, other than the physical agony, haha) and for the experience and accomplishment…it’s going to be QUITE a weekend!

      I’d agree re: Jeff Galloway’s plan; I’m following Hal Higdon’s plan, which also has a whole lot of those wonderful back-to-back long runs, haha.

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