Update: As of 2016, runDisney no longer offers night races.
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!)
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!
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org!