Last month I participated in my very first runDisney event, the Enchanted 10k during Princess Half Marathon Weekend! Now, let me preface this by saying I am NOT an athletic person! As much as I’d like to be, I’ve just never had it in me! So when I signed up for the Enchanted 10k, I was super excited, but as the trip neared, I started to freak out a little. I’d never done more than an untimed 5k in my life, how was I going to double that and finish 6.2 miles in a timely manner?!
As with all Disney tales, this one has a happy ending! I finished the race in a little over an hour and a half, and when your main priority is just to finish the race – any time is a good time! Now that I know what the race is like, what to expect and how to prepare for it, I know it was not worth the stress and I would definitely do it all over again! But if you are prepping for your first runDisney race and stressing out a little like I was, here’s some basic tips that helped me!
1. Train at least a little bit. I’ll be honest with you – I did not train! When I signed up, I would go for long, brisk walks and time it to see how long it took me to do a mile. But as soon as winter weather hit Missouri, I was less motivated than ever to hit the pavement. However, the minimum pace for the 10k and the half marathon is a 16-minute mile. For me, a 16-minute mile only requires a fast walk, and no running! So, with keeping a little ahead of that pace, I was able to walk the entire 6.2 miles! One of the biggest tips I can suggest is to at least train to walk a 15-minute mile. If you can do that, you should have no problems! There are also great training programs available on runDisney’s website that help you train to meet your goals. I highly suggest using these to help you be successful in any race!
2. Do your research! I googled SO much prior to the race! I read every blog post I could find on the subject, just trying to find a little bit of stress relief! With all my research, I found out about the pacing requirements, who the Balloon Ladies are (you’ll want to stay ahead of them!), and how to navigate the expo! My colleagues here at Travel with the Magic, Heather (www.heatherslookingglass.com) and Sylvia (www.kesselrunener.com), have fantastic blogs dedicated to running and were GREAT helps in figuring out how to go about my race weekend!
3. Go to the Expo! The Health and Fitness Expo during race weekends are a must because that is where you pick up your race packets that include your bib and all the info you need about your race. There are also some great shopping opportunities, including a lot of amazing runDisney merchandise that you can only purchase during race weekends! The expo is open for packet pick-up Thursday through Saturday.
4. Get some rest before AND after the race. With the 10k, the latest you can board a shuttle to the race is 4 am! So, we knew that with a 3 am wake-up call, we would need to hit the hay pretty early. We had an early dinner in Epcot then went straight to bed by 9 pm! Post-race, however, we underestimated just how much rest we really would need! We were smart and did not schedule anything until after 2 pm, so I was able to fit in a two hour nap, but even then, I was wishing for a little bit more rest and relaxation prior to jumping into Magic Kingdom! Give yourself a day to fully recover – you just finished a big race, celebrate from the comforts of your resort and don’t feel bad if you don’t go to a park that day!
5. Plan your trip around the race. This sounds like a no-brainer, right? We arrived on Thursday evening, a little too late for the expo, so we had to take time out of our Friday plans to go to the expo to pick up our race bibs. The 10k was on Saturday, and then we left on Sunday! If I were going to do this again, I would definitely plan a little bit of a longer trip just to give myself time to go to the expo on Thursday, and give myself a full day of rest after the race. However, there’s no wrong way to do a Disney trip, if you ask me!
6. HAVE FUN! This is the most important tip of all! If you don’t have fun with it, what’s the point, right? Disney is the epitome of having a good time and magical time, so why shouldn’t a runDisney race be magical, as well? Dress in costume (I was Minnie Mouse!), make it a girls weekend, and just have fun!
I hope these tips will help you in your future runDisney events! runDisney is an amazing program fit for all ages. Race weekends often include kids races, 5ks, 10ks, half marathons and full marathons! runDisney’s website even says that all of their races are walker friendly, so with that said – from one non-athletic person to another, if I can do it, you can do it!! Good luck!