I thought it may be helpful to post about how I trained for the Goofy Challenge, so that anyone who is interested in taking this on would have some idea what it could consist of. I also didn’t post about it much while it was happening (in order to keep myself as pressure-less as possible) so I figured now that it’s over (and I did it!!) it may be worth sharing.
I do my best training when I have a plan that I can map out over my calendar. For this I used the Goofy Challenge Training Program provided by runDisney, designed by Jeff Galloway.(sorry, the screen shot is from 2012, but you get the idea.)
Jeff Galloway is a big proponent of a run/walk strategy to racing. While I don’t tend to always race this way (I usually just walk the water stops), I thought his plan might be a good baseline for me, so that I didn’t overtrain for a distance I had never done.
The training program is 29 weeks long. This means I started “training” back in July. Keep in mind I had already done six half marathons when I started this plan (the most recent being at the end of May – Cleveland). So I had a decent base built up.
The program recommends 3 days of running a week. Two 30-45 minute easy runs, and one longer run. About half way through, you also add a long walk the day before your long run to get your body used to being on your feet on two back to back days.
Knowing myself and my schedule, I did alter this a little bit. I did 3 3-mile runs a week, plus the longer run and longer walk. I knew I needed to be on my feet for 3 miles per run at least, which amounts to about 40 minutes give-or-take on an easy run day. I also cross trained with Zumba once a week and Kickboxing once a week. I wish I had incorporated more yoga, but it didn’t really pan out.
Once the long walks were incorporated, I did them on Saturday and my long run on Sunday. I’m not gonna lie, the long walks were hard for me. I just felt like I could be moving so much faster. Sometimes I ended up cutting them short. But I did hit a 10 mile walk with the company of friends (which was awesome), and downloaded podcasts and the I Heart Radio app to my phone to help me through the other walks. I hit most of my long runs as well, until I got injured at least.
Knowing all this, I used a link via the runDisney website to import all of the training plan runs into my Google Calendar. Then I was able to delete them as I did them (I love checking things off), and move them around if needed. This worked out really well for me.
My weeks tended to look like this:
Monday: 3 miles
Tuesday: 3 miles + Zumba
Thursday: 3 miles
Saturday: Rest or Long Walk
Sunday: Long Run
I liked this schedule because didn’t “take over my life” as I’ve heard marathon training can do. I was able to get in my runs in the morning before work, and the weekends when I had more time were saved for longer runs.
I also incorporated a few races in the plan. For example, the Bird In Hand Half Marathon was right around the time when I was supposed to do a 13-mile training run, so it worked out pretty perfectly. The training plan also incorporates cut backs weeks which I followed whenever possible. But I didn’t follow it to a T. I definitely shuffled the long runs around as needed to fit my schedule.
Galloway’s program prescribes going up to a 13 mile walk followed by a 26 mile run 3 miles before race weekend. I have to say I was not a fan of this. My plan was to go up to 10/23 about 4 weeks before and taper from there. Unfortunately I got injured which sort of messed up my plan. I did get in a 7/20 weekend and two weeks later got in 10/13. This was the longest I got of back to back time on my feet. Such is life I guess.
One thing I really liked about this program was the cut back weeks. I alluded to this before a little bit. The program has you only doing long-long runs (8+ miles) every other week. This gives you some flexibility with scheduling and I think also made the build up to the high mileage a lot less daunting. I think it also kept me from getting burnt out as well.
Race weekend: After running the Half Marathon, I took an ice bath. On the day of the Marathon, though the bottoms of my feet were super sore, my legs and hips (my hips are where I usually start to feel discomfort) felt great. So I’d say though I didn’t hit the highest weekend mileage I had hoped for, it still worked out pretty well with this program. Hey, I finished!