5 Tips for Running When you Travel

Update: This post on 5 Tips for Running When you Travel first appeared in 2015, and I have now updated it, in October of 2018. 

If you are anything like me, you might make excuses when you are traveling for why you can’t go for a run. I have used every logic possible to talk myself out of a run, but in the end, I always regret not running when I travel. When I’m traveling, no matter if it’s by car or air, I always tend to eat more unhealthy than I do at home, and I’m sitting more than I do at home, so if there was ever a time I needed to run, traveling is when it is! So below I have compiled 5 Tips for running when you travel. Enjoy!

5 Tips for Running When you Travel

1.) Research the area: It’s not wise to just take off running from your hotel without knowing a bit about the area. Maybe you could even try to connect with local runners on social media and ask them their favorite routes. Traveling is a great time for exploring a new place! Maybe find a route that has a convenience store you can stop at along the way for a bottle of water, or a park with a scenic trail. Remember, knowledge is power!

2.) Pack well: I know there are a million thoughts going in and out of your head when trying to pack for a trip, and thinking about running gear may be the last thing on your mind. However, if you have everything you need all together in one bag you may be more likely to actually go for a run when you reach your destination. I bring a drawstring bag with my GPS watch, headbands, GU, body glide, sunglasses*, etc. whenever I travel so there is no excuse and no rummaging around in my suitcase. Then it’s just a matter of throwing in a couple running outfits and my shoes!

3.) Be safe: Always tell someone where you plan to run and what time you will be back, even if it’s a text to a friend or a front desk worker at the hotel. Be mindful of your surroundings! If you listen to music, make sure you can still hear your surroundings. You need to be on the lookout, especially in a bigger city where you may be crossing streets or around a lot more cars.

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Stopped at a crosswalk on a group run in Boston at the Healthy Living Summit.

4.) Make time: This is a big one for me! Travel wears me out y’all. The last thing I want to do after a long day of driving or flying is lace up my running shoes! It is important to look at your schedule and pencil in a time to hit the hotel gym or run the roads, or it may not actually happen. Sometimes the only available time is late at night, but it’s a good excuse to get out of your boring hotel room.

5.) Call the hotel: Hotel workers are your friend! Usually, they are super knowledgeable of the area, and can hopefully tell you areas you should probably avoid, or a place where runners go on the weekend to log some longer miles. They may even be able to give you the number of a local running store you can call for help as well. It never hurts to ask!

Thanks for checking out my 5 Tips for Running When you Travel.

QOTD: What is your best tip for running in a new place? To you venture outside or stick to the hotel gym?

*This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you purchase through my link I receive a small commission.

Everything You Need to Know About Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay 5K

Update: This post about the Disney Cruise Line Castaway Cay 5k was originally published in 2013, but I have since updated it and am republishing it now, in October of 2018.

Disney Cruise Line has a private island in the Bahamas called Castaway Cay. They also have a FREE 5k race you can run with a real medal given to you at the finish line. I have written other Castaway Cay 5k posts, you can search for them after reading this one, which is Everything You Need to Know About Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay 5K including a walkthrough of how the morning goes. (If you want the short, bullet point tips version scroll down to the bolded wording)

Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island that most of their cruises sail to at the end of the voyage. The Castaway Cay 5k is considered a runDisney run. It is a free fun run and is a 5k distance that has a race clock so you can see your time at the end.

The process of the 5k has changed over the years, but as of January 2018 when I last ran, below is the process:

-You sign up at the shore excursion desk and are given “tickets” telling you where to be and when.

-There will also be information in your navigator on where/how to sign up and where to be the morning of the race.

-We met in the main nightclub area which will be different depending on the ship you are on.

-They won’t let you in to “sign in” until a certain time, and the line outside gets quite long.

-BRING YOUR ID AND SHIP CARD. They will sign you in, and give you a race bib and safety pins

-Take a seat and hang out and meet new people until they come on stage explaining the debarking process and race map to you.

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Typically, you walk off the ship together and to the starting point by the bike rentals. Please note it’s a pretty long walk, so be prepared.

At 9:30 when we were cleared to go ashore onto Castaway Cay (time changes depending on sailing). We walked together off the gangway as a large group and onto the island. A cast member led the way.

PRO TIP: Grab some towels to put into your backpack. Backpack? What backpack? That leads to my most important pro tip. Bring all your stuff for the day with you! They have a large box to store belongings in at the start/finish line. Trust me, you don’t want to walk aallll the way back to the ship after to shower and change then come aallll the way back. That will waste an hour of your day on this beautiful island. Instead, we pack a bag with our swimsuits, shower wipes, deodorant, sunscreen, and anything else we will need for the day post-race. Then after we run, we shower off outside the bathrooms, then go in to change, wipe off, and get ready for the day.

