Tag Archives: disney princess half marathon

Tips for a Successful runDisney Marathon

mickeyrundisneyNow 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.
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Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

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Last weekend I was one of over 20,000 tutu clad princesses who crossed the finish line at Disney’s Princess Half Marathon.

In all, 36,000 royal runners competed in the festivities during the Princess Half Weekend which included Disney’s Royal Family 5K on Saturday in addition to last Sunday’s main event, a 13.1 mile race that coursed from Epcot through the Magic Kingdom and back.

Snow White

On the Friday prior to the race, I had the pleasure of attending the exclusive runDisney VIP Reception where I enjoyed munching on the most delicious Mickey shaped bites and mingling with very important runners like Lord of the Rings star Sean Astin (and my favorite celebrity, Snow White).

Sean Astin

The fun continued Saturday with Disney’s Fit for a Princess Expo which took place in the convention center at one of my favorite resorts, the Southwestern themed Coronado Springs Resort. Fitness vendors of all kinds displayed their wares on site, selling everything from energy gels to Sparkle skirts.

The Expo also hosted a speaker series featuring celebrity runner appearances and seminars on training, racing, nutrition and the Princess Half Marathon course.

RunDisney Expo

Because I’m a complete and total dork, I just had to visit the Magic Kingdom to see Wishes, a fireworks show I’ve seen literally hundreds of times, before I could go to sleep on the eve of the race. To my surprise I also got to witness the new ten minute castle show, Let the Memories Begin, a shimmering spectacle of beautiful Disney art projected onto Cinderella Castle.

Disney Memories

My Mickey wake-up call came quickly after that, waking me up at 3:30 a.m. so I could be up in time for the last bus to the half marathon at 4 a.m.

My corral (the last one – ha!) finally reached the start line around 6:20 a.m. In true Disney style, a fireworks display kicked off the race for each pack of runners. The masters of magic created a truly uplifting atmosphere, with Disney characters and entertainment speckled throughout the course, and strategically placed DJs blasting inspiring music right when it was needed the most. At the half way mark they blared Alicia Keys’ “Girl On Fire.” Good call, Disney.

Disney also peppered the course with volunteers handing out water and holding inspirational signs. Words of encouragement were also shouted from the sidelines via the chEAR squad (my Mom included!), a group of family, friends, and spectators who followed the runners to different viewpoints throughout the course. One of my favorite signs read “Hello, complete stranger, I’m proud of you too.”

Here are a few of my favorite shots from race day:

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Among the sea of tiaras in the half marathon were all types of runners from Olympic champion Summer Sanders to a 94 year old princess who went the distance that day. Was I the fastest of them all? No, but I finished. And as a wise woman once said, even miracles take a little time.

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