For this week’s Tuesdays on the Run, Patty from My No-Guilt Life, Erika from MCM Mama Runs and I are exploring the art and science of running challenge races. The most famous of these is the runDisney Dopey challenge consisting of a 5k, 10k, Half and Full on consecutive days. I’m not quite up to even thinking about tackling that monster, but I have done several challenges, mostly consisting of a 10k and then a Half. I’ve had both wonderful and horrible experiences with the challenges and wanted to share my lessons learned.
- You actually have to train for a challenge. I’d tried to run back to back days in training for the Tink 10k and Half, but got injured so I just trusted in being able to train for the Half distance. That most assuredly did not work for me! So, I decided to train differently for the Glass Slipper Challenge. Knowing that I couldn’t run back to back days in training without injury, I followed Jeff Galloway’s suggestion of doing a speed walk on Saturday that was half of the distance of the long run on Sunday. What a difference that made to my race experience!
- Stay off of your feet as much as possible the day before your races. Tink was my first trip to Disneyland and I was so hyped up from the fun of the 10K that I spent most of the day walking around Disneyland, California Adventure and the Expo. While I had a great time, I certainly didn’t set myself up for success the next day. If you can, plan your park days for AFTER all the races are done, so you aren’t tempted to explore the parks on the days before each race.
- Fuel properly and adequately. I was so committed to sticking to a low carb and low calorie diet that I really didn’t eat nearly enough the day of the 10K. Which means I just didn’t have the fuel I needed for a half marathon the next day. If you’re doing a four-day challenge, this is even more important!
- Don’t try anything new on race day. Yes, I know, I know. I already knew this logically, but I decided to try a new version of nuun that I found at the Expo. And it did not sit well at all. I didn’t read the label carefully and didn’t realize it had caffeine in it, which I had not trained with. One more thing that is even more critical during a challenge race series than a single race.
- Splurge on your lodgings. At Tink, I got a perfectly acceptable but cheap hotel room. Because the room was dark and the hotel wasn’t particularly nice, it was difficult to convince myself to hang out and rest. I know that when the hotel room is a little more posh and the resort has a nice pool or other amenities then I really enjoy lounging by the water or just relaxing in the room. Rest is so critical during a challenge race that splurging a little on a better room is really worth it.
I’ve signed up for the Star Wars 5k, 10k and Half in Disneyland in January 2016, so I’ll have to make sure to remind myself of those tips as I plan and prepare for the races! I’m trying to figure out how to make financial sense of a stay at the Disney Grand Californian Hotel because #5 seems like the most important of the tips!