Ok so where was I. The starting line is also the finish line, and there are directional arrows on the course. The biggest problem people have is that they don’t listen. You have to make TWO TOTAL LOOPS at one point in the race and for some reason, this is confusing for people.

castaway Cay 5k

There will be cast members there to help get everyone lined up and ready.

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Just like any race, it’s harder to move at first then it thins out pretty quickly.

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Soon after you start you will see your first directional sign in red (below). As long as you aren’t in first place just follow the people in front of you ha!

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You will then see a cast member standing by a water stop directing you into the bike loop.

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The loop is my least favorite because you have to run it twice and it’s just tree after tree.

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After you exit the loop, you head down the airstrip to Serenity Bay.

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Once you get to the end you are supposed to loop it like a cul de sac and come back the other way then head into the loop again. Some people cut this turn short and cheat but I feel that only cheats yourself so just run the whole thing. 🙂

You then head back down the airstrip and this would be a great time to grab water before heading back into the loop if you need it.  After you make it out of the bike loop you head back towards the finish line which was the way you first came/also the start line. The finish feels great, and be sure to watch the clock as you cross so you can see what your time is.

Castaway Cay 5k

There are water coolers at the finish line, plus your medal! There was a photographer as well who was taking pictures. If you buy a photo package they have adorable little race decals at the bottom!

There are bathrooms near the finish (which is where we change) and there is also a shop that sells 5k merchandise. Be mindful that they have been known to run out, so don’t wait until the end of the day if you want a cute shirt.

We then grab our bags out of the box and change, then head to the tram stop which happens to be right by the finish line. We then head out to Serenity Bay, and hit the beach for an amazing and relaxing day on Castaway Cay!

Here are my best tips summed up that I have learned after doing the Castaway Cay 5k 10 times that may be useful.

1.) Bring your beach clothes and things with you in a bag or backpack so you don’t have to go back to the ship. You will waste a good 45 minutes to an hour walking back, showering, and coming back out when you can change and shower at the beach. They have a large bin you can keep your things in at the start line.

2.) Get towels when you get off the ship. I am so glad we did because they did NOT have towels at Serenity Bay and we would have had to go back and get some.

3.) Sunscreen, sunglasses, hat. It’s HOT and there isn’t a lot of shade on the course, especially on the airstrip.

4.) Hydrate! They set up a water stop at the bike loop, but you can also take advantage of the water stops in the bike loop and at the Serenity Bay tram stop.

5.) SOMETIMES they have a Disney character waiting at the finish line (didn’t this time but did last time) so bring a camera or phone to capture the moment!

6.) If you want to see the island but don’t want to run, there is an “island power walk” that leaves just a few minutes after the 5k that you can join in with, or you can always rent bikes.

7.) Be sure to look at your finishing time as you cross, it’s on your left up high in a brown box

8.) At the souvenir shop right by the finish, they sell 5k finishers shirts. I wouldn’t wait until late in the day to get one in case they run out of your size. I snagged mine right after I finished the race and they had plenty.

9.) Bring your ID and ship card or you can’t check in for the race or get off the ship!

10.) Have fun! Just remember, you burned extra calories so now you can enjoy an extra Konk Cooler on the island!

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(This photo is taken from the start. When you are coming into the finish, the clock is facing the other way so you can see your time.)

Special note: Apaprently this happens VERY RARELY but it does happen and unfortunately it happened to us. We were unable to dock on Castaway Cay on one of our cruises, but we still had the 5k on the ship! We had to run around a certain number of times (9 maybe?) and they had a water stop set up and we got our medals. Not ideal, but it was nice to still get to run the race anyway! Read more about that Castaway Cay 5k experience here.

I have loved running the Castaway Cay 5k on the beautiful island, it’s a great way to start your day and you get a fun souvenir, too. Slow or fast, it doesn’t matter, be sure to give this a try on your next cruise!

Visit Travelwiththemagic.com for Disney Cruise Line information.

