A Guide to runDisney Race Etiquette

A runDisney race weekend is full of fun! From the Health and Fitness Expo to the after race celebrations, there are smiles all around! During the race itself, there is a lot to experience. Character meet and greets, DJs and music, running through the parks and even making new running friends along the way. However, with upwards of 25,000 runners during the race, the course can get a little crowded. Whether you are a new or veteran runner, here is a guide to help with race day etiquette!

Guide to runDisney race etiquette

Read through the event guide and race instructions. About a month before the race, runDisney releases an event guide. Inside includes information regarding the Expo, races, tips and more. Be sure to read through this guide as it includes important information regarding the race! It will let you know information on where to go on race day, specifics about the course and much more. Knowing this information before the race makes a HUGE difference!

Always be aware of those around you. This is key! Be aware of where other runners are – behind, to the side and in front. By doing so, it will ensure the safety of not only yourself, but the other runners as well. This is even more important when the lighting is dark – at the beginning of the morning races and during the night events. This applies while running, but also when disposing of items or trash, weaving around others, etc. No one wants to be drenched in Powerade or spat on!

Run/walk no more than two across. runDisney events are unique in that many runners use Galloway’s run/walk method or even walk a large portion of the race. While it is encouraged to run with friends (or even make them on the course), it is VERY important that you run or walk no more than two across. Since the courses can get quite crowded, you need to make sure there is room for others to get around you.

Signal (with a raised hand) if you are going to walk or stop. Whether you are using the run/walk method or if you need to get to the side to use the restroom, etc. – make sure you signal to those around you that you are slowing down or stopping. It is very common practice to raise your hand, so those around you are aware that you will be stopping. This will reduce the number of times you get bumped into!

Stay to the side so that those who need to pass can do so. While the seeded corrals help to keep those of a similar pace together, the addition of characters and entertainment means some may be making more stops than normal. It is best to stay to the side as much as possible, so that others can pass around you if needed. This helps with the overall flow of the course, which is important as there are areas that bottleneck.

Keep moving through aid stations. Throughout the race are various aid stations offering water (and Powerade for the longer distances). It is important to keep moving after grabbing your drink! Even if it is just a walk, make sure that you keep the flow going. This not only applies to aid stations, but photography stations as well – specifically the castle. Don’t stop unless it’s off to the side!

Encourage other runners (and thank the volunteers)! The running community is a wonderful thing. Keep the positivity flowing and encourage one another along the course! It is contagious and will make it a fantastic experience for everyone. Encourage those who may be hurting a bit. Clap for those who are headed for a PR. And, of course, thank every volunteer you see! They are what make the race even more magical!

And above all, Remember the Golden Rule. There is no denying that a runDisney event is full of fun! However, sometimes not-so-magical things occur. No matter what, remember the Golden Rule - treat others the way you would want to be treated. Keep your emotions and remarks positive, apologize if you bump into another runner, help each other out and the race will be even more spectacular!

Guide to runDisney race etiquette

By adhering to this guide and staying positive, the runDisney race can be a magical experience for everyone!

Magical Miles Buy Now 2

{ 0 comments }

runDisney Training – Tips for Back-to-Back Runs

Welcome to our training series! Throughout these blog posts, we will cover all aspects of training from our own personal experience. Please note that we are not medical doctors, personal trainers, registered dietitians or in any way qualified to give individualized recommendations. If you have something you would like us to address, please send an email to info@runnersguidetowdw.com!

runDisney challenges continue to grow in popularity. From the 19.3 mile options to the 48.6 mile Dopey Challenge, there is a lot of training involved!

Tips for Back-to-Back Runs for runDisney Challenges

The biggest aspect (along with the multiple early morning wake up calls) is preparing your body for the back-to-back runs. Adding these to your training is critical, as you learn to run one day, followed by double the distance on tired legs the next day. Here are some tips to help prepare you for the back-to-back runs in training and on race weekend!

Increase your mileage slowly. If you have been running awhile, it may be tempting to jump right in to the longer back-to-back runs right away. Take it easy! Start small to ensure your body can take the consecutive days, then start to increase mileage slowly each week. Your body may take awhile to get used to the doubling of mileage in the span of 24 hours! For those who aren’t used to the higher amount of mileage, it is wise to incorporate walk breaks as well.

