My Race Tips for runDisney’s Grumpy, Goofy, Dopey and Everything in Between!
The 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon “Weekend” is right around the corner. And feelings of excitement, dread, fear, nausea, etc. have probably begun to set in if you haven’t experienced Marathon Weekend before – and probably even if you know EXACTLY what you are up against.
In 2015, I will be celebrating my 7th Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. I will be running my 7th WDW Marathon, my 6th Goofy and my 2nd Dopey Challenge. I’ve learned many things from the addition of the 10K to Marathon Weekend. I offer you some NEW tips to put your mind at ease.
Please note, I have written other blog posts on tips I’ve learned for the WDW Marathon Weekend Races – please feel free to click the links below:
Tips For the Week Before You Leave for Marathon Weekend:
- Begin Getting Up Early: You may of heard you will have to get up EARLY (the middle of the night) for the WDW Races. This is true – probably between 2:30am to 3:00am is when you should be up and out the door to catch the bus or monorail to get through security (checking of your bag, race belt), and to bag drop (a secured location, alphabetically organized where you can leave your belongings in the runDisney clear bag until after the race), prior to walking to the Corrals.
- Fuel Up: Now is the time to put down the holiday sweets and get focused on the races at hand. Nutrition is all about eating what you have been eating during your training. You know what works for you – DON’T CHANGE IT NOW.
- Hydrate: Begin your hydration now. Carry a water bottle with you and be conscience of your intake. How do you know you are drinking enough water? Check you urine. Your pee should be light in color.
- Plan it Out: Meals, grocery list, Expo shopping list, get it together now while you can think clearly before the excitement of being in WDW hits.
I use MouseSavers Ultimate Packing List. Google it since it will not allow me to place a link here. It is the BEST Packing List I have ever seen and I have been using it for years. For a great Running Checklist I use A Runner’s Race Checklist. Below are some of my additional items:
- Fuel: Bring what you need from home. Yes, there will be vendors selling this and that, but use what you have been using during training for Marathon Weekend. Leave the new stuff for post WDW races.
- Hydration: Bring a water bottle with you EVERYWHERE – carry it empty through security, fill it for the plane, carry it with you to the expo, in the parks. Refill it often.
- Race Waivers & Photo ID: Both are needed to pick up your race bibs. There are printers at the expo if you forget, but save time do it now.
- Magic Bands, Annual Pass, Disney Vacation Club Card: Both the Annual Pass and DVC Membership cards will give a 10% discount on runDisney official merchandise. You will be able to use your Magic Band for changing privileges at the official runDisney merchandise store.
- Power-strip: With Kindles, iPad, iPhones, Garmins, cameras – there are never enough outlets. A power-strip consolidates all your electronics in one spot for ease and efficiency.
- Race Shoes: I bring 1 pair per race – for Dopey I will bring 4 pairs. I will bring different shoes for park touring.
- Costumes: If you haven’t been to a runDisney race, the costumes are part of the fun. Do dress up and have a great time!
The Walt Disney World Expo:
- runDisney Merchandise: My tip is to create a shopping list prior to arriving. Here is a link to the Official 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Merchandise. To say that it can get down-right crazy at the expo is an understatement. Stay calm and smile.
- New Balance runDisney Shoes: If you would like to purchase the official New Balance runDisney shoes registration begins Wednesday, January 7th 6am via this link. You can obtain a shopping time and hold your desired shoe type and size.
- Create a Shopping List: The Walt Disney World Expo is a runners paradise. I’ve attended some large running expos – New York, Boston, Marine Corps and Chicago – Disney is one of the best. TIP: strollers are not allowed, if you must bring a child into the expo, I would use a carrier.
Tips for Grumpy, Goofy and Dopey – Multiple Races in Multiple Days: adapted from my 11 Tips for Running Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge with the addition of the 5K
- Pace Yourself: The Challenges are all about survival and pacing yourself. Conserve your energy. Get your rest. Minimize time on your feet.
- Switch it Up: I bring 1 pair of shoes per race. This is especially important for the Half Marathon and Full Marathons. Remember to bring addition footwear options for park touring. Remember it’s Florida and it can rain at any time.
- Be Prepared: I layout my race attire in drawers, on hangers, on the floor for all 4 races so I don’t need to think about it as the days progress and the mornings come earlier and earlier. I stack my clothes backwards with the last item I’m going to put on, on the bottom. I also lay my sunblock, deodorant and Glide next to my race attire so I don’t forget to use it in the morning.
- Use Compression: I recommend compression socks for each race if running the Goofy and Dopey. Wearing them racing will change your life – no joke. If traveling long distances via car or plane, wear compression on the flights to and from the weekend.
- Remember Your Challenge Bracelets: After each race, when running a challenge, runners will have to check into the Goofy or Dopey tent to receive their race completion bracelets. After the 5K, 10K, and Half you will receive a bracelet. These must be worn until the completion of all your races in order to receive your challenge medals.
- Get a Rub Down: Bring money for the Massage Tent. It is $1 per minute and helps with recovery between races especially for the Goofy/Dopey. Note, the Massage Tent is only available for the Half and Full Marathons. Another option is booking a massage at Senses Spa at Saratoga Springs or The Grand Floridian. Also, remember to pack and use your Stick or foam roller.
- Fuel Up & Hydrate: Yes, you are on vacation, but a race-cation is a different animal. It is not best to eat foods you haven’t prior to racing. Keep to your known foods to minimize porta potty time during the race(s).
- Stay Calm and Carry On: I think this is the most important tip. It is very easy to get caught up in the excitement of the starting line. There will be fireworks. There will be stories of inspiration. You must not succumb to the craziness of others. Run your own race. Stick to your race plan. When using run/walk/run move to the side and stick to your intervals from the very start. Focus. Stay true. Keep your eyes on the prize.
