Now that I’m the proud owner of the highly coveted Princess Half Marathon Tiara Finisher Medal, I can confidently share what I learned to better prepare for the next big race. The Princess Half, which celebrated its 5th Anniversary this year, is one of seven annual runDisney races which include other athletic feats like the Tower of Terror 10 Miler and the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon, both coming up this Fall. Interested in participating? Here are a few of my tips for a successful runDisney race!
- It’s never too early to start training. Want to run like a princess next year? Start now! I was pushing it with my twelve week program. Running coach Jeff Galloway suggests a 22 week program for beginners and a 19 week program for more experienced runners. Information on his injury free training programs are available at jeffgalloway.com.
- Pack extra running clothes. Themed races like the Disney Princess Half Marathon encourage costumes. In true princess spirit, my running costume was an homage to one of my favorite characters, Ariel from Disney’s The Little Mermaid. I accidentally snagged my green leggings down the backside the night before. Oops. Running to the store for replacement activewear is not fun hours before the race. Also, practice running in your outfit before the big day to ensure there are no uncomfortable surprises.
- Get plenty of sleep. This seems like it should be common sense, but I was watching the fireworks at Cinderella castle when I probably should have been in bed. Don’t get too caught up in the festivities! Plan accordingly and play in the parks earlier. Trust me, that Mickey wake-up call will come quick!
- Eat a good breakfast. Again, this sounds obvious, but when you’re staying in a hotel and your pantry isn’t at your fingertips, you may not be able to reach for that bagel and peanut butter as easily as you’d think.
- Train at a pace faster than the requirement. The minimum pace requirement was 16 miles per minute, but if you want to stop for photos with the characters, drink some water, stretch on the side of the road, or take a restroom break, you must make up that time in your race. When you wait in line for 20 minutes to take pictures with Jack Sparrow like I did, you have to play catch up on the course.
- Have FUN. Seriously, you’re at the happiest place on Earth! Don’t beat yourself up for not running as fast as you wanted to – be proud of yourself for running at all. Don’t feel silly. Everyone is on the same page, sweaty and wearing a ridiculous costume. Embrace it! Your memories will be much happier that way.