Top 10 runDisney Princess Half Marathon Tips

The runDisney princess half marathon is one of my favorite races. It’s a fun girls weekend where you get some new bling at the end. What could be better? That being said, being prepared can make or break your experience, so I am here to offer some of my best tips for running this race. Good luck!

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1. Know the course. If you plan properly, you will know where the hilly overpasses are, where you can use a “real” bathroom on the course, and where the aid stations and med tents are located. Knowing this information can help you plan your fueling and pace for the event, and make you feel more at ease on race morning. I always try to wait to use the bathroom in the Magic Kingdom, and time my fuel around the free gel station that is on the back half of the course. Know what flavors are offered (I always opt for the vanilla, it tastes like frosting!) and make sure ahead of time that it won’t upset your stomach. The overpasses that will hurt are on the back half, once being a big loop around that can be killer on your IT bands, so take it slow. There are also a couple of hills as you come into EPCOT so make sure you have enough steam left to get up them!

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2. Arrive early. Not only will you have to wait for a bus or wait in traffic in your own car, but you will have to walk a long ways to get to the starting line, and then wait some more to use the bathroom before the race. I know as it is you have to wake up at an ungodly hour just to be there on time, but plan for some extra cushion just in case. No one wants to be stressed out and rushing! Buses stop running at 4:00 am (ugh I know right?) But I always plan to be on a bus somewhere around 3:45. Sometimes there will be long lines depending on if one just left your resort or not, so don’t expect to just walk right on. When you are dropped off, you will have to walk a ways to get to the family reunion area, then you may have to stand in line to check your bag. Tip on the bathrooms: If there are long lines at the family reunions area, wait until you walk to your corral. There will be more of them outside of the corral area, and the lines usually aren’t as long. (Also better to go at the last minute instead of an hour before the start if you ask me!)

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3. Wear a costume, and wear it on a practice run. I have worn tutu’s and running skirts for all of the Princess weekend races I have participated in, and it was a BLAST. Other people recognizing your costume or cheering for your “character” is a lot of fun. However, I was careful to run around the house beforehand to see if there were any chafing issues, rubbing spots or uncomfortable things about my costume. (Fun mental picture eh?) You don’t want to be miserable for 13.1 miles in a costume that isn’t agreeing with you. TIP for tutus: Wear a running skirt underneath as opposed to shorts. that way, strands from the tutu won’t get caught in between your legs for 13.1 miles. TIP for tiaras: Get the kind with a comb attached and wear a running headband over the top of the comb to “secure” it to your head. Works like a charm!

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Tip: Did you know you can buy a runDisney magic band? I love this pink one!

 

4. Bring your camera or cell phone for pictures. There are a ton of photo opportunities before, during, and after the race, so don’t miss out! Some people put their phone in an armband or fuel belt, but I just carry mine the whole race so I can quickly snap a photo whenever I want. I have even been known to tweet and Instagram mid race! TIP: If you purchase Disney’s memory maker or are an annual passholder, you can get photos taken by photopass photographers for FREE when you download them from your My Disney experience app. Keep in mind not all characters have a professional photographer at them though, which is when your phone/camera can come in handy.

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5. Enter the correct proof of time. runDisney is cracking down on proof of time. You won’t be able to change it at the expo, and it will be checked against your race results to ensure you are in the correct corral. This is for everyone’s safety and enjoyment, and to help with overcrowding. If your time is found to be incorrect on your proof, you may be put in a back corral. Don’t risk it and lie about your time! Sign up fro a race in enough time before the cutoff for submission to get your time down to what you want. Also don’t think you will be able to just jump into another corral. Disney had volunteers at the front of every corral checking bibs and they will turn you away. I have seen people try to jump over the gates and injure themselves just to get into a better corral (For reals. Like blood and everything). Not worth it!

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6. Plan for the finish. If you have family waiting for you, tell them not to crowd the finish line area where runners exit, (it’s really hard for an exhausted runner to move through crowds of people. We just want to sit down, so please give us some space and we will love you for it!) but to meet you in the family reunion area at one of the signs with a letter on it. There are a LOT of people in a small area after the race and sometimes cell phones won’t work due to the hoards of people, so have a meeting spot planned ahead of time.

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7.) Be careful with your packing: I always pack my complete race outfit in my carry on bag, and organize things with labeled ziploc bags if needed. I never check my race day outfit on the plane, and just wear my running shoes so I know I at least have those. I also lay out everything the night before including breakfast, room key, gels, etc. so I am not fumbling around looking for a tiara or socks at 3 AM on race day. That wake up time is early, so every minute is precious! (TIP: download my FREE Princess packing list printable to make sure you don’t forget anything important!)

8.) Get some sleep: As mentioned before, that wake up time is brutal. Start preparing your body a few days in advance by trying to go to bed 15-30 minutes early every night for a few nights prior to race day. I try to be in bed by 7:00 the night before at least winding down, and asleep by 8. I know that’s tough because you want to do all the Disney things, but your body will thank you for it the next day! Not just for the early wake up, but for hanging out in the parks after the race. It’s so much fun to wear your medal around, and you don’t want to miss it because you had to take a four hour nap!

