Top 5 Tips for Your First runDisney Race

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If you’re a first time runDisney runner, you might not know what to expect from a Disney race, especially if it’s your first time participating in any type of race event. Disney races are known to be really popular and often are packed to capacity. From the 5K fun runs to the full marathons, there’s something for everyone. Knowing helpful tips before your races will make the experience even more magical. Here are the top 5 tips for your first runDisney race.

Do your homework!

Like any running event, there’s a lot more involved than just showing up. runDisney races are large scale events with lots of running logistics involved. Knowing where you need to be and when is crucial. Read through all of your runDisney information – sent via email – and check out the runDisney website. You can also download most of the race literature as the event draws closer. And don’t forget to scour the booklets you get when you pick up your race bib at the expo.

Marathon Weekend Race Expo

Head to the expo early!

They say the early bird gets the worm, and that’s certainly true at a runDisney expo. The expo can get packed. Whether you’re running a 5K or a marathon, getting there early (and on one of the first days) is important. Some races require you to pick up your race bib in the HP Field House next to the Jostens Center at ESPN Wide World of Sports, where the expo is held, which means you’ll be running between buildings. Some have packet picket in the same building as the expo. Make sure to check that out ahead of time. Looking for that special runDisney merchandise? Getting there early will up your chances at getting limited edition race swag!

Rest and relax before the race!

Whether you’re running a night race or a morning race, you’ll want to take time to rest and relax. While a little bit of walking is good to keep your legs active, too much walking can put a damper on a runDisney race and your pace. Pre-race day is the perfect time to relax in the resorts and hang by the pool. Many people plan their race days at the beginning of their vacation, so they have plenty of time to pack in park touring after the big races!

Stick to your running nutrition plans!

Between Dole Whips, Mickey Bars, and Popcorn there is a lot of tempting food at Disney. Make sure not to indulge too much the day before your race. Veering off your normal nutrition path can have disastrous results during your race — and nobody likes a tummy ache during a long run! If you’re looking to carb load, there are plenty of places to imbibe in pasta and other carb filled treats. And remember those Mickey waffles are the perfect way carb load treat! If you’re running a longer race and need race nutrition like Gu’s, have them packed and ready to go in your luggage and in your race gear on the day of the race. If for some reason you forget items like this, the race expo has many of the most popular brands available for purchase.


Have fun!

Perhaps the most important tip of all at a runDisney race is to have fun! Races have a 16:00 per mile pace requirement and the “sweepers” are not released until the very last corral is cleared. Even so, as long as your pace is in good time, take the time to stop for character photos and to enjoy the sites. Disney races are some of the best themed in the world and offer some really unique photo opportunities. You never know who you might meet on the race course! Enjoy the race and your race accomplishments! You’ve earned it!

Have you participated in a runDisney race? What are your best tips for first time runDisney runners?

When Sarah isn’t sharing planning tips about the Walt Disney World Resort, you can find her at Gluten Free & Dairy Free at WDW where she writes dining reviews and shares tips and tricks about dining at Disney with a special diet.

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