This week’s Tuesdays on the Run topic is running challenge races and as I’ve got my eye on running a 5K and half marathon within the same 24 hour period in November (!!), this is definitely something that’s already on my mind. Thanks as always to April, Patty and Erika for hosting!
My experience in running back to back challenge races was with the fantastic Rebel Challenge in January 2015 (recaps here and here). It was a great experience and new kind of challenge for me just to complete 19.3 miles in such a short time frame. As someone who isn’t inherently speedy and probably isn’t going to set the world on fire with my PRs, these new race distances and challenges are a fun kind of goal to pursue. I trained specifically for the back to back runs of the Rebel Challenge last winter, with back to back training runs as part of my plan (more on that plan here).
I would definitely recommend that approach for a couple of reasons if you’re thinking about your own back-to-back race challenge.
– It lets your body and legs get used to the actual distances with less recovery time.
– It lets you practice the fueling and recovery tricks you’ll need to be in good shape for that second race (or to be able to walk after the second race is over!).
That second bit is the thing I found most valuable. I had to consciously think about recovery, in terms of fueling, hydrating, resting, compression and foam rolling in ways I don’t normally worry about when I’m just training for a half marathon.
In November, I’ll be doing the Jingle Jungle 5K at Disney World on Saturday morning, heading over to cheer for Oliver in the kids races and then resting up for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon that starts around 10 o’clock that night. I can’t even imagine running a half marathon overnight, much less running one when I’ve already done a 5K in the morning. The other factor that complicates this a bit is that it will occur about 3 weeks after I’ve run the Des Moines, my fall goal half marathon. My training this summer/fall is definitely going to be focused on optimizing my Des Moines race rather than training specifically for the Wine & Dine weekend like I did for Star Wars weekend. I think it will be okay because it’s Disney – I don’t have a time goal – and it’s just a 5K in the morning.
My plans for that race weekend?
– Get in a couple of evening runs in the three weeks between Des Moines and Wine & Dine weekend, even if they’re only 6-8 miles. That will give me a chance to practice fueling before the run, which is my biggest concern.
– For at least one of those weekends between the two races, do a slow run/walk Saturday morning of a couple of miles and then 6-8 miles at night to simulate the experience a bit.
– On race day, walk most of the 5K and stop for every picture. A big consideration in back to back race challenges for runners like me is preserving some strength and oomph for the second day. With less than 24 hours to recover, I will NOT be racing that 5K, so expect lots of character pictures. 🙂
– Immediately after the 5K, have a substantial snack with carbs and protein while I’m heading over for Oliver’s race. Given the RunDisney post race boxes, I’ll probably be bringing a Larabar and something else in my bag check bag to supplement things.
– After cheering for O, we’ll go have lunch together and that will be my big meal of the day, with a focus on easily digestible carbs.
– Darrell and Oliver are going to head out to the parks to play and I’m heading back to the Polynesian to rest. Even if I don’t nap, I plan on staying off my feet, hydrating and relaxing. I definitely walked way too much between the 10K and half marathon in Disneyland but in my defense it was my first trip to DL! It’ll be hard to miss out on the fun Darrell & Oliver will be having without me, but I know it will make that overnight half marathon a lot easier.
Be sure to check out the rest of the link up for more tips! Have you ever done a back to back race challenge?
More things that might help as you’re planning back to back races:
– Rebel Challenge packing list: Some unique considerations when you’re doing a challenge