by Character Diva
I know there are a lot of you out there who would love to do a runDisney race and cross that off your bucket list. But I also know there are a lot of you who for various reasons, have come up with every excuse under the sun on why you can’t. Believe me… I’ve heard them all… mainly from myself as I tried to come up with all kinds of excuses on why it would be so much more challenging to be in my (running) shoes. So for all of you who have all kinds of fears that you won’t be able to do it, here is a list of the most common reasons people (or myself) say they can’t do it, and how to overcome it.
1. I hate running/I’m not fast. This is probably the biggest deterrent right there. When I say I go “running”, I mean more of a walk/jog. Wogging? Jalking? Whatever you want to call it, I am not fast by any means…. Like there are speed walkers who could probably pass me. It really isn’t my thing… I don’t like feeling sweaty, I find it boring, and when push comes to shove, I could probably give you a list of dozens of things I should be doing instead (and an even longer one of things I’d rather be doing). So how do you combat that? Honestly, the best thing to do is just move… it doesn’t matter how slow you are, as long as you get it done. Most runDisney athletes do a combination of walking/jogging anyway, and at some points, the course is so bottlenecked that even if you could run, you still might want to walk just to conserve energy. As long as you can complete the distance of your race averaging a 16 minute mile or faster, you could even walk the entire route. Still not convinced? Click here for tips on how Disney Magic Diva earned her Coast to Coast Medal by walking both courses.
2. I don’t have anyone to run with. I will be the first to suggest running with a buddy. It just makes life easier…. Not only do you have an accountability partner to make sure you actually do it, but you also have someone to talk to, to encourage you, and to keep you from getting bored. I was lucky to have a running partner while training for my first runDisney race, but unfortunately, she got injured and that put an end to that. I did have my mom as a running buddy to run with in both of my runDisney 10ks, but when it came to training, it was pretty much a me, myself, and I partnership. If you don’t have anyone to train with, I highly recommend working out with your tv or while blasting music (you can find some of my favorite songs to work out to here).
What if you have a running partner at home but don’t know anyone at the race? My mom completed the “Double Dare” challenge and was running the half marathon by herself. She ended up informally joining a few other runners who united to form their own group… They were all going at about the same pace, and they would call out encouraging things to one another. runDisney runners (and most runners in general) are usually really supportive, especially if they tell someone needs a pick me up.
3. I don’t have the money. Okay…. I’ll admit it. runDisney races are NOT cheap…. In fact, they’re probably one of the most expensive races you will ever run in. Trying to budget in advance can be difficult, particularly when the races usually sell out ridiculously fast (sometimes within hours if not minutes on the opening day, depending on the race). Still, if you plan ahead of time, you can spread out some of the costs for bibs, hotels, travel expenses, or make it a big financial goal and save for a few years. Disney Diva Tip: If you have a Disney Visa Card and are planning on booking a package deal for your stay, you may qualify for free financing for 6 months. This is a great option if you pay off your credit card every month. It also earns you reward points which can go towards your Disney Redemption Card (which is like a giftcard.) For more information on Disney Visa Cards, click here.
Another option is to participate through one of runDisney’s charities. While it does require you to earn a set amount of money, as long as you can get family members, friends, co-workers, and possibly even your company to sponsor you, this can be a great way to participate in the race while helping those in need too. Disney Diva Tip: When you participate with a charity, you usually receive a free one day/one park admission ticket as well (or you can upgrade to a ticket with more options), so that can save you some money too.
4. I live too far away. Depending on where you live and where your race is, traveling can be a huge financial strain. It’s one thing to just have to pay for a bib registration. It’s another thing to have to tack on airfare, a rental car, hotel fees, food, and of course, money to experience the theme parks. If driving is an option for you, this might be your best option, particularly if you have family members or friends going with you. If driving isn’t practical, you can always opt to fly. Depending on which airline you use, you can sometimes find great deals or use reward points to save money. Just make sure to allow enough time to get to the Expo and race in case your flight is delayed for whatever reason. Disney Diva Tip: If you are participating in one of the Disney World runDisney races, try to stay on-property so you can take advantage of the free transportation that comes with riding the Magical Express. If traveling still isn’t an option for you, you might want to look into participating in a runDisney virtual race (offered in the summer time). While you don’t get the benefits of running through a castle, you do get some nice Disney bling as well as being able to run the race on what fits best for you. For more information on how the runDisney virtual races compare to the actual races, click here.
5. I don’t have time to train. Whether you’re working long hours in the office, chasing toddlers around the house, or both, finding time to add “one more thing” to your schedule can be tough. The best way I countered this was to exercise with my kids. I often work out to Disney music, which is great, because my kids can dance and run around with me while we rock out to “Under the Sea” or “Hakuna Matata”. Other times, I would play tag with my kids, chasing them around the house or having them chase me. Added bonus- this is a great way to train you to bob and weave to pass other runners or when you suddenly spy a rare character photo opp at the race.