7 Weight Loss Tips for Faster Results

When you decide you want to lose weight, you don’t want to wait until next year or next month to do it. It’s hard to even think about having to wait a couple of weeks to start seeing results. While there is no magic pill to get to where you want to be, there ARE ways to make sure you are on the fastest path safely possible to reach your goals. Here are 7 weight loss tips for faster results:

7 weight loss tips for faster results

1.) Eat All the Veggies: Not only will veggies fill you up so you won’t want to eat junk food, but they are rich in vitamins and nutrients your body loves to stay healthy and happy. You will feel better, look better, and be on your way to weight loss in no time. Don’t like veggies? Search Pinterest for recipes that “hide” that veggie taste. People are so creative and have come up with amazing recipes!

2.) Drink at Least 8 Glasses of Water: Water is great for your skin, fills you up, and keeps your systems running smoothly. It’s such a simple thing but just doing this ONE action can jumpstart your weight loss.

3.) Move 10,000 steps each day, with 4 days involving getting your heart rate UP HIGH (even if only for 15 minutes): Get a step counter or Fitbit* and get to walking! You should be moving a MINIMUM of 10k steps a day, plus several days of higher intensity workouts. Keep in mind doing hours of cardio isn’t the answer. Short bursts are super effective too!

4.) Track Calorie Intake…For Awhile: I use My Fitness Pal when I feel like I need to get back on track after a vacation of several days of not eating properly. It’s free, and a great way to give you a visual of exactly how many calories you are consuming in a day. That in itself is eye-opening enough to help you lose weight.

5.) Don’t Drink Your Calories: I will always remember this phrase from back when I used to watch The Biggest Loser. Jillian Michaels used to tell the contestants to never drink your calories! They are empty, you will still be hungry after, and they add up quick. Just look at a Starbucks menu and you will see what I mean. So many drinks have MORE calories than an ENTIRE MEAL and people drink those drinks PLUS eat a meal and then wonder why they aren’t losing weight. Stick to water except for an OCCASIONAL treat and it will quickly make a difference!

6.) Find A Workout You Love: Not all workouts are for everyone. Some love running, some love stand up paddleboarding, and some love tennis. Experiment and find what you love because then you are way more likely to stick with it. I would much rather play a game of volleyball then run for an hour, and that’s ok!

7 weight loss tips for faster results

7.) Get More Sleep: Cramming too many things into your schedule makes you less likely to want to work out or eat properly, so right there you are sabotaging your efforts. On top of that, your body will be stressed and you are more likely to get sick, so then you won’t be able to work out either! Studies show that getting enough sleep can help aid in weight loss because only getting a little bit of sleep can mess with your metabolism.

I hope you enjoyed these 7 weight loss tips for faster results!

RELATED: 7 Fitness hacks for the unmotivated

*If you purchase through this link, I will get a small percentage in commission.

Photos by rawpixelSara Dubler, Arek Adeoye, Jennifer Burk on Unsplash

7 Fitness Hacks for the Unmotivated

I get it. In our society, there are so many things clawing for your attention. We are all just flat out busy all the time. This leads to burnout, and it can be hard to get motivated to workout. That’s why I came up with 7 fitness hacks for the unmotivated to kickstart your fitness journey and help you reach your workout goals. Follow these tips, and you will be headed in the right direction in no time, no gym membership required!

1.) Drink more water: It seems so simple, but it has such a HUGE impact. Not only is drinking water a super duper easy hack for getting fit, but it is like the swiss army knife of health. It does so many good for you things, so it’s high time you get to chugging! Not only will drinking more water keep you from getting headaches and feeling sluggish, but it will help you feel full, flushes out toxins, is great for your skin, can boost your immune system, and helps keep you regular (aka not bloated). Aim for 8 glasses a day, and if you are like me and drive the struggle bus on this one, try drinking fruit infused water, drinking out of a fun glass, or getting an awesome fancy Hidrate water bottle that helps you track intake and has its own app! (I have the teal one and love the accountability. It glows when it’s time to drink!)

2.) Workout during commercials: This one seems silly, but I use it a lot on days I don’t feel well but know I need to so *something* or when I’m feeling worn down and don’t want to do a lot of high impact movements. It’s also great when you are short on time. Most of us watch some sort of TV at night whether it’s regular TV, Netflix, or something else. My quick hack for when you are just not feeling it is to work out during commercials. I will do a set of crunches, some squats or lunges, or even plank. I will repeat a quick “circuit” until my show comes back on, and I know I will get about 10-15 minutes of work in during an hour. easy peasy!

