runDisney challenges continue to grow in popularity. From the multiple 19.3 mile options to the 48.6 mile Dopey Challenge, there is a lot of training involved!
The biggest aspect (along with the multiple early morning wake up calls) is preparing your body for the back-to-back runs. Adding these to your training is critical, as you learn to run one day, followed by double the distance on tired legs the next day. Here are some tips to help prepare you for the back-to-back runs in training and on race weekend!
Increase your mileage slowly. If you have been running awhile, it may be tempting to jump right in to the longer back-to-back runs right away. Take it easy! Start small to ensure your body can take the consecutive days, then start to increase mileage slowly each week. Your body may take awhile to get used to the doubling of mileage in the span of 24 hours! For those who aren’t used to the higher amount of mileage, it is wise to incorporate walk breaks as well.
Work on proper recovery. When running multiple days in a row, you need to make sure your legs are getting the recovery they need! Make sure that you stretch and foam roll after your run, especially to prepare for the double mileage the next day. Also make sure that you are getting food (specifically carbs and protein) within 30 minutes of your run. A couple other options that can help recovery are ice baths and compression gear!
Invest in double gear. If you are working toward back-to-back runs of longer distances, it may be a good idea to get more of your favorite gear. This is a must for shoes! You will go through many pairs, so get a few into your rotation. You also may want extra water bottles, headbands, socks and other gear in case they get sweaty or wet. Keep an eye out for sales on running gear and stock up! And prepare for lots and lots of loads of laundry.
Fuel and hydrate like it’s your job. It is important to fuel and hydrate for any run, but these back-to-back runs are even more important. Make sure that you are drinking water all day long and fuel properly the nights before you run. During the longer runs, make sure that you are bringing fuel such as gels, chews, candy or other food items to keep your energy up. You may get dehydrated or need more energy faster than normal since you just ran the day prior!
Listen to your body. This is the most important of all. These challenges bring a whole new aspect to your training. Be sure to pay close attention to what your body is telling you. Keep an eye out for aches and pains, and see a doctor if they get worse. Feeling tired? Make sure you get some extra sleep. Your body is an amazing thing, so it knows if something is wrong! Listen closely – no race is worth injury or illness!
Challenges are a lot of fun to experience, however there is a lot of training involved. Make sure that you can devote the time to train appropriately! Put in the time during the back-to-back runs, then you can enjoy your time on race day!
Throughout these blog posts, we will cover all aspects of training from our own personal experience. Please note that we are not medical doctors, personal trainers, registered dietitians or in any way qualified to give individualized recommendations. If you have something you would like us to address, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!