Disney Princess Half Marathon registration opened this week to the general public and as always, thousands of princess in training registered (I’m sure thousands of returning princesses are now dusting off and polishing that tiara — I know I am!).
As a returning princess and a princess who is beginning the training journey herself, I thought it would the “charming” thing for me to do and share of the insight I have picked up over the years.
Congratulations! You are registered for the most royal of all race weekends! Whether it’s your first 5k, 10k, half marathon or challenge – you will be awesome! If you are moving up a distance, you got it!
The mix of excitement, doubt, panic, and overwhelming now what are completely normal. Let me point you in the right direction to get you settled…
1. Do your homework:
Ok – you went to the race page long enough to click register but have you actually read all the information available on the runDisney Princess Weekend page? If not, you really should. While not all the information is available, there’s a lot of info you will need – now, as you plan, and closer to the event.
Tip: do not rely on Facebook groups or the people in those groups to relay the correct information to you. The website literally has everything on there that you could possibly need to know and more about the weekend.
Other sources you can use to prepare for the weekend are The Runner’s Guide to Walt Disney World (available on Amazon – so you can get a print or digital version) and blogs. From personal experience, both the Guide and reading blog reviews were how I researched my first Princess in 2014. With the blogs, I was getting good, bad and not so great moments shared with me so I could prepare for anything. The Guide provided a lot of insight into things I wouldn’t have even thought about.
2. Gear up:
If you are like me and this will be your first big race, please get proper gear! I knew before I started training in July 2013 that I needed to go to the “running store” and get properly fitted for running shoes. Do this – you will thank me later. Spending money now on the correct shoe for you will be a lot cheaper than spending money later on doctor bills because you picked a “cute” pair of shoes. Get fitted – then you can pick colors based on what your shoe comes in.
Another very important piece of gear to have fitted is a sports bra. I can remember after 2 months of training, I did my first 5k. The next morning I woke up with back pain and couldn’t figure out why. I was talking to my mom and she suggested maybe I didn’t have the best sports bra on the night before. It didn’t even dawn on me until I was hurting! Most running stores have seen the uptick in female runners. They will offer bra fittings so you can get the right kind of support (the twins and your back will thank you!).
As you progress through training, there will be other gear you may want to look into – watches, fuel, hydration packs, all kinds of clothes (see how quickly you dislike cotton), personal packs (like a Spibelt), glasses (check out Goodr), etc.
But right now, before you even think of taking a step, go get your shoes and a good sports bra.
Do you want to run, walk or do a combination? Only you know what your body will respond to.
When I started training in 2013, I knew I needed to run/walk. I didn’t think I could run. I quickly stopped training with intervals and tried to run as far as I could and then walk. Once walking, I couldn’t convince myself to run again. Fast forward to now – I am starting to build back up. This time around, I am making myself stick with intervals. Not only have I seen an improvement in my time (which are not speedy), I am seeing a consistent and steady pace that I am comfortable with. A comfortable pace is one where you can have a conversation and not feel like you are dying.
Also, look into training plans. There are so many out there. runDisney recommends the Galloway method – run/walk/run. You may want to start by doing a Couch to 5k program or train for a race through your local running club.
Decide how you want to train. This is your training plan for your race. No matter the distance – you got this!
You will be at Disney after all! Are you traveling alone? Going with a friend or family? Think about if you want to spend the weekend or week. You don’t have to book now but these are things you want to think about.
Tip: plan to arrive one day prior to your first race at least. You will need to attend expo to pick up your bib and race shirt.
5. Other sources
Join social media groups for a support network. It’s good to join groups to bounce ideas off of and share in the excitement. As stated before, do not rely on them for correct race information. While what is posted may be correct, it’s a good rule of thumb to use your race website for all correct race information. However, you may see the link to print your waiver in a group sooner than you would on the race page (we’ll get to that later).
Two books I read when I started training (and ones I plan to re-read now that I want to train properly again) were: Running Like a Girl and Confessions of a Fat Marathoner. Both books go into the good, bad and ugly of running – from losing your confidence after a bad training run to the thrill of crossing the finish line. Check them out and let me know what you think.
Take a deep breath. Let it all sink in. Over the next few days to a month, start putting your thoughts, goals and expectations into place. Do your research and properly gear up. We’ll focus on all the other “things” to a runDisney race but first things are first.
Feel free to ask me questions!
I’ll see you at the finish!