Lemming Loop and Dopey Challenge 2015 training plan

The plan below was originally published on my main 18 week training plan page and was the plan I used to complete a solid 12 hour endurance race (Lemming Loop) and the 2015 Dopey Challenge. It is in 2 parts that took me up to the 2015 Dopey Challenge in January 2015 – part 1 is a maintenance plan through the summer 2014 and part 2 is an 18 week training plan for the 2015 Dopey Challenge (and Goofy Challenge) – I also did a 12 hours race (the Lemming Loop) during the training period.  Links to older training plans are listed below.

Update Jan 21, 2015 – Dopey Challenge is complete with a total time on all 4 races at under 8 hours. I met my goals and still had a good time and felt good. The training plan had me in great shape for the Dopey Challenge but as I indicate below it is not for novice runners. As part of this plan I hit a total of 1971 miles run in 2014.

For a mileage comparison – I had to move stuff around here and there and the plan proved to be pretty draining. I did miss some runs, made up mileage at other times and in the end was down a total of 32.5 miles compared to schedule for the period of July through December 2014. Definitely a lot of focus there.

Race report for the first 3 races of the 2015 Dopey Challenge is here and the race report for the 2015 Disney World Marathon (race 4 of the Dopey Challenge) including a lot of pictures is here.

Race report for the 2014 Lemming Loop is here – finished with 49.2785 miles completed in 12 hours.

My Dopey Challenge 2015 Training Plan

I would like to say right here at the start that the plan below is really not a training plan for novice runners – it’s a plan I have made for my own use and it marks a departure from the usual training plans I have been following and posting.  I am at a place where I have set myself both a new marathon PR and a new half marathon PR and want to build on that so it is not a start from scratch plan.  It may also change significantly once I get into it if I find I am stretching myself too much. I suspect for someone to do this plan they need to be comfortable doing runs a couple hours long and doing near 30 miles of running a week or more.

Hal Higdon, Jeff Galloway and Lee Hoedl all have training plans that make a less aggressive start of things as mine below jumps right into the thick of it with a total of 48 miles (including an 18 miler) in the first week. So this plan really isn’t for someone looking for a gradual build up but it might work for someone who is doing a fall marathon this year and wants something to maintain that level and start practicing running several days in a row.

I will also add the disclaimer that this will be my first Dopey Challenge – I have done 4 Goofy Challenges but have never done the Dopey so my assumptions of how I need to train may be way off base. The training programs I used for the Goofy Challenge are linked below as are links to the Hal Higdon, Jeff Galloway and Lee Hoedl plans. My previous plans were all based heavily off the plans from those folks for the Goofy Challenge and I highly recommend them.  Also check out Lee Hoedl’s youtube channel for awesome “all along the route” videos of the Disney World Marathon weekend races.

That plan is below…but first a couple links to older plans that I have used in the past:

My previous training plans are all a modification of the Hal Higdon Intermediate 2 plan – available here:


and the Lee Hoedl Goofy Challenge training plan – available here:


Jeff Galloway training plans (focused on his run/walk/run method) are also very good and are on the runDisney site:



So on to the plan…

I have made my plan in 2 parts – a summer maintenance portion and then the 18 week fall / winter full on training portion.

I broke it up this way as I am going into the summer having run the Manitoba Marathon on June 15th and will be at a pretty solid training level having broken my half marathon PR a month previously (and then breaking my marathon PR on the Manitoba Marathon). So I will be going into the summer strong and in good shape and I will want to maintain this level as well as I can as I go into 2 scheduled half marathons in the fall (one mid-September and one mid-October).

I had thought about training hard through the summer to do a fairly local full marathon in early September but I decided in the end that I would prefer to maintain as best I can and spend all the time I can with the kids in the pool. But the Dopey Challenge in January will mark my 5th Goofy Challenge and I don’t want to feel like I am starting from scratch after the summer is done – I want to go into this one in the best shape of my life and just enjoy it, and that means going in without being worried if I can finish or not, which in turn means significant training.

So for these reasons my longest runs in the summer period will be 18 miles and there will only be a few of them and weekly mileage will hover near steady week to week. This isn’t to say I will be taking it easy. Tuesday runs will be speed work, Wednesday runs will be a weekly contest with myself to see how far I can get in an hour and Thursdays will be hills. Saturday and Sunday runs will be easy, clear the head kind of runs.

To supplement in the summer I will be spending a bunch of time in our backyard pool with the kids and I will be doing resistance exercises in there to help my upper body and core. I will also be doing some deep water running with resistance increasing boots to help strengthen the legs further in a low impact way.

The summer portion will end on September 7th (which will also mark 2 years since I started my journey to get back in shape and become a better runner). After September 7th the Dopey Challenge training begins in earnest. As I mentioned above the first week is not an easy one – 48 miles total including an 18 miler.

The overall weekly mileage for this plan does not change that much from my normal training plan – with a max of 50 miles of running in a week. However the positioning of the running days during the week does shift to try to get me ready for 4 days of running in a row during the Dopey Challenge. In my training schedules up to now I would have 2 shorter runs, 2 medium runs and 1 long run – 5 runs a week total – Tuesday (short), Wednesday (medium), Thursday (short), Saturday (medium) and Sunday (long). But for the Dopey Challenge training the days are shifting but still with same mix of short, medium and long runs. Tuesdays will now be a medium run, there will be no run on Wednesday anymore and Thursdays and Fridays will now be short runs, Saturday will still be a medium and Sunday will still be a long run. At the peak of the schedule I will be doing 40 miles over 4 days some weeks. If I end up finding this to be too hard I will be willing to shift the Thursday runs back to Wednesday so that I am still doing 3 days in a row while taking it a bit easier on myself.

Within the first few weeks of the fall/winter training program the backyard pool will be closed up so I will be looking for something else to add to the mix as a cross training tool – I don’t know what that will be in the end by I am thinking of something along the lines of the Insanity program 2-3 days a week or something like that to help work on speed more. I will keep that an open question until the fall.

The Dopey Challenge / fall/winter training plan also includes 2 half marathons I will be doing in the fall – The Fort Garry Rotary Club half marathon on September 21st and the Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Services half (WFPS Half) on October 19th. Since I broke my many year old half marathon PR (2002 – 1:46:11) in May this year (1:46:00) I would like to continue that effort and break it again in either or both of the half marathons in the fall.

There is going to be an interesting connection of numbers for the Dopey Challenge in 2015:

  • It will the 10th anniversary of the Goofy Challenge
  • It will be my 5th Goofy Challenge
  • It will be my 10th full marathon
  • It will be my 15th half marathon
  • It will, of course, be in 2015

All those 5s, 10s, and 15s speaks out to the geek in me.

So the plans…first the summer maintenance portion – picking up right after I finish the Manitoba Marathon on June 15th:

summer 2014 training plan

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And the fall/winter 18 week Dopey Challenge Plan:

dopey challenge 2015 - fall winter 2014 training plan

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