My next runDisney race, Tower of Terror 10 Miler, is coming up in, oh, about 2 months. Yikes! There is so, so, so, so much left to do! It can be overwhelming without a plan.
The thing is, runDisney races aren’t like your normal race in your home town where all you really have to do to prepare is train. No, runDisney races involve so much more!
- Training, of course! I do not want the other details to overshadow what still is the most important part of getting ready for any race, training! You must have a plan. You must follow the plan. It just has to be done. But what if you find yourself, say, 2 months from the start line, way behind in training? I’m not talking about myself. Noooooooo! Well, maybe I’m talking about myself. Whatever you do, DON’T start where the training plan says you should be by now. For example, this past weekend’s long run was supposed to be 6 miles. If you are like me and are way behind, don’t do the 6 miles. It’s better to get to the start line healthy than not get to the start line at all or get to the start line injured. So, I’m adjusting the plan, and instead of getting up to a long run of 11 miles, like my original plan called for, I’ll back my longest run down to 8. What does this mean? It means the race won’t be quite as easy for me as it would have been if I were completely trained, and recovery may be a bit more uncomfortable, but it does not mean I should just throw in the towel and quit.
- Costumes! One of the things that makes runDisney events unique is that so many people have fun with dressing up in costume. It’s not as easy as heading to your local party store and picking out something like you would for a costume party. It still needs to be running-friendly, meaning made of breathable tech fabrics. Lots of people like to wear normal running clothes and throw a tutu on over it and call it a day. I say people because, yes, men do it, too. Don’t judge! Some people who are super-crafty go all-out and either have their costumes made or make it themselves. You’ll see a lot of group costumes, too. These can be anything from a group that has each person depict a character from a certain movie or even a group that all dresses alike. To be honest, I’ve never loved a costume I’ve done yet.
This time is going to be different! To start with, I have an EPIC Disney Villain idea.
I already had all the elements purchased for it when some of my BRFs (best running friends) decided we should do a group thing. So, now I have 2 costumes and 1 race. What to do? Well, at least I have options. Time will tell which one I’ll be wearing.
- Reservations! For most, runDisney races are more than races. They are racecations. That means making hotel reservations and sometimes even booking flights. If you stay at a host resort, runDisney makes transportation to all race events really easy. Plus, to me you just can’t beat staying on property.
Even if you are on a budget, you can find a competitively priced resort. The key, though, is to book early for the best selection! I cannot stress this enough. Race weekends bring in lots of people, and hotels book very quickly. The good news, though, is even if you didn’t plan ahead, there are a number of travel agents who have room blocks to sell. The downside to this is you may not get your first choice and you may not have a ton of flexibility when it comes to arrival or departure dates. The room blocks are often for the weekend only so if you are planning a long family trip before or after the race, this may not be an option. I go back to this: book early!
- Dining! For Walt Disney World, dining reservations are accepted 6 months in advance (up to 180 days +10, to be exact, but I’ll have to save that explanation for another day). Believe it or not, for the most popular restaurants, you really do have to be on the phone or on a computer the second reservations open to even stand a chance of getting in. Of course, you might get lucky later on if there’s a cancellation but if there’s a place you really want to visit, you better be sitting on ready when the time comes. Since runners are often concerned with digestive issues leading up to a race, this will be something else to think about 6 months in advance.
I hear you, though. Many of you have no idea where or what you’ll want to eat in 2 days, much less 6 months. If this degree of pre-planning isn’t for you, fine! There are a number of counter service places available, many of which rival some of the sit down restaurants. There will also be tables available somewhere. It might not be what you want or convenient to where you are at any given time, but you’ll have options.
- Park Planning! This one kind of gives me a headache as of late. It used to be so easy. Back in the good ol’ days (up to about a year ago) your hardest decision was how many days your park hopper needed to be. Unless you had a dining reservation, you didn’t even have to decide what park you were going to until the day of. Those days are gone, unless you really don’t care what you see or do once you get to the park. Now they have these things called Magic Bands and Fast Pass+.
Your Magic Band contains your room key, tickets, charging ability, and your attraction fast passes. So 60 days before the first day of your trip, you’ll log on to My Disney Experience (explanation for another day), and schedule 3 fast passes per day of your trip. This means, if you don’t have a package, you will already need to have purchased your tickets and loaded them into your My Disney Experience. The kicker is that you can only schedule them in one park per day.
Gasp! Hold on! They do allow additional passes to be scheduled in another park but you have to wait until your last pre-scheduled pass expires and you have to use a kiosk in the park where your additional one will be. Want the Cliff Notes version? Sorry, there really isn’t one. It kind of is as complicated as it sounds. I’ve had 3 trips since this new-fangled way of park planning was launched, and the rules weren’t exactly the same for any of them. My best tip for this is read, do your research, stay on top of it, and try not to lose your mind.
- Packing! This is important.
First and foremost, it’s a race so do not forget your race essentials! Shoes, clothes, socks, underthings, and gadgets are all things you don’t want to have to figure out how to replace once you get there so double, triple, quadruple check that they are packed. Also, pack them in your carryon if you are flying. Unfortunately, lost baggage happens so don’t tempt fate by leaving these things in the care of the airline. It’s a vacation, too, so pack all the things you would normally pack for a regular Disney trip, also.
Whew! See what I mean? Lots to get done and not really a lot of time to do it in. Training is my top priority at the moment, and then the park planning will begin next week. I’ve already told my family to expect a lot of crankiness once that process begins. Once it’s done, though, I’ll be ready to relax and have a great race and a great vacation.
What’s your next runDisney event?
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