3.) Wear fitness clothes more often: I often talk myself out of working out because I either don’t have clothes with me or I’m too lazy to change (I know sad but true.) I have combat that by keeping a bag of clothes in my car, and when I AM at home, I wear workout clothes that way I have no excuse. If there is a break in the rain I can go for a walk around the block. While I wait for dinner to cook in the oven I can do jumping jacks or sprints up and down my street. No fussing with finding clean clothes or talking myself out of it because I have to change, it’s already done.

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4.) Follow fit people on Insta: Motivation from others can go a long way, even if its a stranger (hey, you are reading this right? heh.) Search fitness hashtags and follow some encouraging and motivating people online. Some people are great at giving you the little push you need to get off the couch. (By the way, are you following me? (@HeathersLG)

5.) Put it in your schedule: I have always found that when I write my workouts into a day planner or put them in my Google calendar on my phone, I am much more likely to keep them as I would any other appointment. Make yourself a priority!

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6.) Grab an accountability partner: This is actually how my blog came to be! So not an individual PERSON, but what turned out to be a whole bunch of people! When I began training for my very first half marathon back in the fall of 2009, I started this blog to hold myself accountable for my training. It clearly worked, because I have run around 30 half marathons, four full marathons, and countless other race distances since then. Start a blog, find a friend, ask your spouse to hold you accountable (ok, maybe not that one. I can see that ending badly), but anyway you get the point! (PS if you sign up for my free email course in the “start a blog link” you will get free fitness and goal tracking printables emailed to you!)

7.) Practice self-love: You guys, this is the most important one, and honestly the other things will work SO MUCH BETTER if you have this number seven at your foundation. You have to love yourself enough to workout. These fitness hacks can only take you so far. You have to realize that you are worth it, the time you spend is worth it, and that it will allow you to be an all-around better person for your family and yourself. <3

*May contain affiliate links meaning if you purchase through my link I make a small commission. 

Activewear Made in the U.S.A

I am and always have been very patriotic. When possible, I prefer to buy things made in the USA, and I shop local a good bit. That’s why I was super excited to learn about Vast Terrain, which takes “A different approach to premium activewear”.  They stand on these key principles:  (1) a transparent model of both pricing and supply chain, (2) made in the USA, (3) being sold “direct to consumer” without the retail markup and (4) using only proprietary technical fabrics.  

Vast terrain activewear made in the USA

I wanted to know more, so I dug a little deeper. Their website has a ton of info, so it was easy to see their transparency, which after talking to the owners, is very important to them. 99% of their production value is sourced in the USA!

So how did they get started? “The Gillerts, both 47 years old, were inspired by their own outdoor adventures, including scaling Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa and Mount Elbrus in Russia. They wanted activewear that was made in the U.S., but couldn’t find it.” (Currently, their office is right here in Tampa!)

The fabric was also of great importance to them. They wanted it to be soft (which it really is!), protect from moisture buildup, and provide odor control. It was time-consuming and tedious to find what they were looking for, but after research, trips to factories and hundreds of phone calls to mills, they were able to create a game plan.

To give you an example of all that goes into the clothing, check this out: “The fabric is woven at a plant in Roanoke, Virginia. They work with a company in Los Angeles that is one of the most technologically advanced circular knitting mills in the world. There’s a cut and sew facility in San Francisco, zippers come from Los Angeles, and trims from Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The design is done in Santa Cruz, California.” WOW! I love that these clothes all come from so many different places in the USA. You can see the transparency here because the supply chain and each factory is on their website!

“We’re on a first-name basis with the owners. They know who we are. We get responses more quickly, and we’re not tied up in customs,” Says owner Carrieann. “We’re also keeping jobs in the U.S.” <—LOVE this so much!

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Remember guys, premium technical activewear doesn’t have to cost a premium price. Keep in mind traditional retailers mark their products up by at least four times their cost. (Sometimes a lot more!) By selling directly to you Vast Terrain eliminates this retail markup and passes on the savings to you, the customer.

I can attest to the softness, durability, and comfort of the fabric. I have a tank top and pair of shorts from Vast Terrain, and I am loving running and working out in them. I highly recommend supporting them, men and women, and supporting our great country as well.

ESPN WWOS Media FAM Day 3 Part 1

Disclosure: I was invited to a 3-night media event by Walt Disney World, however, all opinions are my own.

In case you missed day one and two, go back and read those first!

Day three of the media event was the “big day” where we were busy all day long at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. I went into a lot of details of the events, etc on this post, but I will add in a few more as I talk about this day.

We began the day bright and early at the complex. Thankfully they had breakfast and coffee for us. It was cool to see some of the healthy food options you can purchase for your sports team. In my box was an avocado bagel, apple, orange juice, and yogurt. It hit the spot and is definitely something I would be happy for my child to eat as opposed to sugary on the go cereals or pop tarts.

