Yes, I know. Yes, you know. Yes, the world know my hip hurts. I complain constantly. I worry endlessly. Now I’m finally ready to fight back.
The first time I trained for the Dopey Challenge, I felt pretty good. I followed by training plan religiously. I was getting plenty of sleep (as much as I could with an 18 month old), and I kept up with my boot camp classes to get in some extra strength. Right around the training point of about 18 miles, my hip was done. The pain was so great that it was hard to lift my leg to put on pants. I noticed my left hamstring and glute were painfully tight so much so that it felt impossible to stretch it properly. Instead of asking for help, I simply thought this was my cross to bare with training for a marathon. Now that I’m having the pain at such an earlier stage in the game, I’m getting help.
Next week I’m going to Results Physical Therapy to get my running form analyzed and hopefully get some help on what I can be doing to improve my stride and posture. I also have an appointment with a physical therapist to get some answers as well. I’m praying it’s just an issue of being overly tight and needing to add some deep stretching, corrective exercises and some yoga into my routine. I’m making a promise to myself to fit in yoga once a week, stretch nightly and make sure to properly warm up before any run.
With that said, I have some training tips for my fellow Dopey Challengers, or anyone currently training for a marathon.
Running means you can eat as much as you want, right? Wrong! In fact, a lot of times people gain weight while marathon training because they over eat to “make up” for the calories burned. You want to be sure you’re getting an adequate amount of carbohydrates, but getting enough protein is equally important. I usually take in 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. Now, I’m not a doctor so please remember that when changing your diet, but .08-1.0 gram of protein/body weight is a good healthy range to preserve muscle mass. Post run, I normally try to take in 20-25 grams of protein and about 20 grams of carbohydrates. In my opinion, the perfect combo for me is a smoothie with protein, berries, spinach, and half of a banana (potassium). I also sprinkle in some pink Himalayan sea salt to replace some of the sodium lost while running. Sodium, magnesium and potassium are all very important when thinking about hydration. A big, green smoothie is a great idea for a recovery meal because it’s loaded with micronutrients as well.
Try using an app like Myfitnesspal to track your calories and keep your diet in check. Healthy fats are important for hormone stabilization I just wouldn’t consume them directly after a long run. Quick carbs and proteins are your friend after a training run. A Nuun tablet during a long run (in my opinion, anything over 6 miles) is important in the summer months as you’re likely to sweat a lot more.
2. Get your shoes checked!
Finding a good pair of running shoes is almost as important as signing up for the race itself. If you’re running in the wrong pair, you’ll quickly notice body aches and pains after your training runs. Here in Sacramento, we have Fleet Feet where they will watch you run and advise you on the right type of shoe. It’s always a good thought to keep track of how many miles you’ve been running in your shoes to see when you should buy a new pair. I always notice the bottoms of my feet get a little bit tired or sore when it’s time for a new pair.
3. Know your course!
I’m a visual person and when I train for a big race like the Dopey Challenge, I want to imagine I’m there in order to really get myself motivated. I love to look up vlogs on Youtube of the races I plan on running. A lot of times you can see the course you’ll be running and get a feel for the vibe. I love to see the excitement in people’s faces and the sheer joy at the end of accomplishing something major. It’s so helpful to find training videos along the way to keep you focused and feel like you aren’t alone. I highly recommend watching Joyful Miles on Youtube! Not only do they show you the course for the RunDisney races by videos and pictures, but it’s set to great music to get you excited. All of the girls (and Rob!) who run have adorable outfits and positive attitudes. Course maps are almost always online as well. It’s helpful to get those out so you know where you’ll start, finish, and of course…the bathrooms!
4. Warm up and cool down
Making sure you are properly warmed up and have properly cooled down is just as important as the run itself. You’re preventing injury and making sure your muscles are awake and ready to work. Here is a video I took of some of my favorite warm up techniques.
5. Practice makes perfect
Always always always always use your long training runs as a faux race day. Wake up early enough to fuel yourself exactly how you would race day. I’m pretty easy when it comes to what I eat before a long run. For me, easy on the stomach foods are what I go with. A banana, some peanut butter and a piece of toast is the way to go. I never train with caffeine in fear of any stomach issues so I make sure that my gels and chews are also caffeine free. In fact, while I’m running I often look forward to that big cup of coffee after a nice hot shower. I practice timing my gels and chews as well in order to not BONK on race day. When running Dopey, you’re not just fueling for one run but four. Because of this, you’ll want to fuel even more during the smaller races. Normally I only eat something around mile 6 and 10 of a half marathon but for Dopey, I try to have a little something every 4 miles. Directly after the race I try to have at least 20 grams of protein and carbs (minimal fat) in order to help my muscles recover quickly for the next day.
When packing for Dopey, I will bring some plain oatmeal, peanut butter and bananas to have in the hotel before we leave for the buses. While Kaitlin and I are sitting the dreaded two hour wait in the corrals, I will have some frosted mini wheats and dried cherries (dry food and easy on my stomach). I plan on bringing a premixed protein shake and 1/2 of a bagel in my race bag to check before the race. This way, I can start my recovery immediately on the bus back to the hotel. (And on that note, ALWAYS BRING ZIPLOCKS TO A RACE-CATION!)
Not only is it important to practice nutrition, but it’s really important to practice running in the outfits you’ll be wearing. Costumes are a no brainer when it comes to running at a Disney race. If you plan on running in some crazy big costume, you need to make sure you can actually run in it. Costumes aside, trying out a new pair of pants on race day could end up in saggy butt syndrome and be incredibly annoying during your race. Make sure what you’re wearing is comfortable and you know all the places you’ll need Body Glide to prevent chaffing.
Strength training 4-5 x week (focusing on legs 2-3 times per week)
ONLY walking until I see the PT
Core 1-2 x week
Yoga 1 x week
The Disneyland Half Marathon 19.3 miles – 83
Ragnar Napa – 147
The Dopey challenge 48.6 miles – 208
The Princess Half Marathon 22.4 miles – 257
Tinker Bell Half Marathon 22.4 miles – 335