Gut Check Time – Running with Mickey

This is “Gut Check Time” for anyone working towards their first race ever at Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. Now that may sound ominous but I’m just trying to catch the attention of all of you who have started this incredible life-changing journey.

Please treat this as my way of doing a general checking in with all of you to see how you are doing.

So how are you doing?

If you want something similar to a training checklist here are some areas to consider:

– Regardless of the distance you are training for, by now you should have a pretty good idea as to what your race day gear will be and hopefully have trained in your race day outfit. I’m talking about the running shoes, socks, shirts/pants, and top you plan to run in for your race. Also, will you be wearing a hat…water belt…iPOD????


It’s important to feel as comfortable as possible on race day and discovering what makes you the most comfortable is one of the key factors towards insuring your success. Don’t wait until the last minute to figure out what shoes, socks, shirts, etc. you’ll be wearing. Experiment now and decide as soon as possible. It will be one less thing to worry about and allow you to focus on your training.

So how’s your stamina? For those working towards a 5K you should be at least one third there and are working steady towards that 5K distance. My suggestion is to think about setting your goal to be 4 miles instead of 5K (3.1 miles). I say this because I want to encourage you to look beyond January and that 5K distance. It will do a wealth of good for your confidence.


For you first time half and full marathoners you should be even more in tune with your running gear for your big day. Most of you will be spending two or more hours running on your feet and you want to be as comfortable as possible.

For you half-marathoners I’m hoping that by this time you have been able to cover at least six miles and maybe even have had a chance to run in a 10K race or two to get some race experience. If you are at 6 miles by early September you are in good shape for the Half. You don’t have to be able to do 13.1 miles before January but you should aim to do at least one double-digit run before Christmas. This is important for you to understand how you need to pace yourself for an extended run (or walk/run or walk) and again, also for your confidence. Add a quarter mile per week between now and the end of December and you will be fine.


You first time marathoners are a different breed. For this distance my advice is to have you turn to the advice of any of the many marathon running/training plans out there. A marathon distance requires a very disciplined training plan that is best determined by the individual. That means my words may not work for everyone so my hope is that you all have figured out what plan works best for you.

I do hope that your base weekly miles is up there and that you do at least one long run once a month. As we get into the fall months you should be even more disciplined in your training and try to folly to the T whichever training plan you are following.

FInally, a word about pace. Of course everyone knows the dreaded minimum pace requirement for a Walt Disney World sponsored race is 16 minutes per mile. I have heard from many experienced runners that stamina must precede speed. You need to be in shape before you can turn on the jets. That means that before worrying how fast you can run, focus on how far and how long you can run.

Before you know it your body will begin to surprise you and you will naturally begin to run faster and faster. Why? Well as you improve your stamina you improve the efficiency of your run vehicle…your body. Your cardiovascular system’s improvement will have your body working like a well tuned machine.

I would not be concerned with pace until mid to late October. That’s about the time where you should be at a confidence level regarding the distance you are training to run. Once you are confident you can cover that distance you can then begin to experiment with how to cover that distance as fast as possible.

But for now….concentrate on how far and how long you can stretch out your workouts.

We’ll visit Gut Check Time again in late October.

So here is your homework.

By the end of October you should again understand what your running gear will be for your race day.

You should also have trained to the point of covering 60-75% of your goal distance.

Here’s another assignment…for those who plan to listen to music during the race, start planning not only what you will listen to but also what sequence….that’s important because music can pick you up when you need it most.

Finally, think about your confidence level now and plan to measure that against your confidence level in late October. If you stay on track and focus I’m sure your confidence level will be at a level you’ll like.

See you at the next Gut Check Time!!!


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