- Focus on the Now: Remember to concentrate on the race at hand. Take each day one day at a time. Don’t worry about the full marathon on the 5K morning. Break up the distances and focus on the NOW.
- Get Your Rest: Go to bed early. Remember those mornings come soon enough.
- Walk it Out: Rest is great, but sitting around is not. Remember to walk to help ease recovery and avoid tightness. And ROLL BABY ROLL!
- Celebrate Your Accomplishments: It doesn’t matter if it is your 1st race or your 100th. To quote Bart Yasso, “never take a finish line for-granted.” Be proud of your accomplishments. Celebrate your achievements, you earned it. Tip: It is common for runDisney race finishers to wear their medals – 5K, 10K, Half, Full, Goofy, Dopey – in the parks and around the resort during WDW Marathon Race Week!
Tips – Walt Disney World Family Fun Run 5K:
- Arrive Early: Characters will be available for pre (and post) race photos. There will also be a DJ to warm up the crowd.
- It’s a FUN RUN: The 5K is not officially timed (unless you are running the Dopey) so now is your opportunity to stop & pose for photos!
- Conserve Your Energy: If you are running multiple races during the weekend it is best NOT to push yourself during the 5K. Why risk injury?
- Pay Attention: The race begins prior to sunrise. There are runners of all different abilities on course. Please keep your eyes and ears open. Watch for uneven pavement, puddles and sharp turns. Watch for children. Don’t stop short or worse in the middle of the course to take a photo. Always move to the side!
- Have a Race Plan: When running with family members make a race plan the night prior to the race. Not in the morning, it’s too early. Confirm a meeting place both pre & post race. Designate race buddies. Wear Road ID’s. Give the children instructions on where to go if you get separated. Give the adults instructions on where to go if you get separated. Make sure everyone knows their hotel name & bus number.
- Communicate: Because of the concentrated amount of runners at the race start and finish line, it is best to use TEXT as a mode of cellular communication rather than phones. Make sure all members of your party know your chosen mode of communicate prior to arrival.
Tips – Walt Disney World Kids Races:
- Arrive Early: The Kids Races are located on the track of Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. It’s a hike from the buses. Leave enough time to go to the bathroom and find your meeting location.
- Find a Volunteer: It’s “organized chaos.” The kids are lined up by race – 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters. Trust me, find a volunteer and have them point you to the correct location.
- Keep the Child Claim Ticket: Each child’s bib has a claim ticket. Once the race is over the child will wait until a parent with the correct claim ticket comes to the chute to claim the child. No ticket. No child.
Tips – Walt Disney World 10K:
- See Tips for 5K
- Bring Your Camera & Smile: As the race distances get longer the opportunities for Character Photo stops increase. runDisney race professional photographers will be on hand to snap your official race photos plus they will also snap photos with your personal camera or cell phone. Please note official race photographs cannot be combined with Disney’s Memory Maker. Tip: Have your camera on and ready to snap a photo so the character lines continuously move.
- Course Support: Water and PowerAde stations will be on course before mile 2, 3.5 and 5.5 if you require fluids before these stations, it is best to bring your own. First Aid tents are also on course and have Tylenol, BioFreeze and Vaseline on hand. Volunteers will be stationed throughout the course and on bikes. Flag them down if needed.
- Medals and Finisher Chutes: Once you are through the finish line remember there are multiple volunteers awarding medals so keep moving forward and don’t cluster. Remember to pick up ONE water, ONE PowerAde (available in multiple flavors) and ONE recovery box. Don’t forget to pose for your official finisher photo.
Tips – Walt Disney World Half Marathon:
- See Tips for 5K and 10K
- Spectators: Have a plan for your loved ones of where they can see you on course and/or at the finish. Tracking is available via runDisney, however, it is best to use a different source like the Garmin tracking app for precise tracking.
- Main Street U.S.A.: The best thing about running the Half and Full marathons are running up Main Street U.S.A. The roar of the crowd is deafening. However, one must pay attention. There are trolley tracks in the middle of the street so watch your footing. Do not stop suddenly for photos – please move to the side.
- Cinderella Castle: Make sure you pose in front of the Castle. If we are lucky, the Christmas lights will be lit. There are multiple lines going simultaneously. Go to the X, smile and move on – you’ll be happy you stopped.
- The Hill: The “hill” is a ramp to an overpass located on Mile 10, but it is a hill. It is also a smaller, banked ramp. If you choose to walk, then please alert those behind you by raising your arm before you slow down and move off to one side.
Tips – Walt Disney World Full Marathon:
- See Tips for 5K, 10K and Half
- Be Prepared for Anything: Meaning it might be a 5 plus hour day – it all depends on the weather. Therefore, bring Chap Stick and TP. Wear sunblock and Glide. Bring your sunglasses and/or visor/hat. Salt tablets are not such a bad thing to carry. I also wear a race belt with NUUN and carry my own Gels.
- Walt Disney World Speedway: Watch your footing in and out the steep ramps. Note – the speedway is banked.
- Riding Expedition Everest: By the time most of us are entering Animal Kingdom, the park is opening and you may get the opportunity to ride a coaster DURING a Marathon!!! If it is, then proceed to the Single Rider Line and prepare to hold on to your hats and sunglasses! Tip: Remember to pause your Garmin or keep it on to record the fastest mile of your race!
Good luck! And see you next week at the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend! Next up – Going Coast to Coast: The 2015 Inaugural Star Wars Weekend – 7 days and 71 miles of fun!
What did I forget? What are your favorite Tips for runDisney’s Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend? What item do you recommend everyone pack?