By Character Diva
I am not a runner. I do not enjoy it one bit. And while I admire all of the hundreds of thousands of people who compete in races all across the country each year, I never had any desire to be part of them. I am all for supporting charity and getting exercise, but the idea of waking up at a ridiculously early time when the rest of the city is sleeping seems difficult. And then to go out to run? And not only run for “fun,” but to pay to get up early and run just seems a little insane to me. I do have to admit, whenever I see pictures of my friends, family, and all of the other runners participate in the various Disney races, a small part of me wishes I was with them and immediately begin doing research on everything (not to mention pinning all kinds of great running costume ideas to add that extra bit of Disney cuteness). Fun Diva Fact: A couple of runners who like to participate in these races include our founder, Disney Diva, as well as another one of our writers, Tangled Diva. You can click to watch a video with Tangled Diva’s Princess 10 K tips here, or you can read some articles by Disney Diva about how to increase your mileage or more information on the Disney Kids Races, and more tips for beginners).
One of my aunts and her family are all very athletic, and almost everyone, from my aunt and uncle, to my cousins, all the way down to my cousins’ kids are runners. And living in southern California, several of them have participated in races at Disneyland over the years. So I asked them about some tips for Run Disney Races.
Tips for Beginning Runners/Walkers
First, I wanted to know what some tips were for “Beginner Runners” (particularly because if I ever hope to compete in a Disney race, this would be the category I fall into). This is what my aunt recommended:
I would suggest that they set their goals and make a plan. Many runners for Disney runs are there for FUN….. They want photos with their favorite characters, they want to dress up in costumes ….. It’s ALL ABOUT FUN….. AND THE BLING!! The LURE for the medal is pretty strong!! Bragging rights!! You’d be surprised how many, many WALKERS there are!! As long as they can finish under 16 minute miles…. they get the BLING! (Slower than that and you get picked up and transported back…..) After all, Disney has to open on time- They have a schedule to keep!!
But for those participants who want to RUN or RUN/WALK a 5 K , 10 K or 1/2 marathon, it might be a little more about the running….. set a goal and train for it….. If your goal is to finish a 5 K (3.1 miles)…. you should have run at least a 2- 2 1/2 mile run a couple of times before the race….. Disney has links to “trainers” that help you prepared. As a runner myself, my go-to website is “Runner’s World“. They have nutrition ideas, stretches, information on injuries and how to avoid them. They have ideas for training…. contrary to some people’s ideas…. you don’t want to always run fast and long…… once a week you should have a “long” run…. whatever that is for YOU, a fast run (and shorter that a long run), maybe a “Hill” run and a “just go out and have fun run”……
Some Do’s and Don’ts…..
Eat something an hour or so before the run… my favorite is oatmeal and a banana… gives you carbohydrates for fuel and potassium. (Bananas are great!!) BUT- experiment BEFORE the big day!! Don’t try anything new during the race….. you might find yourself looking for porta potties on the way!
Don’t wear brand new shoes…… This is a sure fire way to get blisters!! If you get new shoes try them out for a week or two before the run…. if you get any “hot spots” (places that could potentially cause blisters put band aids on those spots…..
Disney Diva Tip (Compliments of Character Diva’s Aunt): How to Prevent Blisters and/or Chafing: There is a product- Body Glide….. It is great for feet, bra lines and underarms (yes – tank tops can chafe under the arms and sting like a son of a gun!!) Vaseline works also, but it is so much messier and may stain your clothes. For guys- a chafing area may be (ahem!) around the genitals, or believe it or not NIPPLES. One runner in this family discovered he got bleeding nipples after a half marathon!! Poor guy!! He should have used Body Glide….. He went to Cross Fit (a boot camp type fitness gym), and never ran more than 4-5 miles once or twice a week as he trained for a half marathon, but he ran like the dickens and smoked us all!!! ) But because he only ran for 4-5 miles at a time, he never ran far enough in training to realize that nipples can chafe! And even if you’re not racing and are just cheering someone on, or just walking around Disneyland, you still might want to carry Body Glide with you. Even if your shoes are quite comfortable you can get blisters. Body Glide will help prevent that if you realize it soon enough!!
Another important tip my aunt wanted to share with beginning runners, is that training isn’t just about running. Cross training helps if you want to avoid injuries. You might want to add some weight training and yoga to your exercise routine, especially if you want to comfortably finish a half marathon… even walking it is about endurance! Disney Diva Tip: If you do get injured, go find the medical tent! They’ll fix you up and have you feeling better in no time!
But the main thing to remember in all this and the most important tip is: DON’T TRY ANYTHING NEW DURING THE TIME OF RACE (e.g.: food, clothing, shoes) and HYDRATE! (And of course, train.)
So there you have it. If you’re not a runner, but still hope to participate in a Disney race, I hope you have found this article to be useful. And if you really still have no desire to run in a race, but wouldn’t mind walking, there’s always the CHOC Walk, which supports the Children’s Hospital of Orange County. So whether you want to walk or run to Disney, go grab a banana, a good pair of broken in running shoes, some Body Glide, a bottle of water, and clothes inspired by your favorite Disney character and go have fun!