Work on proper recovery. When running multiple days in a row, you need to make sure your legs are getting the recovery they need! Make sure that you stretch and foam roll after your run, especially to prepare for the double mileage the next day. Also make sure that you are getting food (specifically carbs and protein) within 30 minutes of your run. A couple other options that can help recovery are ice baths and compression gear!

Invest in double gear. If you are working toward back-to-back runs of longer distances, it may be a good idea to get more of your favorite gear. This is a must for shoes! You will go through many pairs, so get a few into your rotation. You also may want extra water bottles, headbands, socks and other gear in case they get sweaty or wet. Keep an eye out for sales on running gear and stock up! And prepare for lots and lots of loads of laundry.

Fuel and hydrate like it’s your job. It is important to fuel and hydrate for any run, but these back-to-back runs are even more important. Make sure that you are drinking water all day long and fuel properly the nights before you run. During the longer runs, make sure that you are bringing fuel such as gels, chews, candy or other food items to keep your energy up. You may get dehydrated or need more energy faster than normal since you just ran the day prior!

Listen to your body. This is the most important of all. These challenges bring a whole new aspect to your training. Be sure to pay close attention to what your body is telling you. Keep an eye out for aches and pains, and see a doctor if they get worse. Feeling tired? Make sure you get some extra sleep. Your body is an amazing thing, so it knows if something is wrong! Listen closely – no race is worth injury or illness!

Tips for Back-to-Back Runs for runDisney Challenges

Challenges are a lot of fun to experience, however there is a lot of training involved. Make sure that you can devote the time to train appropriately! Put in the time during the back-to-back runs, then you can enjoy your time on race day!

If you could choose one challenge to participate in, which would it be? Let us know below!

{ 0 comments }

runDisney Pre- and Post-Race Activity Roundup

When preparing for a runDisney race weekend, the focus tends to be on the race itself. After all, there is a lot of preparation and training involved!

runDisney Pre- and Post-Race Activities

runDisney makes the race weekends even more magical by adding in special pre- and post-race activities. While none of these are mandatory (except the Health & Fitness Expo) and include an extra cost, a few may be well worth it. Below is a quick look at these activities, along with links to our reviews!

 

Pre-Race

Health & Fitness Expo

During each race weekend, the Health & Fitness Expo is where participants pick up their race packet, which includes their race bib and shirt. However, there is much to explore! Visit various vendors, listen to the speaker series, make posters for cheering and shop until you drop.

Runner’s World Challenge*

Join Runner’s World in this exclusive package, available only during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (and specifically, only the Dopey Challenge). This includes private packet pickup, course strategy sessions, Pasta in the Park Party, Race Retreat, a shorter walk to the corrals and more.

Pasta in the Park Party*

During Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Princess Half Marathon Weekend, enjoy a pasta buffet, character meet and greets, a DJ and even a special viewing area for IllumiNations. This nighttime party at Epcot happens multiple nights throughout the race weekend.

Pre-Race Taste*

This Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend event is located in Hollywood Studios and occurs on Friday evening. Sample items from Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, enjoy a sip (or two) from around the world and even get photos with a few of your favorite characters.

Race Retreat*

For the half marathon and marathon races during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Princess Half Marathon Weekend, Race Retreat offers a climate-controlled tent with a continental breakfast, private port-o-potties and a stretching area for runners before the race. However, this is also a post-race activity! After the race, enjoy breakfast, character meet and greets, and even a short massage.

runDisney Pre- and Post-Race Activities

Post-Race

ChEAR Squad*

While this technically occurs during the race, there is an activity for spectators during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Princess Half Marathon Weekend! With various levels, spectators can receive everything from an e-newsletter to exclusive viewing areas and access to Race Retreat after the race.

Post-Race Breakfast*

During Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Princess Half Marathon Weekend, families can enjoy a breakfast after the 5K and 10K events. Located in the Family Reunion area, along with breakfast, there will be character meet and greets.

