December 29, 2014

Tips for Dopey Challenge....it's almost here!

Dopey Challenge is a fantastic weekend of races, four to be exact, but there is much preparation needed to get to the starting line four times.  While we are sad to miss marathon weekend at WDW in 2015, we are very excited for all our running friends who will be toeing the line at one, two, three or four races!


To enjoy your race weekend, there are certain things to do before and after you arrive in Orlando for the big event! We are sharing our tips based on personal experience and hope this will help you as you prepare for your last week of training.

Training: If you have followed a training plan, continue that until race weekend.  While your longest runs are in the rear view mirror, there is still time to get in several quality runs before you take on 48.6 miles in four days.  Take plenty of time to stretch and roll after each run.  Taper is really important and be sure to put those feet up as frequently as possible.

Hydration and Fueling: Before you leave for Disney, start hydrating really well the week before the race (s).  Bring a water bottle so you are hydrating and keep track of your fluid intake. I usually drink my weight in ounces each day during race week, as per guidance from my coach. This includes water, Gatorade and Nuun.  Now is the time to get into gear with healthy eating if that is not your normal diet.  I have a deep weakness for ice cream, but forgo it when I have a really big race coming up.  Avoiding alcohol and caffeine is also not a bad plan.  During race week, salting your food is also helpful, especially if the Orlando weather forecast is hot for race weekend. My coach takes salt pills during her Ironman races and that is another option during your races, but only if you have taken them in training. Nothing new on race day ever!

Visiting the Parks, yea or nay: Plan to skip park visits after the Donald Half Marathon so you have energy for the Mickey Marathon. While we chose to visit Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios after our first two days of races, we did not open and close the parks! Pack your water bottle in your day bag so you can refill it frequently in between rides and shows at the parks.

Entertainment or how to keep occupied between races: Your resort pool is a great place to relax, providing you stay out of the hot Florida sunshine.  I have spent several hours during my Goofy and Dopey Challenge weekends enjoying the pool after my half marathon.  If you are staying at the Polynesian, you can even fuel up with a Dole Whip at the Polynesian Lanai restaurant!  Downtown Disney is a fabulous option after the half marathon.  It will give you a break from your hotel room and there are some things to do there that will not zap your energy.  An AMC movie theater with 24 screens, the bowling alley at Splitsville Luxury Lanes or a nice meal at a restaurant away from your hotel will help you fill the remainder of the day after running the Donald Half Marathon.

Sleep:  The last and most important suggestion/tip involves a bed and sleeping.  Do not assume you will be racing on full energy by days three and four.  Unless you have the ability to fall asleep like a baby at 7:30pm, you will not be getting your normal sleep. Early mornings with a wake up call at 3:00am on consecutive days will cause sleep deprivation in most individuals.  Consistently we heard from runners who completed Dopey that the lack of sleep was the most difficult aspect of the challenge.  Getting extra rest prior to the weekend will be very helpful and you are welcome for that tip!

If you would like to read individual race recaps from 2014 or our overall thoughts on Dopey, clink on the links below.

Race Recap: WDW Family Fun Run 5k

Race Recap: Inaugural Minnie 10k

Race Recap: Donald Half Marathon

Marathon Recap, Pam's Version

Amazing Bling
Dopey Challenge:  the wrap up!

We will have one more post before this week that will include more race weekend information.  If you have questions that you would like answered in that post, please fire away in the comment section below!

21 comments:

  1. Great tips! We are so excited to be going Marathon weekend for the Goofy Challenge. -L

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    1. I loved doing Goofy for my first marathon in 2013. While I will miss this special race weekend, it will be fun to read people's posts and follow along on race day (s)! Enjoy your trip!

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  2. I'm actually getting really excited about Marathon Weekend - especially since Jason will be running his first half marathon! I'm doing Goofy this year and there's a part of me that feels like I am missing out on not doing Dopey, but I think I'll appreciate not having to wake up at 3am 4 days in a row!

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    1. I would definitely do Goofy again, but not Dopey. Those early mornings once was enough for me! -P

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  3. What time do I need to make sure that I'm in line for the bus?! I'm staying at All Sports and I just want to make sure that I am on the bus on time! I'm doing 3 of the 4 races on my own and it says that the transportation starts at 3:30... do I need to be in the lobby at 3:30 or could I wait until 4 am?! Stressing :)

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    1. Kathleen, we have never stayed at All Sports, but I would go early on the first day although we were way too early for the 5k last year. I think you need to be in the line before 3:45, or that is what we would be doing. We are anxious about that sort of thing too!

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  4. Getting up early four mornings in a row was definitely the hardest part of Marathon Weekend. Even though I only participated in the 10k and half, I of course had to be there for Preston while he completed all four races. We both agree the sleep deprivation is the hardest part of the weekend, and while he'd be up for Goofy in the future (he's contemplating 2016), he's definitely not up for Dopey again.

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    1. Ahh those sleep deprived mornings are really no fun Kathryn. I would also go for Goofy again, but not Dopey.

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  5. Sounds like a full weekend of racing! I'd love to be down in marathon weekend one year (maybe for my first full) but I'm not sure I'll ever be up for this challenge. The waking up early for so many days in a row is daunting.

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    1. Chaitali, it is definitely hard being sleep deprived!

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  6. Awesome tips! Maybe one day I will attempt Dopey! ;-)

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    1. Mindy I can't wait for you to run a marathon. You improved so much last year and with your weight loss coupled with alot more speed, you are ready to take on the challenge!

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  7. Great tips for Dopey Runners! Y'all are brave ones!!!

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    1. Sarah it was a one and done for me, but I thoroughly loved the experience!

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  8. Love this!! And very happy to be doing "just" the marathon this year! So fun.

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    1. Smart choice Jennifer! One day of racing during WDW marathon weekend is plenty with that 3:00am wakeup call!

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  9. thanks so much for this! I am starting to get nervous for Dopey (even though I feel trained!) and plan to focus on nutrition, water intake and sleep over the next week. Those 3:15 am wake up calls will come soon!

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    1. Enjoy your races Juliana. It sounds like you are in great shape to have a wonderful weekend.

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  10. Thanks so much for all of these tips, ladies! I'm used to interrupted sleep, but not waking up -- and staying up! -- so early so that's what I'm most nervous about. I'm looking forward to your Dopey tips post!

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  11. Stupid iPad! I tried to post and I think my iPad ate it. Sorry if this is a duplicate comment!

    Anyway, you guys are always so adorable in all of your pictures! I love looking at them. :) Good advice in case I ever want to attempt Dopey!

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  12. Great tips! I'm going Dopey for the first time this year :)

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