There are some exciting runDisney events coming up at Disneyland including this year's Disneyland Half Marathon weekend at the end of this month and the inaugural Avengers Half Marathon weekend in November. It's been almost a year since I did my first runDisney race, the Disneyland 10k. I remember being very nervous in the days leading up to it so I am sharing some of what I learned at my first 10k in hopes that it'll help any other runDisney newbie's fears! So here are some tips to help you prepare and to ease any pre-race jitters!
For the Disneyland 10k in 2013, I ran with my husband and my friend Mindy and I was so glad I did! It made the course seem shorter and it was fun. I jogged with my husband during the months before and having a running partner definitely made training more enjoyable. If you're thinking of doing your first runDisney event, consider signing up with a friend (it is Disney after all!) or if you're already signed up, take a look at Facebook to see if there are any groups you could join since you might find a running partner there. Try to find friends who are willing to go at around your pace and you all will have a great time! Since it was my first time running through Disney parks, I knew I would want to make lots of stops to take photos so I also made sure whoever I jogged with knew that I wouldn't be as focused on my time and was just aiming to finish.
|You've got a friend in me... run with some friends!|
The runDisney events are extra appealing because of the obvious- they take place at Disney Parks! If you're spending some time before your race at the parks, make sure to take it easy on the day before your run. A day playing at the parks can definitely tire one out so take breaks and maybe save the fireworks for the night after your run (what better way to celebrate!) so that you can go to bed early. If you can, stay at a hotel that is a short distance from the start of your race. I live close to Disneyland but since it was my first race I still opted to stay in a hotel that was even closer. It allowed me to get an extra hour of sleep and since my nervousness kept me up most the night, that extra hour was precious!
3. Dress up!
People get really creative with their running outfits! Although it technically doesn't make you faster- it is fun to do and I think it adds to the excitement. Doing your first runDisney race is a special occasion- why not dress up for it? Even if it's not a running costume, treat yourself to some new running gear or wear your favorite Disney t-shirt. Or you could even dress to match whoever you run with- it really makes you feel like a team! My husband and I wore our Pop Century shirts and I also wore my new Team Sparkle skirt for the Disneyland 10k. For the Tinkerbell 10K, I dressed as the Blue Fairy. Whatever you end up choosing to wear, make sure to go for a jog in it beforehand so that you can make sure you are comfortable in it!
|Team Pop Century!|
|Blue Fairy- wings to help me fly through the race!|
4. Take pictures BUT be careful about lines.
When I signed up for the 10k, I knew I would be taking lots of pictures during my run. They often have characters you usually don't see and the Disney parks are full of places for a great photo! Just be careful not to spend too much time in any of the lines. The characters are the best but just like at any day at the park, their lines are long! We ended up taking photos at other spots like in front of It's a Small World or at anything that had no wait. The mile marker signs usually also had lines so we would take a photo off to the side of them instead and were happy with that! There are also photographers along the course who take photos of all the runners. You can find the photos online sometime after the race and can purchase any that you like. We prefer our free photos though so we made sure to take some on our phones.
|There's that Mile 2 marker.. and the line we avoided!|
|Small World- such a pretty photo spot!|
|Surprisingly short line at Circle D so we paused there!|
5. Check out the Expo.
I didn't think I'd spend much time at the Health and Fitness Expo that they have during the runDisney weekends. I was wrong. They have a lot of great booths there so be sure to check it out! It definitely gets you pumped for your upcoming run. There are usually some great speakers too! Plus you find so much great exercise merchandise that you end up wanting to jog more so you can have an excuse to buy more of it! I bought my favorite sneakers there and a headband that I added to my running outfit.
6. Stretch and drink water!
This is advice that I always have to remind myself about before any workout. runDisney races are no different! Make sure to stretch before you start and it'll help prevent soreness later. Also make sure to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. Something I learned during the race was that if you start to feel overheated splash some water on your face and neck! I did my first 10k while still recovering from a cold and I hit a point where I started feeling too hot and a little woozy. It was when I finally tried splashing water on myself that I started to feel better. I wished that I had thought to do it sooner!
|Me feeling much better after a splash of water!|
7. It's OKAY to be nervous.
There's no need to be nervous but it is okay if you are! I definitely was nervous before my run. Just remember that you have already succeeded by just crossing that start line! You are pushing yourself to do something out of your comfort zone and that is awesome. You are awesome. Think of it as a day of parkhopping or that you're racing from one favorite ride to another- you will be fine!
8. Have fun!
I can't stress this enough. As Baloo would say "forget about your worries and your strife.." and just have a great time! The best thing about runDisney races is that they take place at the happiest places on Earth so take in your surroundings and enjoy!
Check out the Virtual Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Blog Hop on Aug 13 for more info regarding runDisney and the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend!