After I ran my first two marathons and suffered through them, I decided I wanted to do something different the next time (hopefully suffer less). That is when I found Jeff Galloway and his books. I will tell you, I read it, enjoyed it and resisted for a while. In my head, I just could not make sense of it. He talked about run/walk/run and how it would help you go faster and recover quicker. It just did not make sense to me.
I actually decided to get coached by Jeff for my 3rd marathon. That marathon was still not great, but it was a far cry from my first two as I would PR by about 35 minutes! My first marathon I cramped and finished in 4 hours and 53 minutes limping the 2nd half. My next marathon I battled IT band problems and finished in 5 hours and 2 minutes. For the next Disney Marathon I decided to get coached and I finished in 4 hours and 20 minutes. I still struggled, but I could see a vast improvement. The improvement would finally bring me under the 4 hour mark later that year in Greenville SC. The Galloway training would also help me to finish my first 50 mile race the following year.
I don’t remember the exact ratio I used during the race, but I think it might have been running for 4 minutes and walking for 30 seconds in that first race. I don’t actually use that same method today, but I do walk through every water stop after I pass it and take the time to drink. Since I started doing this, I have never cramped again in the marathon. What surprises you is how little time you give away while walking. The reality is that you are still moving forward. You are not stopped, so you don’t lose as much time as you think. Under this method, Galloway has a goal to get you to mile 20. Once you get there, you are free game. You can go without walking if you choose, and you should be fresher than you normally would have been.
I think Jeff Galloway and the work he has done with RunDisney has been a perfect match. Galloway is the one who gets you to believe you can finish a marathon. RunDisney gives you the opportunity to be able to do these races. Disney helps bring the experience part of the races and Galloway brings the expertise to training and especially for the novice runner.
That video makes me want to run the Disney World Marathon right now! The quote he uses that I love is, “Why do I love to RunDisney? Because it is fun!” I agree 100 percent! Jeff has put together training plans for each and every race RunDisney does now. I always enjoy seeing Jeff at the Expo and seeing him at the start line. I believe Jeff has run every single Disney World Marathon and this will be number 22. There is something Jeff and I do have in common, we run this race because it is fun.
So, back to the marathon course shall we….
So when we last left off we were just past mile #8.
After we pass mile #8 we continue toward the exit of the Magic Kingdom parking lot and we eventually take a left hand turn to run around the Speedway. It is a little bit of good news and bad news. The good news is that inside the Speedway, Disney does a great job of theming and really making your loop around the track a lot of fun. The only bad news is you have to run down and then back up a nice little incline to get inside. I don’t want to give too much away, but I really did enjoy the experience inside the Speedway. It comes at a pretty good time. You are just coming off of the whole Magic Kingdom experience and you won’t have much excitement or much to see for quite a while so this is a great time for the race track experience.As you exit the track, you thankfully leave a different way and you don’t have to worry about the hill again. Soon after you exit you will hit mile marker #9. After you hit this mile, you will soon take a right onto Bear Island Road.
So you are now just over 9 miles into the race. The next 3 miles will be a bit of a challenge mentally. Gone is the cheering from the TTC, Magic Kingdom and the resorts. You need to mentally prepare yourself to go to work the next 3 miles or so. This is where you just need to lock in your pace and do the work you have done countless times in training. One mile after the next. No thinking, just log the miles like you have been doing.
The next few miles used to be a real struggle for me and everyone. I think RunDisney recognized this over the years. It seems like each year they do a better and better job on this part of the course. From characters, signs and experiences they have really stepped up this part of the course. Not much needs to be said here. It is flat and it is uneventful except hopefully there will be some entertainment on the course. Before you know it, you will find yourself hitting mile marker #10. If you keep in mind this section is 3 miles long, it will feel pretty good to know 1 of those is done. This is a mentally challenging part of the race and you will appreciate getting this part done.