After breakfast, we toured the entire complex, which took a while but was so much fun! (This place is huge, so we did some touring via golf cart.) After seeing the new arena and all the courts it has, we got to hang out with Goofy and Nick Anderson of Orlando Magic fame. He was so nice and spent a ton of time talking to us (check out my Instagram TV channel to see some of what he said.

He even gave me some pointers on my follow through (I haven’t touched a basketball in about 10 years yall) and it was so great to be on the court again.

We sadly left the arena after hanging out with Nick and Goofy, and made our way over to the VISA Center where we learned about the on the spot tee shirt printing services that are offered. It’s so cool that you can get your name, number, team name, and much more printed on a shirt. We even got our own shirts!

Next we got to see the real live working studio where sports reporting is done. It was so much fun to sit behind the desk and pretend like I was important haha! What’s cool is that they can change the colors of the studio (like the yellow and blue in the below photo) depending on what they are covering. How cool!

Next, we headed into the production studio which was SO COOL. I wrote more about it on the link I posted at the top of this page so won’t go into a ton of detail, but it’s so cool how much video footage these guys have on all the events that go on at the complex. It seems so intricate and detailed.

After learning all about the production side, we hopped on some golf carts and headed out to the soccer fields to catch some of the tournament action. I loved seeing people everywhere anad so many games going on at once.
Next, we headed back inside to take a look at the game day photo options. You can get your picture taken holding your favorite sporting equipment and have it put on balls, blankets, Christmas ornaments, and more. You can even hire a photographer to take action shots of your child during their game so you can just focus on cheering. I love this option!

We all had our pictures taken and happened to be put on the cover of ESPN magazine. 🙂 It was soon time for lunch, and we had a delicious spread and ate while listening to more wonderful cast members talking about the complex and then my favorite…runDisney!

At the end of the day we were surprised with an amazing gift…a race entry into the runDisney Walt Disney World marathon weekend! I was of course super pumped because I was not planning on signing up for any of the races. It was so generous of them, and I can’t wait for you all to follow along in my journey on race weekend.

This post is getting long so I’m going to break this day up into two posts, so stay tuned for more!

4 Tips for Stroller Running in the Heat

Now that it’s summer and all sense of a regular schedule has gone out the window, I have had to rethink some of my workout times and methods. I want to spend time with Emma Kate without neglecting my health, so it just makes sense for us to do some working out together. Thankfully she will still sit in the stroller while I run for three miles or less, so we are trying to do more of that lately. However, it. is. hot. Not only do I have to worry about being safe for myself, but also for my daughter, so here are my best tips for stroller running:

stroller running

1.) Sunscreen for everyone: I know it may be tempting to think that because they are in a shaded stroller or covered by a canopy that your child is safe from the sun, but they most definitely still need sunscreen! Also if you are a heavy sweater don’t forget to reapply. I use kids spray sunscreen on her body, and sensitive skin just for face on Emma Kate’s face. I use whatever is in the closet for myself. ha.

stroller running

2.) Dress appropriately: Cool, light sweat wicking clothing is best for everyone. I got Emma Kate some super cheap athletic gear at our local consignment shop. We obviously don’t need blankets in the summer! Don’t drape your stroller with a blanket because it traps heat inside and you need air to circulate as much as possible.

3.) Hydrate: Fill up a bottle of water for yourself, and for your wee one. A lot of strollers have a handy basket underneath where you can bring sunscreen, water, a towel, etc. along with you. I also purchased an accessory for my stroller that has two cupholders up top, and a flip down cup holder and tray for Emma Kate in front of her. It’s great for keeping her entertained with snacks, too.

4.) Time your run and route wisely: Try to run early in the morning or late in the evening when you aren’t in the worst of the sun, which is between 10-2. Not only will it be cooler, but there will also be more shade and everyone will be happier. I personally prefer running in the morning and getting it out of the way. Emma Kate is awake at 6:00 most days so it gives us something to do before the world is awake.

5.) Pick a good jogging stroller: I am currently loving the BOB Rambler! It is cheaper than other models, but still packs a powerful punch. It has 12 inch high impact tires for those bumpy roads, a swivel locking front wheel, and a 75 pound weight capacity. I also love the one hand recline adjustment, two step fold, and foot activated parking break. If some of the other BOB strollers are too expensive for your taste, know that the Rambler has the best features at a lower price point. 

