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My Tips for Running at WDW

So You Want to Run at WDW?

So by no stretch of the imagination am
I an expert at these races but after participating in this weekend 4 times and
other runDisney weekends here are my tips, including some for those that drive to the race start!

  1. Go in the Last Hour or so of the Expo
    on Any Day
    – Most people say “Go early to the expo” and while that is great
    advice, this applies more to the die-hard “I need merchandise” group. If you
    just don’t want crowds and are okay with not getting the pick of the limited
    merchandise, go late. I’ve gone in the last hour of both the WDW Marathon
    Weekend and the Princess Weekend expos and literally, you walk right up and get
    your stuff. It’s super easy. This year I went at 7 on Wednesday to get merch
    and there was literally no one in the Official runDisney Store in the packet
    pick-up pavilion. It was empty. 
  2. Go to the Expo with a Game Plan – Look
    at the vendors and decide before hand what you want to get and see at the expo.
    Do you want to try out compression socks? Figure out where those vendors are.
    Want to get a Sparkle Skirt? Yep, find them on the map first. It helps
    immensely and as someone who gets overwhelmed easily at expos, it helps to keep
    me focused. I usually do a lap around just to see if anything catches my eye,
    but it helps if you have and agenda before going into the expo.
  3. Bring Layers – Florida weather in
    January can be unpredictable, so bring it all. I always over pack for this
    weekend, but I’d rather do that then get to race day feeling less than
    confident in my clothing choices. Also, cooler temperatures can mean moist air
    and when that gets on your skin you might feel a bit cooler. For me extra
    humidity also means that my sweat just rests on my skin because there are few
    breezes to evaporate it. Keep this in mind when planning race attire.
  4. Follow runDisney’s Driving Instructions
    – Even if you know how to get around property like the back of your hand,
    follow the driving directions in the Official race Program. Roads get closed
    and it’s just not worth the hassle and stress of getting stuck.
  5. Get To the Race Early on Race Morning
    Again the same as above, give yourself an extra 20 min, so you don’t have to
    stress out if you hit traffic. If you are catching a bus, also give yourself some extra time. Plus, there are plenty of people and
    entertainment to keep you company while you wait!
  6. Parking at Epcot? Stay Left – If it’s a race at
    Epcot, stay to the left as you drive into the parking lot. If they have 2 lanes
    turning into the parking lots, the left lane will park closer to the
    start/finish area.
  7. Take a Picture of Where you Parked – In
    the morning, walk to the end of your row, pull out your phone or camera, and
    snap a picture. Presto! You will not be wandering around like a nomad after the
    race! This is also just good advice for when you are visiting any parking lot
    that is huge. Post-race you do not what to wander around because you’ve lost your
    car. You get their super early, run a ton, and then afterwards you may have
    runners brain, so this helps to ensure you remember where you parked.
  8. Bring A Camera – Even if you don’t plan
    to stop, you never know if you are going to find that “don’t miss” character
    photo op. This happened to me at the Princess Half Marathon, they had a group
    of princes ready to take a pic and I had no camera
  9. Find Your Fun – The most common piece
    of advice is “Don’t try to run for a PR at Disney, just have fun!” however, fun
    is a subjective word that can mean a lot of things to different people. For me,
    racing is the fun part of a race. Pushing myself to see where my limits are. I
    get to the end of races where I stopped for characters and did a bit more
    meandering and I don’t feel like I necessarily got my money’s worth. If you
    want to take pictures and chat with friends, do it! If you want to race but
    stop for a few choice photo ops, do it! If you want to PR, do it! I’ve done all
    3 of these options and have had fun at all of my runDisney races. Find your fun in the race and don’t feel like
    you aren’t getting your money’s worth if you don’t stop for every character or
    other photo op.
  10. Have a Plan B – If you are traveling to the race, like
    many of us do for runDisney races, have a plan B. Many people say to only pack
    a carry on, but at least wear or have your sneakers with you on the plane. If
    there is something you can’t race without, keep it on your person for your
    entire travel. If you are meeting others in your group at WDW, send them your
    race packet pick-up authorization forms, just in case. This past year at the
    2014 WDW Marathon Weekend, I had to pick up my stuff on Wednesday for Dopey,
    but since I only have limited time off from work, I wasn’t arriving until
    Wednesday morning. Then enter the polar vortex craziness meant I got delayed
    until 5:30, which for me is too close for comfort to ensure I could pick up my
    race stuff. Luckily my parent’s had all the forms they needed to pick up my
    race stuff so it all worked out. Think about the largest points of failure and
    try to come up with a plan B.

Hope these tips
help! Happy running!

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