9.) Enjoy the Epxo: The expo can get a little wild and crazy, but it’s a lot of fun so be sure to stick around! Make sure you bring a copy of your signed waiver (yes they have printers there where you can get one printed out, but to save time just go ahead and bring it) and a photo ID so you can get your bib. REMINDER: you must pick up your own bib. Go get your bib first, then your shirt, then spend some time enjoying the expo. There are some great vendors, freebies, photo ops, and merchandise. runDisney merchandise will sell out, so if you have your heart set on something in particular, get there early. If you don’t care to buy anything, I suggest NOT going first thing in the morning. If you let the initial rush/crowds die down, you won’t have to fight through as many people.

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10: Have fun! I know this seems like a given, but be sure to not let the logistics of the race, any fear of the unknown, or stress about your time stop you from having fun. Remember that by even toeing the starting line, you are doing something the vast majority of the population will never do, so celebrate and enjoy! You deserve it! Congrats on getting to the runDisney Princess half weekend!

If you are interested in tracking your fitness or any health goals, be sure to get check out my free printable to help you achieve your goals!

QOTD: Did you or will you be signing up for the runDisney Princess half? What princess would you run as if you were to participate?

RELATED: Sign up for my FREE My Disney Experience and Magic Bands E-Course

*More info on the runDisney Princess half on rundisney.com

Earning our Tiaras: Destination Disney’s Princess Half-Marathon!

Good morning! The following is a guest post from a fellow runner. Would love your thoughts on the great costumes and adventure from this race!

Alana: Okay – like, I love your posts about running and am so inspired – I need to move my butt!

Me: If you want some real inspiration, google Disney’s Princess Half-Marathon! I am totally thinking of planning our next vacation around this event. Wanna come?!?! We can dress up and win medals!

After I posted some motivational pictures about my new love affair with running on Facebook a few months ago, the above exchange took place with a dear friend from university and, before we could say “bibbidi bobbidi boo”, a plan was hatched. Two old friends on a quest to redefine the meaning of our glory days and train for a half-marathon. Not just any half-marathon, but one where princesses reign supreme, runners wear tutus and finishers earn tiaras. We were sold!

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But how to get there? It’s a great plan, but let’s face it – 13.1 miles is a long way to run. Don’t get me wrong – between the two of us, we run a lot of things: households, boardrooms and class rooms not to mention carpools, play dates and little leagues. But a 21K race? We didn’t know much about that one. But one thing we knew for sure was that you don’t run a half-marathon without a plan so our training includes a series of races throughout the spring, summer and fall to get us ready. We’ve been logging many miles between us and holding each other accountable along the way, but these races are our milestone check-points en route to our destination race event where we are promised every mile will be magic (we are hoping this adventure might include our own personal fairy godmothers and some pixie dust too?).

Fast forward a few months to this past weekend and suddenly it was the eve of our first race, a local 5K. This whole concept had sounded pretty cool in theory but, as the reality of lacing up beside real runners set in, so did the pre-race jitters. Our conversation the night before the race may have resembled one between teenage girls the night before a high school dance…nerves, excitement, doubt and anxiety were running high, yet our priorities were firmly focused on our outfits. Hey, if all else failed, at least we would look cute!

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Team Glass Slipper!

Alana arrived bright and early at my house with a special surprise to remind us why we are running. Tutu time! As you can see, the princess spirit was alive and well. (Don’t worry, we didn’t wear the tutus to the race…we will save that for Disney World!)

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Running like a princess!

Fast forward to the happily ever after: we both crossed the finish line, having met our individual goals for the day – I ran a sub 30 minute race and Alana ran the full 5k without stopping (and despite her fears, she was certainly not last either!). So now we have de-mystified the racing experience by doing it, owning it and even enjoying it. We weren’t there to win. We weren’t there to break any records. We were there to prove to ourselves that we could do it. We could set a goal that seemed impossible and slowly but surely makes strides towards it. We can feel the momentum building towards the Princess Half-Marathon!

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Getting a hug from my little princess at the finish line

So what advice do we have to offer new runners or runners who are new to racing?

1. Bring a cheering squad – how many opportunities do you get to feel like a rock star? Own the day and bring your family or friends to cheer you on. If you have little ones, let them make signs – not only a great rainy day craft, but they will get lots of attention on race day too!

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We had the cutest cheering section, hands down!

2. Wear something fun and flattering – unless the race t-shirt is out of this world, wear something you have run in comfortably before the race. Preferably something cute that makes you feel good about yourself!

3. Grab a girlfriend – whether you run at the same pace or not, it is really fun to have a running buddy. On race day, the actual running part flies by pretty quickly – but it is so much fun to share the pre-race nerves and post-race celebrations with a “sole sister”! A training partner will also keep you honest and accountable.

4. Remember why you are running – maybe you are training for a special event; maybe you are committing to an active, healthy lifestyle because you are worth it; or maybe you want to be a positive role model for your daughters. Maybe it is all of the above. Whatever it is that gets you moving should be celebrated on race day!

5. Have fun! Once you make it to the start line, you have already done the work. You are as prepared as you are going to be. So this is the time to enjoy the experience and, as any true princess does, believe in yourself.

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We did it! Do you like our princess sashes?

 

 

 

 

 

Submitted by Jodi Snowdon

QOTD: What race have you run that had the best event/race name?