Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 2011: Ready, Set, Go!

by Michelle Scribner-MacLean and Mike Scopa

You’ve been training, you’ve been crossing off the days on the calendar”¦and now it’s almost here”¦the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend! Get ready for a wonderful racing event with 25,000 of your favorite racing buddies. Here are some last minute tips to get ready and to remember once you get there.

Rest and Relax
You’ve done your training and now it’s time to get off your feet and relax. Allow your body to rest and conserve energy so that you’re 100% on race day.

You should be tapering off by now. There is nothing more you can do to prepare yourself for this coming weekend then the obvious”¦rest. This is especially true for those of you who may have over trained a bit. You know who you are; those of you who wanted to get a little faster; you may have run too many miles, too fast, or not given yourself enough rest. Now it’s time to rest.

Drink, drink, drink
During the few days before the race, it’s really important to keep yourself hydrated. Drink lots of water during the few days before you leave so that your body well hydrated and ready to go before you get to the start line.

During the race you should make an attempt to take in water at every water stop. You may not realize you need the water but you do.

When You Arrive at WDW:

Stay Off of Your Feet
If there is anywhere on earth where this advice is very difficult to follow, it’s at WDW, where you could easily walk 10 miles per day. When you’re with your family and friends at the “vacation capital of the world,” it is very difficult to tell them, “Sorry, I’m hanging out by the pool all day,” but that’s exactly what you should try to do on the few days before your race. If you’re not sitting by the pool, hang out at your resort. If you do find yourself at the parks, try to walk as little as possible. The parks are a great place to people watch”¦instead of standing in line, perhaps spend some time at the best place ever to “people watch.”

BE CAREFUL of what you eat and what you do. Sure it’s the Happiest Place on Earth and there are attractions and shows and Mickey”¦but what are you here for? Hopefully after your race day you can enjoy the parks and the talking Mice and Ducks.

The day before your big race should be spent strolling around the expo and taking it easy. You may find something at the Expo you may THINK you need for the race. Be careful. Unless it’s something like a throwaway waterproof jacket or maybe sunglasses or even gloves”¦you don’t need it. Imagine buying a pair of socks or running shorts that you’ve never tried before and on the day of the race you find they are not as comfortable as the ones you trained in. Remember what got you to the ball and use them at the ball.

Music Check
Make sure your music works with the type of runner you are. That is, make sure that if you are a progression runner (starts slow and get faster) then you have the right type of music queue for you”¦don’t put your highest pace music up front”¦you’ll run out of gas”¦make sure your music is in order.

If you are a rabbit type runner that starts off fast then you want your highest paced music early on in your music queue.

If you are a steady runner then all your music should have the same beat or close to it.

Eating for the Race
A day or two before your race don’t eat any foods your body is not comfortable with. Unless you are on the Atkins diet you really don’t need to carbo-load. What you could do is add a few more carbs in your diet some four days before the race; but realistically, if you drink and eat, as you would normally do then you should be fine.

You should know by know how close to a race you feel comfortable eating or drinking. Some runners like to be “fueled up” before a race while others want to be kind of “empty” because they fear they would have to make a pit stop during the race. Watch the clock and plan accordingly.

The Night Before
The night before the big race lay out all your clothes and pin your runner’s bib on your shirt. You should bring extra safety pins with you; don’t depend on the race organizer’s to be 100% efficient in making sure everyone’s packet has safety pins.

Get to bed early”¦get at least six hours sleep before your race and play it safe and set your room clock radio and your cell phone to wake you up. Just to play it safe arrange for a wake-up call.

Race Day
Be sure you get to the race at least an hour or so before race time because it will take time for you to do bag check and get warmed up.

When you arrive at your corral; try to work your way up to the front. The less people in front of you the quicker you will be able to get into your normal pace.

Do not run on the grass because it is wet and uneven and you can injure yourself.

Do not weave in and out of people. It uses up energy and also adds distance to the race. There have been folks who have run a Half Marathon and afterwards their Garmin watch said the distance ran was 13.6 miles”¦because they weaved in and out.
Pace yourself as only you know how”¦.don’t let other runners influence your running style”¦just worry about you. Doing a PR is all well and good but just finish healthy so you can run another day.

At the end of the race be sure to stretch, drink water, and eat something.

One last piece of advice: HAVE FUN!

2 Replies to “Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 2011: Ready, Set, Go!”

  1. Ran the half this weekend and was glad to see Mike Scopa as I was running. Thanks for all of your had work on this blog (Michelle too!) and the newsletter! And thanks for wearing a shirt with your last name on it! I was the woman running with my dad and cousin and mentioned that I read you every week. Also the only group with men wearing glitter Mickey Deely Boopers!!! Congrats!

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