In 2014, my family and I joined the runDisney craze. We weren’t runners before, but now we have four runDisney race weekends under our belts and are thinking about doing some more. Running is a great way for families to do something together. It promotes a healthy lifestyle and shows kids that anything is possible.
The beauty about runDisney is that it attracts people from a variety of running skill sets. Anyone from beginners to accomplished runners, will be able to find a race that is just right for them. The sentiment that everyone is an athlete resonates throughout each and every event. It was those points that prompted my family and me to sign up for and continue racing with runDisney.
Picking the Right runDisney Race
Deciding to sign up for your first runDisney race is the first and probably the most important step to take. If you’re new to running, it’s probably best to start small. Beginners can get their feet wet with a 5k or 10k before moving up to Half and Full Marathons. Kids races begin with the Diaper Dash and move up to 100m, 200m, 400m and the Mickey Mile.
There are several runDisney races throughout the year at both Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland. You may want to run a race through a particular park, or one that has a particular theme or rewards you with a really cool finisher’s medal. Or perhaps the race just happens to fall right around a milestone in your life, such as a birthday. Picking the right race for you can help you stay motivated and on track.runDisney race registration opens up months before each individual race and many sell out very quickly.
Once that’s accomplished, it’s time to train. This can be a challenging time, but it can also be a fun time, especially if your kids are involved.
Following a training plan is the best way to ensure you are prepared for your race. It will make it easier to stay motivated as well. There are a number of apps and online guides for any skill level and race length. You can easily customize these plans to fit your schedule and running approach.
A popular program for beginners is the Couch to 5k. It’s designed to take you from absolutely no running experience whatsoever to completing your first 5k race. The Jeff Galloway run/walk approach is also very popular with runDisney participants. You can find more information on Jeff’s training plans on the runDisney website.
Kids can benefit by following a training plan as well. They can follow the same plan as their parents or simply get up and get moving a few times a week.
Get the Whole Family Involved
Training becomes more fun when the whole family is involved. Weekends are the perfect opportunity to hit a running trail or visit the local track for a training run. I usually take my kids to the high school track by our house to run. I can get my time in while they can run the track at their own pace.
Another idea is to have a “runDisney Day”. Dedicate some time to do fun Disney themed relays, obstacle courses and maybe even a fun run. Set up a finish line to let the kids know what it will be like on the day of their race.
Be Healthy and Hydrated
Drink plenty of water in the throughout your training period. Being properly hydrated can help avoid cramping up during the race. Your training runs can help you gauge how your body feels when you’ve had too much or too little water. Concentrate on water in the days leading up to the race, and save the other drinks for after.
Also, try to maintain a healthy diet while you train. Choose snacks such as dry cereals, bananas and dried fruits. A nice glass of chocolate milk is the perfect reward after a good run.
Now that you know what you need to do, get out there and get moving! But most importantly, have fun!