Hal Higdon: Dopey Challenge

THIS IS DOPEY! For those accepting the Dopey Challenge at the Walt Disney World Marathon, here is your training program. Following the popularity of the Goofy Challenge, which involved running the half marathon on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday, Disney created an even tougher challenge for the toughest of tough marathoners. Run a 5-K on Thursday. Run a 10-K on Friday. Run a Half Marathon on Saturday. Run a full Marathon on Sunday. Not easy, but this Dopey Challenge Training Guide will propel you to success. Can those of you signed up for Dopey handle the high level of training necessary for your survival during four races on four successive days? The marathon, any marathon, is an unforgiving foe. You can't cheat on the exam. There is no crib sheet to strap around your wrist to get you to the finish line. You need to do the training. Check the chart showing all 18 weeks of workouts, either here on TrainingPeaks or on my Web site: halhigdon.com. Look at Week 1, specifically the Sunday run scheduled for Week 1. Holy Mickey: 13 miles! Seems like a lot for the first week of any training program. Maybe so, but don't kid yourself. Dopey is not for first-timers. It is a hard-core and in-your-face challenge. Only experienced runners need apply, meaning: those of you with more than a few half marathons and full marathons under your belts, not to mention a few 5-K's and 10-K's too. This is Dopey! If you follow my training plan for the next 18 weeks, you will arrive at the first of four starting lines ready to roll. And could you use this program for another multi-race event--or just to get in shape for a single marathon? Yes, you can--as long as you are an experienced runner. It is your decision. Good luck taking the Dopey Challenge.

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