After Parties

As part of Expedition Everest Challenge, Tower of Terror 10-Miler and Wine & Dine Half Marathon race registrations is entrance to the after parties! Party the night away in the parks as you enjoy food, attractions and even photos with your favorite characters! (Non-race participants must pay for tickets to enter.)

runDisney Pre- and Post-Race Activities

*these are not included with race registration and need to be purchased separately.

 

Whether or not any of these activities are needed is up to each person and family. We have run many race weekends without experiencing any, however we have also enjoyed a few race weekends splurging on a few! Again, the only necessity is the Health & Fitness Expo, the others are completely optional. No matter what you decide, you are sure to have a magical experience during your runDisney race weekend!

What race activity would you love to add to your next runDisney weekend? Let us know below!

 

Magical Miles Buy Now 2

 

{ 0 comments }

runDisney Training – Preparing for a Night Race

Welcome to our training series! Throughout these blog posts, we will cover all aspects of training from our own personal experience. Please note that we are not medical doctors, personal trainers, registered dietitians or in any way qualified to give individualized recommendations. If you have something you would like us to address, please send an email to info@runnersguidetowdw.com!

 

With the Tower of Terror 10-Miler and Wine & Dine Half Marathon coming quickly, it is very common for runners to ask – how do I prepare to run at night? (Not to mention, 10 PM at night!)

runDisney Night Race

The good news is, if you have put in the training, you should be fine. However, here are a few of our tips to help you for toeing the line late at night!

Have a trial run. While running around your neighborhood at 10 PM at night may cause your neighbors to stare, it will help prepare you for the nighttime event. Try to make the trial as “real” as possible, figuring out your fueling, and getting in a longer run if possible.  When running in the dark, remember safety first and wear reflective gear and lights so that you can be seen!

Try to fuel as best you can. A morning race is pretty cut and dry – get a solid meal at dinner the night before and eat your normal pre-run food before the race. However night races are a whole new scenario! After a little calculation, we found that an early lunch is the best time to have a “larger” meal, followed by a small (and easily digestible) meal around 5 PM. Bring along your normal pre-run food for while you are in your corral. And above all, try not to worry too much about it!

Take in an afternoon nap. A late race means a late bedtime. Not to mention, you may be enjoying the parks the morning before the race! It absolutely helps to get in an afternoon nap before the race. A few hours of sleep can help with the energy you will need to push through those late hours of running – and for the after party in the park! (Note: Be sure to set an alarm so you don’t miss your bus to the start line!)

Prepare for the dark. While this seems obvious, running in the dark isn’t an easy task. While runDisney does their best to lighten certain areas of the course, it still is dark overall. Do your best to watch your step and be even more aware of the runners around you. Although not necessary during the race, you can wear a headlamp or other lights to see your path more clearly.

Let the first few miles guide you. A night race brings a lot of variables – fueling, the late night and even weather changes. Take the first couple miles of the race to determine how you will handle the rest of the evening. If you are feeling strong, continue on as planned! If things seem a little wary, take advantage of the entertainment on the course and have some fun!

runDisney Night Race

While the night races tend to cause many runners to worry, they are some of the most memorable of the runDisney races! Do you best to take everything in stride, trying not to fret about the different aspects of a nighttime race. Make a few new friends along the course and enjoy running through Walt Disney World at night!

Would you rather run an early morning or late evening runDisney race? Let us know below!

{ 0 comments }

Behind-the Scenes-Tours at Walt Disney World

If you are a Disney enthusiast, a behind-the-scenes tour is a great way to celebrate your race achievement. Although it does mean more time on your feet, you will be able to experience the parks in a whole new way.

runDisney Tours

There are over 15 tours to choose from throughout the four theme parks. From the Behind the Seeds tour at The Land in Epcot to a VIP tour that covers all thrill rides, there is a tour for everyone. Most tours do have an age requirement (anywhere from 8 to 16 years of age), so your tour experience may be best with your spouse or friends.

 

A few unique tour options include:

Wild Africa Trek – Explore Harambe Reserve in a whole new way during this three-hour long tour. With the assistance of a harness, cross rope bridges and get up close and personal with a few exotic animals. A photographer will be there to capture the magical moments.

