Brace Yourself. Dopey is Coming

December is always an interesting time for me. As I peruse Facebook, blogs, twitter and other nooks and crannies of the internet I see many folks in a panic as their January Disney races are quickly approaching. Of course unlike many single races the Goofy and Dopey Challenges as well as the full and half marathon are the focus of even more anxiety. I see people falling into a few different groups.

Group 1: The Procrastinators

It’s December and now would be a good time to start training….yes START TRAINING for the race / challenge. I mean you had so much time back in October, but just couldn’t get going!  You said, “I’ll start tomorrow.” …but tomorrow never came. There are various excuses as to why training for a 48.6, 39.3, 26.2 or 13.1 mile race has taken back burner. BUT, as my 10th grade history teacher used to say, “Nice excuse, but do you have any reasons?” I seldom did. I’m sure some do, but that does not take away from the fact that in about 2 weeks most runners will start their taper for Disney’s Marathon Weekend as opposed to ramping up mileage because they haven’t been training. So what to do considering deferral is no longer an option? Here’s my take.

  1. Don’t panic.
  2. Stop worrying. There is nothing you can do about NOT training over the past three months.
  3. Starting TODAY, do what you can. Start with 20 minutes of activity every day.
    1. Bike, walk, jog, run, elliptical, weight lift, swim, row, ANYTHING!  JUST DO IT!
  4. After the first few days keep adding 5 minutes to each session until you reach an hour regardless of the activity, but keep at it DAILY!
    1. Walk at lunch.
    2. At work, park as far from the door as possible to add steps to your day.
    3. Take the dog for a longer walk.
    4. Play with the kids until you get winded.
  5. Work up to 1-hour EVERY DAY!
    1. Yes, I mean Christmas and New Year’s Day as well.
    2. It’s okay to do three 20 minute sessions or two 30 minute sessions.
  6. Enjoy the race experience. Worst case scenario is you are still at Disney World!

Just remember that there is NO TOMORROW so start now!

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Group 2: The Less Prepared

Maybe you got a late start, but you DID get started.  Maybe you are only going to have a single 20 miler or a single 17 miler before Dopey starts. Regardless, you are feeling ill prepared for the challenge ahead. So what to do considering deferral is no longer an option? Here’s my take.

  1. Don’t panic.
  2. Stop worrying. There is nothing you can do about getting a late start.
  3. Don’t over do it as this will invite injury. Adding a bunch of mileage last minute will do nothing but increase the potential for you to get injured.
  4. Stick to your plan.
    1. Just going to have a single 15 miler before Dopey? Then that’s it! Live with it, but make it the best 15 miler you can by fueling for it like you would for the real deal, dressing as if it’s the real deal and recovering from it like it was the real deal.
  5. Want to do more? Focus on core work.
    1. As you run you get tired. <– Quite the epiphany I know!  😉
    2. Fatigue means your running form will begin to break down which makes it even more difficult to run.
    3. To stave off your running form breaking down focus on the core (abdominal work).
    4. I have a beginning core work plan you can follow here. Do it 3-4 days a week.
  6. Enjoy the race experience. Worst case scenario is you are still at Disney World!

Just remember, stick to your plan.

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Group 3: The Injured

It happens, it sucks, I’ve been there, now get over it. You’ve become injured AFTER the cutoff for deferral. So what to do now considering deferral is no longer an option? Here’s my take.

  1. Don’t panic.
  2. Stop worrying. There is nothing you can do now that an injury has occurred.
  3. How bad is it?
    1. There is only a few people who can answer this and NONE of them can be found in your Facebook group…unless your Sports Med Doctor happens to be a part of your Facebook group.
      1. Go to your general practitioner and get their opinion as well as some tests like an x-ray, MRI or something besides an opinion after they check your weight, heart rate and blood pressure.
      2. Next, get a referral to a Sports Med Doctor who specializes in this type of injury
      3. Your GP may not be qualified enough to give you an accurate diagnosis or prognosis on an injury they seldom see.
      4. Personally, I don’t trust a doctor about an injury unless they are a runner, cyclist or triathlete…my opinion only.
    2. Okay, it’s not that bad. If it’s something that you can recover from in a couple weeks then stop running and ask about cross training such as walking, swimming, rowing, biking or weight lifting for non-injured areas. If you can do this then DO IT!
      1. Cardiovascular fitness does not begin to deteriorate until after approximately 14 days of inactivity…you get more time if you maintain in some way even if it’s a different type of exercise.
    3. Okay…it’s bad. Ask yourself, “Am I okay with ending my running career forever if I continue to run with this injury?” I hope the answer is “No.”
      1. I can’t give you advice here, but that is the question you are asking yourself even if you won’t verbalize it.
      2. But…Dopey cost like $500!!!  In my opinion it’s still not worth potentially never running again.
      3. Make the decision with your medical professional.
  4. Consider volunteering for one of the races.
  5. Worst case scenario is you are still at Disney World! And please do go!  Soak up the experience and cheer on the other athletes.  Believe me, we need you!

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Group 4: The Newbies

It’s coming up so fast! AND, they keep posting countdowns on my Facebook group!  27 days…26 days…25 days….AHHHH! Will I make it?  What if my alarm doesn’t go off? What if I have issues on the course? What if it rains? What if it sleets? They keep saying that it was freezing back in 2010!!! Why do I keep hearing screeching violins like in the movie Psycho? Here’s my take.

  1. Don’t panic.
  2. Hakuna Matata. There is nothing you can do now except finish the training plan you are on and prepare.
  3. Make lists to lower anxiety.
    1. What will you pack?
    2. What will you eat on course?
    3. Where will you eat each day for dinner? <– This is fun to plan!
  4. Study the course(s).
    1. Have an idea where the water / Powerade stops are.
    2. Know where you can see family or friends if they are coming too
    3. Know where you’ll meet that crazy person from your Facebook group.
    4. Know where the best beer in EPCOT is for Sunday’s victory lap at the end of the marathon.
  5. Enjoy the race experience!
  6. Take lots if pictures!
  7. Worst case scenario is you are still at Walt Disney World! Have fun!

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Happy Training!


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