Thom W. (NDD#145) (8 Posts)

When he is not obsessing about his next Walt Disney World trip, Thom can be found running anything from a 5K to a 200 mile relay. Having grown up across the river from Louisville, KY, Thom's family never really took trips to Walt Disney World. He only went twice as he was growing up. Thom changed this in adulthood, though, honeymooning with his wife at Walt Disney World in 1998 and returning regularly after that. Now that he has kids of his own, his family goes at least once a year. But when they are not in the World, you can expect that Disney movies are helping them stay connected to their "laughing place." Through his experience of becoming a long-distance runner and losing almost 80 lbs., Thom hopes to help and encourage readers of The Disney Driven Life, to lead a Disney Driven Healthy and Fit life.

With the WDW Marathon behind us and the Disney Princess Half along with various other RunDisney events coming up, I want to write a post about the dos and don’ts of traveling to a RunDisney event. Walt Disney World and Disneyland are great places to visit, and the magic of these places pull thousands of runners and walkers to the parks each year. If you are not careful, you can get so wrapped up in the event that you don’t leave enough in the tank to power you through the event.

Figure out is this going to be a fun run or if you’re going for a set time to finish. Obviously, if you are just running the race for the magic and pageantry of the park, then these tips may not be for you. You are there for fun, and you should have as much fun as you want. If you are going for a personal best on time, then you may want to postpone the fun of the trip until after the race.

When  traveling to an event, allow yourself to have at least a day and half before the race. Most events require that you pick up the packet one to two days before the race.  The packet pick-up and race expo can be very large, so you will be walking quite a bit. If time allows, I would pick the packet up two days before so you have the day before to relax and make sure you have everything you need. A few years ago, a co-worker traveled to Walt Disney World for the Half-Marathon. She planned the Half to be at the end of her four-day trip there and spent so much time at the parks and the expo that she had little energy for the race itself.

Triple and Quadruple check you race day gear. Make a list if you must. For the race, you need to make sure that you have a long run in the gear you are going to wear. While running in a brand new specially designed shirt for the race is a great idea,  the fun will be quickly gone if on race day you find that the shirt rubs your skin and causes blisters or chafing. Same thing goes for shorts, shoes, undergarments, hats and socks. If you are planning on special race day attire, just make sure to run in it once before the big day. Nothing can ruin your trip faster than to find out you arrived at your event without your shoes, your watch, etc. Make a list of everything you need for your race, then mark it off as you pack it for the trip. That way you know what you need as well as what you have packed. Some runners even have a separate bag for their running gear. Once it is packed, it is zip-locked so that a significant other does not inadvertently remove something that will be needed.

Make sure to drink plenty of water.  Being hydrated before and after the race is just as important as being hydrated during the race. A simple test to make sure you are properly hydrated is the color of your urine.  Lighter is better. Your urine should be more like lemonade and less like apple juice.  Just because you don’t feel thirsty does not mean that you are not well hydrated.

Most of all, just have fun. It is Disney after all!!!  If you follow these steps, it will help to ensure that you can have fun and run a good race.  If you are not a runner and would like to start, please check out the Disney Driven Life Zero2Hero plan. It will help you go from not running at all to completing a 5K.

Contributed by: Thom Whitham (NDD#145) Thom is the DDL Fitness Blogger.

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