Sunday, January 3, 2016

RunDisney for non-runners: Part 1, before the race

Exactly one year ago, Mike and I were thinking about dropping out of our first RunDisney race. We were signed up for the inaugural Star Wars 10K and were wondering if we could cut it.

RunDisney is amazing in many ways, but it can be incredibly intimidating to a non-runner. This post is going to go through some of the ins and outs of RunDisney for someone that's never tried it. 

Today - Part 1... Before the race:

First - sign up early. These races can sell out quickly. Entries go on sale 6-10 months before the race and the most popular races and events can sell out within hours. Some won't sell out as quickly and can be picked up later; a friend of mine picked up a Tinkerbell 1/2 marathon entry about six months after they went on sale without issue (even as I write this, I see there are some 1/2 marathon race bibs available).  But things like the Star Wars events, for example, are completely sold out and have been for quite some time.  We signed up for our first few races through a third party service - RunDisney partners with a few different agents, but we love Jim and Pat Stone at Acclaim Travel.  They make the registration process seamless. We paid more, but the races were sold out and they came with park tickets - more on that later. 

Next - train. If you've never participated in anything of this distance, train a lot. You don't have to start running like a fool, but put in some distance every day. 6 miles, or 13 miles is a long way if you've never gone that far at once. For me, walking a couple miles, or even a 5k wasn't a huge deal, but I wasn't prepared for the sheer endurance it would take to finish a whole 10k.  

This is where Mike and I slipped up the first time. We'd been training, but then I injured myself and needed to spend a few weeks resting. It threw everything off and we never got back in the groove. We doubled down the last couple weeks, but it was still rough.

To prepare for our second race, we consistently did 8 mile walks (at least once a week), and did shorter walks 3-4 times per week.  We worked up to jogging after a little bit, and started reducing our time to make sure we could improve our time for the second race.

Since we were not runners, or even in very good shape before we started this ordeal, it wasn't easy.  For a casual runner, it would probably be less taxing, but we were in it for the experience.

Finally, pack your bags and head to Disney!  The check in process is pretty lengthy, so make sure to get there in plenty to of time. We typically go an entire day before our race so we can check in and hang out in Disneyland. 

Here are the things I recommend taking with you:

1.  Race Costume - the Disney races are incredible.  Most people wear a costume of some sort, or at the very least a themed t-shirt.  Our first race, we wore sweatpants and Star Wars t-shirts.  For the Avengers races, we felt we needed to amp it up.

2.  Running shoes - this should be obvious, but your shoes need to be comfortable.  I add my own insoles to my shoes for comfort.  I like these, but everyone needs to find something that will be comfortable.

3.  Race snacks - There's a lot of standing around before the race starts, so we bring some power bars to snack on while we are lining up.  Mike also likes the "power beans" or the running gels for during the race.  These are just enough sugar to give you a little boost of energy.  They sell these things at the race expo, but they're much cheaper if you buy ahead of time.

3.  Post-race relaxation... whatever you need... bubble bath, muscle roller, compression socks, etc.  After the first race, I realize I'd never been so tired in my life.  All of those things helped me relax and kept my muscles from seizing up.

4.  Disney clothes!  After the race,  you'll want to hit Disneyland/World (we do California races, but all of these hints work for Florida too!).  We always make sure to have our Disney clothes so after a good breakfast, we're ready to go.

No comments:

Post a Comment