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The Dopey-est Girl: How I Started Training for the 2020 Dopey Challenge

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The Dopey-est Girl: How I Started Training for the 2020 Dopey Challenge

Month One of 2020 Dopey Challenge Training is officially in the books. Last month, I shared with y’all a brief Q&A about the challenge: what it is, how you can follow my journey and whether or not I’m actually insane. Now I’m here to share an update on how to start training for the Dopey challenge and where I am now!

How to Start Training for the Dopey Challenge

1. Choose a training program.

Getting started with any race training program is an adventure. There are so many training programs available, and you have to find the right one that fits your running ability and your schedule.

One great thing about runDisney is that they provide Galloway training programs for each of their races, and they offer both beginner and experienced options. I am personally taking the Dopey Challenge training program and adjusting it to my own personal needs. Rachael is running a half marathon in September, so we are currently towards the end of a half marathon training cycle. We’ve found a way to weave this cycle in with Dopey Training by using the Dopey schedule and Run Less Run Faster. Just because you are using a specific training program doesn’t mean you are tied down to it. Feel free to mix and match a bit if you need to.

Some other great training programs to look at include:

Most marathon training plans are between 16-20 weeks long, but the runDisney Dopey plan is a 29 week plan. This may be a bit excessive for a veteran runner, but more necessary for a beginner. Again, if you’re comfortable with it, feel free to change up the plan to suit your needs like we did!

2. Start running again.

As you may have guessed, you have to start running again. If you’re coming off of a break, that means you’ll have to work a little harder to get back into the swing of things. Don’t worry, it’s totally doable! I have a whole post on how to get back into running if you’re starting from scratch or coming off a break.

The key things I recommend are start slow and don’t go in too hard, too fast. You will risk injury and jeopardize your ability to train properly! Start with a couple easy runs a week and build up your endurance. Be sure not to increase your weekly mileage too fast! I’ll also note that the Galloway Dopey Challenge plan accounts for a slow, gradual ease back into running.

As for me, I got back into running 2-3 months after having my son. Last November I started training for some January and February half marathons and I continued running after that. I kept my weekend runs at 5-6 miles so that I wouldn’t lose all of my cardio endurance! This made getting into the next training cycle easy for me.

3. Find a rhythm and stick to your plan.

Once you’ve started and have your running base, stick to your training plan. I can’t stress this enough. You have a plan for a reason, so it’s important to follow it. Training plans are designed to increase your distance each week at a healthy rate to avoid injury. The plan will also throw in week where you dip down in distance. Again, this is intentional to ensure a healthy training cycle, so stick to it!

4. Don’t get discouraged if you miss some days. Find a way to make it work.

Obviously throughout a training cycle you’re bound to miss a few runs due to off days, work, illness, weather, travel and other life events. If you miss a run or two, don’t fret. No one is perfect! Missing a short run here and there is easy to come back from, just try not to make a habit of it. Long runs are a bit harder to miss, but missing one long run will not ruin your training. Just pick back up with your schedule instead of trying to squeeze it in midweek. Remember that training plans are designed to increase your mileage slowly each week to ensure healthy training. Two long runs in a week could lead to problems!

One thing to consider, if you miss 4 weeks of your training program especially as you get closer to the race, it may be wise to rethink your readiness and postpone until next year. This is obviously more towards the end of the training program, but it’s something you need to think about throughout just in case!

Where I am in my training?

Rachael and I are doing great! Her half marathon is next month, so I’m keeping up with her distance since we like to do a long run together each month. We’re currently up to 13 miles and will do a 15 mile run at the beginning of September before tapering for her race. Then we’ll pick back up with our Dopey challenge training plan.

The next couple of weeks, I’ll be in Scotland which means my long runs won’t be happening. I plan to keep up with short runs in each city we visit because it’s one of my favorite ways to explore a city! Luckily, I got a 13 mile run in before my trip, so 15 miles when I get back won’t be too much of a jump. Don’t forget to follow our @twodopeygirls Instagram to follow all of my running adventures! (And travel adventures on @amysbalancingact!)

There you have it, the tools you need to start training for the Dopey Challenge! Whether you’re running the big race in 2020, planning to run in the future or planning to training for a marathon, these tips can help get you started on your grand running adventure.

Let me know in the comments what race you’re training for now or hoping to train for in the future!

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