I’m not very sensitive about my age. I’m 50 and, except for the somewhat unfortunate effects of time and gravity, I’m feeling great and consider myself wise(er) these days. Being the Disney fan that I am, I can’t really explain why it took me so long to participate in my first runDisney events (2015 Frozen 5k and Princess Half Marathon Weekend’s Glass Slipper Challenge). Yes…if you put that together, it means I waited until I was 50 to participate in my first Disney races! If I can do it, you can too! Here are my best tips for your very first race:
runDisney Over 50
- Check with your doctor. I’ve been a runner for a long time, but runDisney races are perfectly perfect for first-timers. You want to make sure you are physically healthy enough for training. Your doctor will most likely be thrilled that you’ve decided to do something this fun (and good for you). He/she may offer you some tips for getting started based on your current level of fitness.
- Visit the runDisney Site and Scope Out all the Events! Most events are held annually (some have been discontinued and new ones introduced over the years) so you can set your sights on something that appeals to your training time needs, budget, vacation schedule, etc. Speaking of budget – runDisney events are expensive compared to your basic hometown, run-of-the-mill races – so brace yourself and your wallet – it’s totally worth the price. For loads of information from our very own Run Diva, check this out.
- Pick a Training Program. There are so many wonderful free (or low cost) options to help you get started and stay motivated. The official runDisney trainer, Jeff Galloway, has free, downloadable programs for runners of all experience levels available on the runDisney site. No matter what program you choose, make sure it’s one you love and can stick with. Build a Disney playlist to train by and get going!
- Prepare to be Amazed! I’d been to Walt Disney World many times before, but the magical details runners will find along runDisney race courses are simply amazing. Certainly, you can expect plenty of hydration and aid stations, but you’ll also discover incredible special effects, character meet-and-greets and unique photo ops. Some of my favorite sights were an actual pirate ship and Jack Sparrow, a bevy of famous Disney villains, Wreck-It Ralph, Genie, and Anna, Elsa, and Kristoff – who cheered runners on from the balcony on Cinderella Castle. Speaking of the castle – running down Main Street U.S.A. in the early morning light during the Princess Half Marathon was one of the most breathtaking experiences I’ve ever had.
- No, You’re Not Too Old to Dress Up! Admittedly, I’m not very princess-ish, but I did want to have some sort of special attire for my first runDisney events. I wanted to be comfortable, age-appropriate, and reflect my own love of all things Disney. I also needed three separate looks for the three days’ events. It took me a while, but I decided on outfits that would represent some of my most favorite Disney characters in more of a tribute rather than full-blown costumes. For the 5k, I wore my homage-to-Donald outfit of royal blue shirt (I sewed on a white ribbon to create a sailor collar appearance), white running skirt, yellow knee-socks and yellow visor. For the 10k, I created a Minnie-inspired look with some black sparkly ears, a white visor with polka-dot bow, red shirt and black shorts. For the Princess Half-Marathon, I channeled my inner Evil Queen with a purple and black shirt, black arm-warmers, black running skirt, and black visor trimmed with a bejeweled crown.
What I’m really trying to say is that if you have a dream of participating in a runDisney event, it’s not too late! It’s an amazing experience and an incredible accomplishment and hopefully, I’ll see you there.
Until next time…Darlin’ Diva.