Race training

I’ve decided to participate in the Princess Races next year. I walk regularly now but know I need to build up some endurance to not be sore. I’ve downloaded the training suggested by rundisney. I’ll be working on that but I have a few training questions. 1. Has anyone used a bow flex to train when it’s yucky outside? 2. What suggestions do you have for non run days for exercise? CrossFit was suggested but looking for other ideas. 3. If you’ve ran all 3 races (1/2, 10k, 5k) how do you change your training to be ready for all 3? 4. Have any mommies done this and then participated with kids in the 1mile?
Thank you!!!

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Some general thoughts on your questions:

  1. Haven’t used a Bow Flex, but I don’t think that it will really help out much as you are training for endurance races and it is more of a strength training tool. Either embrace the yucky weather or look for a low-cost fitness center near you with treadmills.
  2. With a proper running training program you should not have to add in additional training on the non-plan days - those days should be reserved for recovery or else you may end up overtraining and possibly injuring yourself
  3. Based on your first sentence I gather you are not an experienced runner - I would focus on 1 race (and a shorter distance one at that) rather than looking to compete in all three. If you want to go for a longer distance one I would sign up for local races in the meantime in order to know what you will be up against. If you really want to do all three then I would definitely sign up for local races, especially ones that have multiple distances over several days.
  4. DD was in her late teens when I took up running seriously, so no advice here. :slight_smile:

Also, FWIW, I really do not like the RunDisney training plans, as I am not a fan of Gallowalking. I would start off with a CouchTo5K plan, and then work up from there. Plenty of good free training plans out there for longer distances once you have built up to a 5K.


Congrats Melody! You’re going to LOVE RunDisney (she says as she sits wearing her 2018 10K shirt :wink: )

Is the RunDisney training the Galloway? That’s a great method. Another one I like is Couch to 5K. Once you’ve hit the 5K distance, I LOVE the 10K Finish It plan from the ladies at Another Mother Runner. They - Sara Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell - wrote the books Run Like a Mother and Train Like a Mother. Train Like a Mother is where you’ll find the 10K Finish It plan. I don’t love their 5K plan becuase I feel that it’s too ambitious right out of the gate, but the 10K plan is a good place to pick up after you’ve completed Couch to 5K. And then from there they also have a Half Marathon Finish It (and a full).

If you can’t get outside to run, do you have access to a dreadmill, er I mean treadmill? I’m not sure what a Bowflex is, but to build running distance you have to, well, run…

EDITED TO REMOVE REFERENCE TO DOPEY TRAINING. I’m sure there is something similar to have you do a mock-up of a 5K-10K-half one after the other.

Best of luck on your training! I’m just back into the scene in the last 7 months after a 4 year hiatus. It’s so fantastic, especially when you have littles and just need a little “me time” or, as I sometimes call my runs, an “attitude adjustment” to deal with the stresses of raising small kids.

Hit me up any time!


Oh and the Another Mother Runner ladies also have a presence on Facebook, and they have a weekly podcast that makes for a great companion to your longer runs :wink:

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Thank you!! I’m not much a runner but can and do walk 5 and 10k distances regularly and at a pace faster than the minimum to finish in the designated times. The 1/2 is what will challenge me. I probably sound like a slacker/crazy talking about those lengths of races and not already training to run. I want to be faster and will train this year to do/be so.
A bow flex is a stair climber and treadmill/elliptical in 1.
I am entering local races to help me train.
I’m trying to best anyone except myself. Getting out walk/run/jog is something that helps me feel better/think better. I frequently take my DD in a stoller as she’s too big to carry and go fast now. :slight_smile:
I want to be healthy and lead by example.
I will for sure look into the other training suggestions!! I have heard of the couch to 5k but not the others. I’ll look for the Mother’s group on Facebook.
Thank you for being willing to answer my questions!!!


Ah, OK then - that’s a much better starting point than 'walking regularly" :slight_smile:

Another ah moment - BowFlex was initially a multi-gym product, and that is what I was thinking of. What you are talking about should work as a substitute when you really can’t get out and run, but from personal experience although elliptical-type devices build cardio fitness and endurance, they train different muscles than running. Best to run (or pure treadmill) if at all possible.

I’m assuming you mean “I’m not trying…” - this is the best attitude to have about running! :+1:

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Last I checked the RunDisney training programs were Galloway programs. Maybe that has changed, as his training methods are a subject of serious debate in running forums. Like some topics here… :wink:

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Jenny Hadfield has training plans for all distances (not sure about combos, but possibly) for walk, walk/run, run/walk, and run. LOVE her as a person and as a virtual coach.

edit to add: with your base you have PLENTY of time…most training plans are 16-18 weeks long and you’ve got 12 months.


Yes. Sorry for my typo!! I find trying to talk and manage myself and DD quiet humbling in that aspect.

I think a person should do what works for them and if they’re out there running - no matter how far, no matter how fast, no matter the method they use- then they are a runner. And they’re certainly lapping everyone who hasn’t had the guts to get off the couch and move their body.




(Dead Last Finish is greater than Did Not Finish which is always greater than Did Not Start).

I will agree it takes a special kind of person to be able to do Galloway’s “ideal” intervals - we’re talking SECONDS in the intervals. I did a group “run” with him up here in NYC one time with the Galloway Training Group when they were trying to recruit and I want to say we were doing like 15 seconds running to 45 seconds walking and I was going batty and my knees were hurting at the end because of all the stop and start. While I did run/walk when I was doing running, I found that 2 minutes/1 minute was the best interval for me - everyone needs to find their own interval. Jeff swears by his seconds thing, but it was definitely not right for me.


