Flip Side: Should a runDisney Challenge be Your 1st Marathon?

FLIP SIDE: Spirited Discussion

While there are multiple things that we agree on – like our love of Jeff Galloway and runDisney – there are other running topics where we at RunAllTheRaces have a difference of opinion.

The great thing is, we use it as a way to open a discussion and never let it get in the way of our friendship.

Hearing both sides of a running issue enables our readers to think about things from multiple view points and make the decisions that are right for them.

In the spirit of a good debate, RunAllTheRaces will occasionally post under the “Flip Side” banner. These posts will address a running topic that that keeps us talking and we hope it gets you talking too.

First up (and just in time for 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend registration): Should a runDisney Challenge, such as the Goofy Challenge or Dopey Challenge, be your 1st Marathon?

**************************************************************

 

Kimberly, Main Street, USA 2009 WDW Marathon

Kimberly, Main Street, USA 2009 WDW Marathon

Kimberly: NO

I would strongly recommend that you SHOULD NOT run a runDisney Challenge, such as the Goofy Challenge or Dopey Challenge, as your 1st Marathon.

Here’s the thing.  Your body has never before covered the 26.2 distance.  Just training for a single marathon takes 18 weeks of dedicated training and high levels of stress on your body.  This foundation of base mile training helps your body to successfully endure the race.  Adding the additional stress of multiple days of running when your body is new to this stress is just unwise and opening yourself up to risk of injury.

It is also wise to join a local marathon training group or at least download a training plan and follow it to the T for your first marathon.  Marathon training consists of Base Millage, The Long Run, Speedwork and Rest & Recovery.  For beginners, speedwork is not as important as building base millage and the long run.  Hydration and fueling are key components and should be practiced on The Long Runs.  I would also recommend adding dress rehearsal races like a 5K, 10K and Half Marathon into your training so you have the experience with race morning anxiety, running in crowds, water stations and porta potties prior to your goal race(s).

I would recommend if you ARE planning to run the Goofy or Dopey Challenges in 2015 you should plan to run a fall marathon in October or November prior to the WDW Marathon Weekend.  I would never tell someone not to try a Challenge as their 1st marathon, but I would strongly recommend the runner follow the runDisney Jeff Galloway training plans designed and provided for each challenge.

**************************************************************

 

Perfect Goofy Gail during her first Walt Disney World Marathon in 2006.

Perfect Goofy Gail during her first Walt Disney World Marathon in 2006.

Perfect Goofy Gail: YES

So, I’m VERY rarely a black and white kinda gal when it comes to running.  Everyone is different and you need to figure out what works for you, but – I’m not gonna lie – running a runDisney Challenge as your first marathon is totally doable.

Why do I say this?

The Inaugural Goofy Challenge was my very first marathon (and only second half marathon).

I lived to run another day.

In fact, I’ll be back in 2015 for my 10th Goofy Challenge (and 2nd Dopey Challenge) and it was the race that got me hooked.

Now, to be fair, when I signed up for the Inaugural Goofy Challenge there was not the large social media running family there is now and I went into this somewhat blind.  I only had my small running family (who started about 8 months earlier with me) and, really, what did we know?..

I will admit that NO ONE ELSE in my running family signed up for the Inaugural Goofy Challenge with me.

But I did have awesome support. My good running friend Melissa ran the half marathon with me and several other running friends ran the full marathon.  As I was local to the Central Florida area at this time, I also knew a number of course volunteers at both the half and full marathon.

I also went into the challenge just wanting to finish. I had been in a bad place for a bit and getting out and running and meeting new people changed my life.  Running the Inaugural Goofy Challenge was as much a mark of a change in my life as it was a “race” for me. I simply wanted to finish (regardless of the time) to prove to myself (more than anyone else) that I could.

I respected the distance, the training, and set out not to run until I passed out (but, in truth, I did almost get stuck on the toilet the day after the full marathon, as my legs had decided they no longer wanted to speak to me…).

If you approach a runDisney Challenge with the right outlook, you won’t necessary set a land speed record, but you will finish (and you just might surprise yourself and others)!

**************************************************************

Let us know what your thoughts are around this topic.

Here’s to a spirited discussion!

Perfect Goofy Gail and (soon to be Decidedly Dopey) Kimberly

11 thoughts on “Flip Side: Should a runDisney Challenge be Your 1st Marathon?

