Sunday, May 31, 2015

7 Tips for Running a runDisney Race

My goal this year was to run a race.  A real, bonafide race.  And since I love Disney so much, the choice was obvious.  I recently completed the TinkerBell 10k at Disneyland and learned a thing or... seven along the way.  Here are my 7 tips for running a runDisney race.

1.  Hydrate
I know, I know.  You hear this from everyone, but seriously, nothing takes the magic out of the happiest place on earth like dehydration cramps, getting sick or much worse.  Even if it's not hot out, you need to be properly hydrated.  Start daaays before.  Not the day before.  Not two days before.  You should become Flounder that week.

2.  Get into Character
All those people dressed as princesses driving you nuts?  Well, maybe you're too much of a curmudgeon for a Disney run.  Find your inner child, drop the "too cool for school" act and make/buy a costume.  Last minute, I put together my tutu from lightweight fabric and while not a full costume, I'm so glad I looked the part!  Take this opportunity to be silly and fun.  And trust me, if you don't go over the top, your costume won't affect your pace.  Speaking of pace...

3.  Decide: Speed or Experience
When developing your training plan, decide: Are you running for speed or experience?  runDisney races offer a lot - a killer course through the parks, entertainment, a unique experience.  However, you can't PR and stop at every character to take a picture.  Pick one or the other.  Have a game plan.

4.  Arrive Early
The parks are loaded with people.  Give yourself plenty of time to park, walk to the pre-race celebration, use the restroom, stretch, and most importantly, get to your corral.  The corrals are massive and the staff packs people in pretty tightly.  Try to be at the front of your corral.

5.  Outside then Inside
Start the race on the outside of the group, then work your way to the middle.  The beginning of races are usually crowded and slow.  My first mile was over 15 minutes because I couldn't break through the crowd.  If you're running, stick to the outside for the first mile or so until the crowd thins out.  You'll be able to pass the walkers more easily and keep your pace reasonable.  Once you're in stride, move to the middle.  Walkers will (hopefully) stick to the edges, but never to just the left or just the right, so for easier navigation, go right up the middle.

6. Smile!
Disney photographers are everywhere.  Standing at a turn or mile marker.  Sitting on the ground.  Most of the time you won't see them until you see the flash go off - so let those endorphins take over and keep a smile on your face!  ESPECIALLY at the finish line!

7.  Register Early
Sold on doing a race?  Register early.  Sign up for runDisney emails so you're the first to know when registration open.  The TinkerBell 10k filled up in five days after registration opened.  Gotta be quick!

Have you run a race?  What are your tips?

Have fun and good luck!

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