Hal Higdon: Dopey Challenge

Average Weekly Training Hours 04:26
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 04:26
Training Load By Week

THIS IS DOPEY! For those accepting the Dopey Challenge at the Walt Disney World Marathon, here is your training program. Following the popularity of the Goofy Challenge, which involved running the half marathon on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday, Disney created an even tougher challenge for the toughest of tough marathoners. Run a 5-K on Thursday. Run a 10-K on Friday. Run a Half Marathon on Saturday. Run a full Marathon on Sunday. Not easy, but this Dopey Challenge Training Guide will propel you to success. Can those of you signed up for Dopey handle the high level of training necessary for your survival during four races on four successive days? The marathon, any marathon, is an unforgiving foe. You can't cheat on the exam. There is no crib sheet to strap around your wrist to get you to the finish line. You need to do the training. Check the chart showing all 18 weeks of workouts, either here on TrainingPeaks or on my Web site: halhigdon.com. Look at Week 1, specifically the Sunday run scheduled for Week 1. Holy Mickey: 13 miles! Seems like a lot for the first week of any training program. Maybe so, but don't kid yourself. Dopey is not for first-timers. It is a hard-core and in-your-face challenge. Only experienced runners need apply, meaning: those of you with more than a few half marathons and full marathons under your belts, not to mention a few 5-K's and 10-K's too. This is Dopey! If you follow my training plan for the next 18 weeks, you will arrive at the first of four starting lines ready to roll. And could you use this program for another multi-race event--or just to get in shape for a single marathon? Yes, you can--as long as you are an experienced runner. It is your decision. Good luck taking the Dopey Challenge.

Sample Day 2
0:27:00
3mi

Run 3 miles at a comfortable pace. Don't be tempted to push the pace. Undertraining is often better than overtraining--and this is true for Dopey too. The marathon race belongs to the steady, not to the swift.

Sample Day 3
0:45:00
5mi

Today's Sorta-Long Run is 5 miles. Run this workout at your marathon race pace. You can ease into the workout if you want and ease out, but you should run at least near that pace most of the way.

Sample Day 4
0:27:00
3mi

Run 3 miles. Follow the run by doing some stretching and strength training for about 15-30 minutes. Strength training is important, but don't overdo the heavy weights.

Sample Day 6
0:27:00
3mi

Run an easy 3 miles today as prelude to a long run of 13 miles on Sunday. The odd weeks feature this pattern of running on consecutive days: two consecutive days in Week 1, four consecutive days by the time you get to Week 15.

Sample Day 7
1:57:00
13mi

13 miles in Week 1? Is he kidding? I realize this seems like a lot for the first week of any training program--but this is Dopey! I assume that you have arrived at this training program with a high level of running fitness, otherwise you should not have signed up for an event featuring four consecutive days of running. Sorry. Didn't mean to get bossy. Stick with me, and I'll get you to the finish line of all four races.

Sample Day 9
0:27:00
3mi

Today's workout is a run of 3 miles at a comfortable pace. Pick some course that you enjoy running. For measuring courses, a GPS watch might be a good addition to your box of running toys.

Sample Day 10
0:45:00
5mi

Run 5 miles. Last week Wednesday, I asked you run marathon pace. Today, simply run at whatever comfortable pace suits your mood. When you see the word run in my charts, this is what I mean.

Hal Higdon
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Hal Higdon is a Contributing Editor for Runner's World, that magazine's longest lasting writer, Hal's having contributed an article to RW's second issue in 1966. He also is the author of more than three dozen books, including Marathon: The Utimate Training Guide and the recently published Hal Higdon's Half Marathon Training and Run Fast (3rd edition).