Definitely - my goal is always to finish, and the time is what it is. I do not use time splits as a goal - I use heart rate monitoring and run at whatever pace keeps my HR in the target zone for the race distance in question. That way I finish at a time that is appropriate for the condition I was in on race day without over stressing myself. Traning runs are the same - there is an optimal HR zone for aerobic endurance training, and I stick to it regardless of the distance that the training plan says to run.


That’s awesome for those who have access to testing to truly know what their heart rates are. For those of us who don’t, it’s not as good of an idea. The “formulas” that you try to figure out on your own are just guesses if you’re really honest. Only testing to determine VO2 and so forth can truly tell you what your range is.

That said, when I did “run” even with intervals I would go by how I was feeling and if that meant changing my 2/1 to a 1/2 or even just walking so be it.

Not everyone who does intervals is an automaton who is incapable of knowing when a certain interval isn’t right for a certain day and refuses to do anything but the interval.

It’s not too tough to figure out what your MHR is - there are some simple tests you can do on your own that will get you close enough to your “true” MHR as determined by a comprehensive stress test. Given that the HR zones are often pretty broad ranges (training is 70-80% MHR) you don’t have to be too precise on your MRH determination anyway.

I agree with you that the formula approach is pretty dodgy, especially 220 -Age. Although there is one formula aimed at older experienced runners that has been tracking my annual MHR re-evaluation pretty well.

I run 5Ks every year (and can probably run one at any point since I maintain myself), but I did train for a 1/2 marathon a couple years ago. I will say that despite following a training plan, I found that it took me considerably longer to get to the 1/2 marathon distance (running, not walking) than the plan suggested. It aws a 12-week plan, and I did it in more like 20 weeks.

As far as what to do in your off days, there is different advice on this. Strength training…particularly leg and core…can actually help your running, so doing planks and such is a good thing to do. Also, doing some non-impact exercises like biking (stationary or otherwise) and elliptical are beneficial. If you do TOO much impact running while training, you can end up with a stress fracture (which happened to me 3 weeks before the 1/2 marathon). So, I don’t recommend doing more than 4 actual runs a week, with only one long run. Actually, it might be better to do 3 runs per week, plus two more workouts that are non-impact.

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I’m going to address only #3 here, as the other questions seem to have been well-covered.

If you take a look at the rD plan, somewhere in the 6 weeks out range, you’ll add a short run the day before your long run, in order to train yourself to go two days in a row. Though the plans are generally written for the “actual” challenges out there, you can certainly extend that plan to add one more day-before short run (so you’re going 3 days consecutively) about 3 weeks out. it’s not that different from training for Dopey (which I’ve run 5x), save that you won’t be looking at 10+/20+ during your training.

As for the Galloway method, it’s fantastic for endurance and for increasing running time, if those are your goals. Choose the interval that works for you, it’s perfectly fine to not get locked into Jeff’s preferred intervals. I would say that the most important thing to understand about doing run-walk-run is that it is easiest to make the run-walk-run transitions late in the run/race if you’ve been doing them from the start, especially if it’s a new method for you. If you’re already tired when you shift from straight run to run-walk-run, you may find yourself taking 10 minutes to do a 2 minute walk interval.

I’ll be glad to discuss it more in PM if you prefer, to keep it away from those who are vociferously opposed to the method.

Finally, most important: anytime you’re walking, PLEASE move to the side of the course to walk so that people moving faster don’t run into you. It’s for your safety and theirs.


If you aren’t currently a runner, I think it would be VERY difficult to complete all three races on consecutive days. I’ve done several 1/2 marathons and you’ll want to rest up in the days leading up to it because it is very hard on your body. There’s no way I could run a 5K and 10K the days before a half marathon and I’ve been running for a long time. As far as cross training, I did the bike or elliptical or the Beachbody workouts–T25, P90x, or 21 day fix as my cross training but I made sure I had two rest days during the week. Your cross training need to focus on endurance and building core strength. As far as the weather, embrace it because you don’t know what race day will be like. I’ve run in rain and sub-0 windchill temps. Find the right clothes and definitely the right shoes. I hate the “dread-mill” and would rather run outside.

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Here in Michigan, where a good percentage of the year is poor weather, I do run/train on a treadmill. But it is boring with a capital B. I also found that my times on a treadmill aren’t reflective of my times when running on the road. For example, lately, I’ve been running the 5K distance on a treadmill in about 29 minutes, give or take. But when I was down in Florida on vacation, I ran outside for the first time in months due to the weather and ran the 5K distance in 26 minutes!

Still, I’m afraid to run in winter Michigan weather because I don’t want to slip on ice. So, I trudge away on the treadmill until the weather is consistently better.


Agreed with @MouseGirl42 re: short runs the day before a longer run for challenge training. Galloway worked really well for me, along with some fun runs (track sprints and slows, running at alternating speeds to different music on my iPod - things like that).

I’d consider myself a casual runner with 7 1/2’s under my belt, plus a handful of 10 and 5Ks. I’ve done 3 challenges so far (Princess was my first challenge, and first half!) and loved all of them. I’m definitely not speedy and don’t really track my time for Disney runs - it was all about the experience for me. I definitely encourage you to give it a shot, especially this far in advance, and have the best time!


I agree with those that suggest doing more training other than running. You will have less chance of injury and would certainly have better overall fitness. Adding in training using your elliptical, biking, core, weights, etc. is a good thing. It usually means having to join a gym.

I disagree that your elliptical would not be helpful for endurance. Go full out for 30 seconds, moderate for 30 and repeat. I’m in pretty good shape and doing 100% resistance and cranking out the RPMs kills me. Your stamina will improve quicker than a steady run with less time devoted compared to running that day. However, it will not be pleasant and takes discipline to do it.

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