  1. I just think its personal…2015 will be my first Full! I was so close to signing up to Goofy BUT in the end, I want to be able to enjoy the Full as much as possible without worrying about tired legs, potential chaffing or blisters LOL. I am slow, and quite frankly worried about finishing – AND really race fees at Disney are not cheap and in the end that was a factor too…. I have other plans for this year and with SOME doubt decided NOT to spend my $$ on Goofy and to focus on my first Full Marathon. It was a huge decision thought process and I had lots of people supporting either way. BUT its personal….. Kudos to those who go for it!

  2. I love both points of view. I’m training for my first half in July, with several other half marathon races lined up from then until November (with Wine & Dine). I am running my first full with Goofy Challenge with the idea in mind that I am no longer training for a half in July, I’m training for a full in January. I think, I hope I’ve given myself enough time to prepare.

  3. I was totally fine until the toilet story Gail! Ack! I need recovery tips from you so I can actually move on Monday please.

    I’m glad yall posted this AFTER I picked Goofy as my first marathon. However, I now have the Tucson marathon (December) in the back of my head in light of Kimberly’s suggestion.

    So many thoughts to process!

  4. Interesting arguments from both side. I think it really depends on the person and their past races and how committed they can be to training. Dopey will be my first full. But I’ve ran four half marathons in four days (52.4 miles!!!) and am working with a great coach. We’ve got a 30 week plan with 18 weeks of kicked up dedicated training. And I will probably run the four half marathons in four days again this November, but I am itching to just maybe make one of those a full (65.5 miles oh no!). Of course in that group, there are a few people who will choose one day as their first Ultra and then three half marathons or marathons to make the Quad, so I will be the least crazy of the bunch!

  5. i am going to say that i have to agree with you both. Is that even allowed?? lol
    Im doing my first run disney event in 2015 (dopey). I have already completed 2 halfs and numerous 10ks and am going to run my first full in october. I think gails point of just finishing the race is an acheivable one. I really am doing dopey just to prove to myself that i can. I just want to finish, however i totally agree with kim also because you need to set your body up for that kind of haul. Its a long way to go. So in part im am completly agreeing with you both.

  6. Interesting arguments from both side. I think it really depends on the person and their past races and how committed they can be to training.

    For the moment, Dopey will be my first full. But I’ve ran four half marathons in four days (52.4 miles!!!) and am working with a great coach. We’ve got a 30 week plan with 18 weeks of kicked up dedicated training. And I will probably run the four half marathons in four days again this November, but I am itching to just maybe make one of those a full (65.5 miles oh no!). Of course in that group, there are a few people who will choose one day as their first Ultra and then three half marathons or marathons to make the Quad, so I will be the least crazy of the bunch!

    For me, it’s not the distance that I’m worried about, I’m actually working on speed because I’m so damn slow. My longest training run hit 24 miles last year and I feel like it took all day!

  7. I ran the Goofy Challenge in 2013 as my first marathon. It worked out well for me, but I followed Jefff Galloways’ training plan to the letter. I also am proud to say that I finished the marathon in under 5 hours which was my goal! I really think that doing your first marathon as part of a challenge depends on the person. You really need to put in the grueling training required to do these races so you have confidence going into the race weekend.

  8. I’m with Gail. I went from Couch to Dopey for my first marathon, and had a BLAST! It’s important to understand the amount of training involved, though. Without a lot of time and commitment to Jeff Galloway’s training plan, I would never have accomplished that.

  9. I had done numerous half marathons prior to my first full, which was part of a Goofy. So I wasn’t completely green but it was the first. Also my objective was simply to finish. My longest training run was 20 miles. And a typical week was 4, 4, 6, 12 miles. I finished fine. My only regret was not having run a longer training run, something closer to 26. My second marathon was part of the Dopey earlier this year. My longest training run was 23 miles. Faster and better than the first time. I don’t see any reason you can’t train for a challenge as part of your first marathon. You wont set speed records but you can do it with proper training and preparation

  10. I would take a Middle-of-the-Road approach here by suggesting with no reservations the Disney Marathon as someone’s first attempt at the 26.2-mile distance. Not only is it an amazing party from start to finish, but it provides enough distractions to keep your legs moving until the end. However, I would not recommend the Goofy Challenge to first timers. The marathon is an event unto itself, one that should be enjoyed on its own terms, especially if it’s someone’s maiden voyage. I wouldn’t want to start the longest run of my life on tired legs unless I’ve done it before and have the confidence to reach the finish line in one piece.

  11. I agree with Dan not to do the “Challenge” for your 1st Marathon experience as well. Should be more for the experienced runners to prevent injury or DNF for the’ Challenge’. One step at a time 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s