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 By Princess Diva

Can you guess the Disney character that I used for inspiration?
For the past few month, I have committed to training for the Disneyland Half Marathon.  Now the race is right around the corner and I wanted to give everyone a rundown (pun intended) on what I’ve been up to and what I have been doing to prepare for the 13.1 miles.
I started off researching training plans to whip my butt into shape in time for the race.  There are so many plans on the internet, Pinterest, and in magazines and books.  I needed to make the commitment to run, but couldn’t commit (or count on) a plan that required 5-6 days of running a week.  I found a plan on the run Disney site that required 3 days of running a week (right up my alley).  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking for a short cut, or an easy way out…I have a family and a home to take care of, so I know that there will be days that I would not be able to run.
Diva Tip: Know what kind of time you can reasonably give to training…this will keep you motivated.  If you do miss a day, pick right back up where you left off.  
I’m in decent shape, because even when not training for a race, I try to make it to the gym a few times a week.  This did make getting into training a bit easier for me.  Most programs that I found recommend being able to run 30 minutes without stopping prior to the actual training beginning.  Along with training programs, there are lots of guides to build up your running time before you start training.   There are even apps to help with all of this!
Diva Tip: Once you’ve picked your race and registered, start looking for plans based on where you are physically and get to work!
As you start training and building up time, set a goal for your race.  Are you a veteran trying to set a personal best, or are you a rookie looking to get across the finish line…(I fall somewhere in the middle).  I have done smaller races, but nothing like this.  My goal is to complete the race without walking.
Diva Tip:  Revisit your training plan.  Will this plan help you reach your goal?  The plan that I picked will not help with a PR, so keep those things in mind.
Now, you’re ready to start running.  I like to vary my runs from inside and outside.  I do many of my short runs inside at the gym, and then hit the open road for my long runs.  Plan to rest in between runs or add in some weight training a few days a week.  Miles indoors are not created equal to those run outdoors.  A treadmill is easier to run on then running outside.  There are no weather conditions to deal with and the treadmill helps with leg turnover.  Read more on this here from Runners World.   When you do run indoors, set your incline to about 2% to best simulate a realistic run.  If you choose to only run outside, pick a couple of long routes or trails.  Nothing is worse than running in circles for 10 miles! 
Plan rest days so that your body can recover, and stretch!  To warm up before a run, lunges, skipping, and high knees are a great way to increase your heart rate and move the muscles that you use during a run.  Here are some good stretches to do after you run.
Diva Tip: Mark your calendar, set an alarm as a reminder for race registration.  Disney runs fill up FAST!!
Seeing some of the creative costumes that runners wear is awesome.  Again, there is tons of inspiration to be found on the internet and Pinterest.  Plan your running gear again around your personal goal.  If you’re going for a PR, a big heavy princess gown or tutu might not be your best bet.
Diva Tip: Start thinking now about what you are going to wear.  Get some miles on those shoes, wear your outfit to make sure it doesn’t rub anywhere…race day is not the day to wear something brand new. I’m just finishing up my outfit.  It’s nothing over the top, but I’m really excited about it.
Above all, have fun!  This is still a Disney trip, after all.  If you miss a training day, don’t beat yourself up about it.  Pick yourself up and get back to business the next day. 
I hope this has helped some of you to jump in and go for it.  Run a Disney race…you can totally do it!
Please note that all of the training that is presented in this article is how Princess Diva trains.  I am in no way saying that my way is the only way.  This is what I have chosen to do after research and talking to trainers at my gym.