Keys to the Kingdom – Learn about the history of Walt Disney World Resort, along with Walt’s philosophies and more during this five-hour tour. Experience backstage access, including a sneak peek at the underground village of Magic Kingdom. (For a longer experience, check out the Backstage Magic tour. For a more family-friendly version, check out the Walt Disney: Marceline to Magic Kingdom tour.)

Epcot DiveQuest – If you are a certified Scuba diver, this tour is for you. Dive into The Seas aquarium and swim with the tropical fish, sharks, stingrays and more. You may even be part of the entertainment for the Coral Reef restaurant goers!

Ultimate Day of Thrills – During race weekends, time is of the essence. During this tour, you will get to experience at least 10 of the major thrill rides at all four theme parks! The VIP treatment allows you to head to the front of the line.

VIP Tours – For the ultimate luxury experience, you can enjoy your very own VIP tour guide for a day in the parks. Not only will they offer information as you walk throughout the parks, they also will grant you FastPasses for most attractions! Your group can include up to 10 guests, making this pricey experience a little more reasonable. (Note: There is a 6-hour minimum for this tour and it needs to be booked in advance as it fills quickly.)

Behind-the-Scenes Tours

If you are planning an extra day or two in the parks after your runDisney race, a behind-the-scenes tour is a great way to experience Walt Disney World in a whole new way. There are even extra magical tours during certain special times of the year like the holidays or festivals.

A few pointers:

  • Most tours can be booked 180 days before arrival.
  • There is a large price range between each tour, so make sure to check current pricing. Discounts for Disney Visa cardholders, Annual Passholders or Disney Vacation Club members may be available, inquire when booking.
  • The majority of the tours occur in the morning and some require arrival to the park prior to park opening.
  • Be sure to bring along another pair of shoes as there is a lot of walking involved!

For a full list of behind-the-scenes tours, check Walt Disney World’s official website.

 

What behind-the-scenes tour would you love to experience? Let us know in the comments below!

Magical Miles Buy Now 2

{ 0 comments }

runDisney Training – Hydration and Running

Welcome to our training series! Throughout these blog posts, we will cover all aspects of training from our own personal experience. Please note that we are not medical doctors, personal trainers, registered dietitians or in any way qualified to give individualized recommendations. If you have something you would like us to address, please send an email to info@runnersguidetowdw.com!

 

It can’t be stated enough, when it comes to running, hydration is extremely important. Add in the heat and humidity during the summer months and the importance skyrockets even more!

Hydration

So how do you ensure that your body retains the right amount of hydration during a run? Here are a few tips we have learned along the way!

Hydrate early. When you have a long run on the training schedule, make sure you are hydrating well before the run. It doesn’t hurt to drink an extra glass or two of water on the days leading up to your run. If the forecast looks to be particularly hot or humid, you may want to add in an electrolyte drink such as Nuun or Gatorade as well. And don’t forget to drink some more water an hour or so prior to the run itself!

Always carry a water bottle. The last thing that you want as a runner is to be miles from home without hydration. Even if your route includes water fountains, it is extremely wise to have a source of hydration with you. There are various options including backpacks (like a Camelbak), belts or handhelds. Find one that works well for you and bring it along, no matter what the distance!

Don’t forget about electrolytes. On those humid days, you need to make sure that you replenish your sodium as well. If you have been sweating a lot, it helps to add an electrolyte drink to your hydration. Whether you add electrolyte tablets to your water bottles or bring along a sports drink, it helps give your body the extra hydration it needs.

Watch your urine. While it’s not exactly fun, your urine does tell you a lot about your hydration! Leading up to your run, take a look at the color of your urine. If you are well hydrated, it will be light yellow. If it is dark, then you are not hydrated enough.

Know the symptoms. Dehydration symptoms can come on quickly, so be sure you know what to look out for. Dizziness, dry skin, nausea and a headache are very common. If you feel any of these symptoms, stop, find shade and call someone immediately. Also be aware of over-hydration (or hyponatremia). Symptoms can be similar to those for dehydration.

Hydration

The amount of hydration needed really does depend on each individual. As you train, you will begin to learn how much you need during any given training run. However, it can change depending on the temperature, etc.

Looking for ideas on what to drink? runDisney nutritionist Tara Gidus offers some great options!

 

{ 0 comments }