6. I just had a baby. I was 5 months postpartum with my fourth baby when I ran my second 10k at the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend. I had previously ran the 10k at the same race two years before, but that was also after having more time to train. So what do you do when you have no motivation to get up early to run when you know you have to feed the baby at 5am? That’s okay! Run after the baby goes to bed. What do you do if the baby wakes up and is hungry or needs soothing? Take care of him while you work out! There were several times where I would nurse my baby while doing my warmup or cool down walks. I also would occasionally speed walk with my baby (being very careful to support his neck and head) while I would go from room to room in our house. If nothing else, at least he added an extra fifteen pounds or so for me to practice training.
7. I’m overweight. As I just mentioned, I just had a baby a few months ago. I weighed more with this last pregnancy than I’ve ever weighed in my life…. Even postpartum, I still weighed more than when I was 9 months pregnant with my oldest. What made it worse was even with my running, I didn’t feel like I was seeing results quick enough, which was discouraging in itself. In addition to the mental challenges, there’s the added physical challenges… there’s the potential chaffing, the added exhaustion, and just knowing that your body is having to work harder to make up for the extra pounds.The best advice is really to 1.) Talk to your doctor and get his/her recommendation 2.) Eat healthier so you have more energy and 3.) Just get up and do it. Even if you’re barely moving, you’re still doing laps around everyone still sitting on the couch. Will you see amazing results right away? Probably not, but the only way you’re going to achieve it is to get going… and trust me… runDisney participants come in all kinds of shapes and sizes…. and they’d love to have you join their ranks!
8. The weather is awful to run in. When I started training it was early June… just a few short months before the race, which meant I didn’t have time to slack off… And living in the southwest, it meant I also had to deal with extreme heat. When it is already in the 70’s when you start your morning weekend runs, it’s easy to want to throw in the towel. But when you have to run inside your house where the temperatures are in the upper 70’s or even 80’s because apparently the architect decided that air conditioning was overrated and swamp coolers would work just fine, your inspiration to run will melt away faster than that ice cube resting on your forehead to cool you off. Other times, you might be facing lightening (especially if you run in the evenings), winds, rain or cold temperatures, depending on where you live and the time of year. The main thing to do is to pay attention to the weather conditions, dress appropriately for the weather, and not to overdo it. Remember… you don’t need to be setting any records…. Completing the race is an accomplishment in itself. Disney Diva Tip: The 2017 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend was HOT. AND HUMID. When it is 88 degrees at 8am, you know its rough outside… Disney does a pretty good job of keeping water stations (and medics) out as needed, but my recommendation is to take a cup of water to drink and another one to dump on yourself to cool you off. Just remember to make sure to throw your empty cups in a trash can (there’s several at each station) before continuing on your way!
9. It’s uncomfortable to run on treadmills. I have really bad knees. My husband bought me a treadmill to train on a couple of years ago, but more often than not, I find it really uncomfortable to run on and it really just collects dust (and extra clothes or totes full of stuff I have yet to sort through). Plus even when I do use a treadmill, I find it hard to get at a comfortable pace… everything feels too slow or too fast. Because it was usually late or dark when my husband got home or the weather was unbearable, I rarely ran outside for this race…. Most of my running was in our house, just running from room to room. Not only did I get to practice my bobbing and weaving while I dodged dining room chairs or looped around the table, but I also got to multi-task and knock out some extra cleaning as I would scoop up toys, dirty dishes, and so on and put them away as I ran.
10. I’m sick. Whether or not you participate will depend on numerous factors, including the severity of your illness or injury. I ended up having a lot of sinus pressure which led to a bad cough and me practically losing my voice completely for my last runDisney 10k. While I didn’t have pneumonia or anything serious like that, I didn’t exactly feel my best either, particularly knowing that I was going to have to run in the heat. To combat this, I slowed my pace and jogged when I could and walked when I needed to. I also made sure to always drink two cups of water per station (as well as dump one over my head) and not push myself more than I needed to. You don’t want to be the runner who passes out due to overdoing it (which does happen). Similarly, depending on your injury, your doctor might not recommend you participating in the event. If you are able, slow down your pace, try walking, or if you are in a wheelchair, you can compete in the special wheelchair division. If you are still too sick or your injury is too serious participate, please don’t risk injuring or hurting yourself further. Even if it’s the morning of when you’ve already put in all of the time, energy, blood, sweat, tears (and money!) you always need to listen to your body and do what is best for you. You can always try again and down the road. Disney Diva Tip: If you are traveling for the trip, make sure to look into travel insurance or runners’ insurance for races…. If for whatever reason you have to back out at the last minute, you might be able to recoup your costs this way.
So these were the top ten excuses I faced (and what you might be up against as well). The point is, just be flexible and adapt your circumstances to do whatever works for you. Completing races is about finishing… the person who finishes last still ran the same distance as the person who finished first. The main thing is just to go out there and give it your all. Trust me… you’ll be glad that you did.
Need more help? Tips from the Disney Divas & Devos highly recommends contacting Patricia Payne from All For Dreams Travel to help you plan your next vacation. Not only are her services FREE to you, but she is an authorized Disney Vacation Planner AND she has participated in multiple runDisney events herself. Click here to contact Patricia!