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

Neverland 5k 2014

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My mom and I ran the Neverland 5k during the runDisney Tinkerbell half marathon weekend. I had never run a 5k at Disneyland before, so I was excited to experience one.

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Again, I LOVE the proximity of staying on property. We got to sleep a lot later than we do for the east coast events, and simply walked from our room to Disneyland park for the start of the race. I have never started a Disney race inside of a park that I can think of, so it was a really fun experience to walk down Main Street with all of the other runners.

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They had everyone lined up around the circle in front of the castle, and there was some confusion as to where we needed to go. We finally overheard a worker telling some people the order in which the “corrals” were going to go so we were then able to line up accordingly. They were going to have different waves, but nothing was marked that I could see.

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We waited around a good bit, the announcers came out, and then it was finally time to begin!

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After standing around so long it took me awhile to get warmed up. The good thing was the waves of people were not huge so I didn’t feel too crowded except for a couple of times around sharp turns.

We started off running towards the Matterhorn, and made our way through backstage and “on stage” portions of the Disneyland park.

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We had passed up a few characters with long lines, and I think this allowed us to get further ahead to ones that didn’t have as long of lines.

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When we ran towards New Orleans Square, we saw the lost boys out on the water in canoes, it was a really cute touch.

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We walked through the water stop, and took another couple of walk breaks. The air was SO dry we were both having a hard time breathing which made me nervous for the half.

Hooray mile 2!

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We went across to California Adventure Park, which is where the race ends. Only a mile to go! We had not gone to the theme parks yet, so the race was actually moms first glimpse of them!

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My favorite part

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We ran through the Pier, and I knew we were getting close.

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We could actually SEE the finish line, but of course had to stop for this picture.

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We ran across the finish line together, we did it!

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Several people asked if we were sisters, one even asked if we were twins! Not sure if it was because we were matching, but I really hope I don’t look like I’m in my 50’s! I know mom does look young though.

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We had a lot of fun running this race, I love that the parks are so close together that you get to run through both. I would definitely run this race again!

QOTD: Do you look like anyone in your family?

Disclosure: I was given a free hotel room, park tickets, some meals, and my half marathon race registration from runDisney. I paid for my own entry into the 5k, but regardless, all opinions are always my own.

 

Dumbo Double Training Plan

My buddy Jen posted her runDisney Dumbo Double Dare training plans last week and I realized just how quickly this race is sneaking up on me!

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(The race calls for a 10k Saturday and a half marathon Sunday). I will be taking the 10k VERY easy for this one! I have been on a distance running hiatus since the Princess half, and while it was good for my brain, it’s not good for my fitness level! Not only have I lost a lot of my running fitness, but a couple of unwanted pounds have crept on, which I know will go away once I start training again. I think I am going to start my training next Monday.

This scares me, because I seem to have a strange problem with training plans, in that I NEVER follow them like I am supposed to. I either get hurt, sick, or go out of town and the plan goes out the window. I am determined to stick with it this time and see how it helps me.

I decided on a modified version of the Runner’s World smart coach training plan. I finally learned that I run best when I run 3 days a week, with the occasional 4 days a week. So, what I plan to do is run three days a week, and run four days every other week. I think it’s a pretty good compromise. There are two shorter easy runs every week, so I just plan to take out one of those very other week and make it a cross training/weight lifting day instead, or if I feel I need an extra day of rest I will take it (otherwise I will take ONE complete day off a week).

Here is what a 2 week span will look like at the beginning of the plan:

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I will rest on Sundays, and on the first week I will take out the Thursday easy run and make it a cross training day, but keep the schedule as is for week two. Hopefully I can make it through to the end!

Strength training: I will strength train 3 times a week. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. No legs on Friday since I will long run Saturday. Will most likely do legs on Mondays. On Tuesday and Friday I will do chest/tri’s and bi’s/back with abs thrown in both days.

Cross training: Since Monday is an easy run day I will probably continue to also take my body pump class and do legs on that day. On my other cross training days I will rotate between the elliptical, stationary bike, and walking the treadmill at a high incline. Hopefully lots of stretching and foam rolling will also take place!

Being realistic: In a perfect world, I would hit ever workout perfectly every week, but things come up, you get sick, you travel, so I may be changing some days up, but I will still hopefully complete the training plan even if I have to miss or change a day here or there. Not beating myself up for it is important!

Back to back runs: My plan is to take the 10k VERY slowly, so I am not as concerned with back to back runs like I was for goofy running a half and a full. I may change up a couple of the weeks to where I have two runs back to back to get the feel of it, but I won’t be doing it all the time.

QOTD: Do you follow a training plan or do your own thing?