No matter if it is your first or hundredth race, there are always a bit of race day nerves involved. Add in the excitement of a runDisney race and the butterflies are sure to be flying!
Here are our tips to ensure that you are well prepared for your runDisney race day!
1. Train well. While it may go without saying, you definitely need to train for your race day! No matter what distance you are setting out to conquer, be sure to take a few months to train. Check with your doctor, then choose a training plan. (runDisney training consultant Jeff Galloway offers plans for most runDisney races!) runDisney races do have a 16-minute per mile pace requirement, but it is suggested you train for a 14 or 15-minute per mile pace in order to take photos with characters. Remember that a solid training base means you can have even more fun on race day!
2. Plan what you will bring and wear. During your training, pay close attention to what works and what doesn’t. If you are training for a longer distance, what fuel and fluids work best? For a warmer month, what clothes offer the least amount of chafing? By knowing what works, you will have a plan on what to pack for your big race!
3. Take a spin in your race clothes. There is a saying when it comes to races, “Nothing new on race day!” While many choose to create a costume for their runDisney race, it is VERY wise to take your outfit or costume for a spin before race day. Sure, you may look a little funny running through your neighborhood, but at least your costume won’t fall apart or cause irritation while in Disney!
4. Prepare for all race conditions. While we all hope for perfect weather conditions on race day, but the reality is that is usually far from what happens. Take a look at the extended forecast and prepare accordingly. It doesn’t hurt to pack a few extra items in case it is cold, warm, rainy or sunny!
5. Anticipate a VERY early (or VERY late) race day. Since runDisney races include the magic of running through the parks, that also means the races occur very early or very late in the day. During your training and preparation, anticipate some early wake up calls (or late nights for the nighttime races). While a trial run may not work with your schedule, be sure to adjust your activities before race day so you can get the sleep you need!
6. Take a look at the course map. There is something truly exciting about looking at where you will be running during your runDisney race! Be sure to take a peek at the course map so you can prepare for what you will encounter on race day. While the courses are quite flat (with the exception of a few possible overpasses), it does help to know what parks you will be experiencing. This is also a great way to choose where your family and friends can cheer you on from!
7. Expect a lot of fellow runners on the race course. It is possible to be running alongside 25,000 fellow runners during a runDisney race. In other words, these races can be quite crowded. There are many areas (specifically near and inside the theme parks) where the course bottlenecks, causing the pace to slow down and crowding to occur. While the corral placement will put you around others with a similar pace, the crowding still occurs. Knowing this ahead of time may help you prepare mentally.
8. Determine your race plan. There are two ways to experience a runDisney race – to try to set a new personal record or for fun. The majority of runners in the race are in the latter group, they just want to have fun! While it is absolutely possible to get a personal record during a runDisney race (Megan has done so multiple times), the crowding alone can make it a little more difficult. runDisney races are great races to enjoy yourself by taking in the entertainment, taking photos with characters, meeting new runners and enjoying the atmosphere!
9. Remember safety first. As usual, runDisney has many policies in place to ensure runner and spectator safety. However, there are a few things you can do as a runner to help with safety on the course. First of all, fill out the back of your bib. If anything happens, they will know who to contact in case of an emergency. Second, be aware of runners around you. If you need to stop to walk, go to the far side of the course and signal by waving your hand. And always, listen to your body! You know if things aren’t right, meaning you need to slow down or stop.
10. Enjoy every mile! It doesn’t matter what race you are participating in, there is sure to be a smile on your face! Trust your training and enjoy every magical mile. With fantastic entertainment, the thrill of running through the parks, photo opportunities with your favorite characters and the excitement of the runners around you, your runDisney race experience is sure to be a fun one!
With proper training and planning ahead, your runDisney race will be full of magical miles!
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