You can check out the Rambler’s other features here and also find out where to purchase your own. You can also check this page out for safety tips for running with your Bob! Happy running!

RELATED: 10 tips for running in the heat

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of BOB, however all opinions are my own.

6 Tips for Running the runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon

The runDisney Wine and Dine half marathon weekend is definitely a favorite of mine because I love to eat, and naturally love EPCOT’s Food and Wine Festival. This is also a great time of year to visit Walt Disney World as it’s starting to slowly cool off, and Christmas decorations are starting to go up!

rundisney wine and dine half marathon tips

Since this race has switched to a daytime race, I decided to update my tips post so that it makes more sense for the current race weekend situation. Here are my best tips for running the Wine and Dine half marathon.

rundisney wine and dine half marathon tips

1.) Hydrate in advance: Don’t wait until the night before to decide to start drinking water. The race will be HUMID and you will sweat a lot. Carry a water bottle with you days in advance, at the expo, to the parks, etc. Also hydrate on the course. There are plenty of water stops. I take one cup of Powerade and one cup of water at each stop starting with the second one. (I typically run through the first one).

rundisney wine and dine half marathon tips

2.) Prepare for before and after the race: If you are checking a bag, make sure you don’t put any valuables inside as runDisney is not responsible for anything stolen. If I’m driving I put my car key in my bag as well as a phone external battery and charger and a jacket because I always get cold quickly after a race. If you are meeting someone at the finish line, make sure you have a plan as to where you are meeting because cell service may be spotty with all the people in one small area.

rundisney wine and dine half marathon tips

3.) Watch your footing: runDisney does a great job of lighting up the roads, there are still some dark spots early in the morning and I have seen people trip and fall on the reflectors in the middle of the road! Also, running through Animal Kingdom will be tight, and has some uneven pavement so pay extra attention running through that park.

rundisney wine and dine half marathon tips

4.) Watch your food intake: Do not eat any news foods the day of or before the race. I know the unique foods at the Food and Wine festival are tempting, but save it for after the race and at the after party! As far as on course calories, there will be either sport beans or gels, so make sure your stomach can handle it, or bring your own fuel.

rundisney wine and dine half marathon tips

5.) Read the official race program: Be sure you know the course, where the aid stations are, and what time to get on a bus. Be sure you get to the race in enough time to go to the bathroom and check your bag. A good reason to know the course: real bathrooms! You will be running through the parks, so I always try to take a bathroom break if needed in a “real” bathroom. There is also a map showing you the set up of the pre race area and where to go to get in your corral. If you are in corral A in particular, they close it off early and start moving them up around 5:00. I have missed my corral before and had to weave through a lot of people to get up to A because they had already moved to the starting line. Not a fun experience!

rundisney wine and dine half marathon tips

6.) Enjoy the after party! If you registered for the half marathon, you get automatic entry into the party at EPCOT on Sunday night. It starts at 10:00, and be mindful if you get there early that they shut everything down from 9-10 to clear out the park so you won’t be able to get food or ride anything during this time. Take lots of pictures, enjoy the food booths and a park with less people in it. Congrats on a great race!

To get excited about the race, be sure to check out my past two Wine and Dine race recaps from 2011 and 2012! Be sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

QOTD: Will you be running this weekend? Do you have any tips to add?

Looking for more info on runDisney races? be sure to check out their website for more information!

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap 2018

When I ran last year’s runDisney Star Wars half marathon, I had no idea I would be running again this year. Thanks to the generosity of Raw Threads, I was able to do the challenge and I had a blast! I ran both races by myself and just had fun (and yes my lack of training was disturbing) but it didn’t matter, I was in my happy place.

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

My alarm went off at 3:15, and I had no idea if it was raining or not. (Before I went to bed it was looking like it was going to be a soggy run.) I got dressed and headed out to my car, and there was no rain! I drove the easy drive over to EPCOT, and sat in my car and ate breakfast before walking over to the buses. I again went to the bathroom here as opposed to at the Magic Kingdom (DO THIS. Lines were INSANE at MK parking!) I got on a bus around 4:35, and made it to the start of the race and into my corral at 5:05. I really liked not having to wait so long in the corral, and didn’t mind driving to EPCOT at all. It was all pretty relaxed!

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

Soon corral C was moving up, and I got a shout out from race announcer Rudy before the fireworks went off and we started the race. I try not to do a ton of “thinking” at the start of a half marathon because I can easily psych myself out. Mile one hits and you think “crap I have to do this 12 more times!” The first several miles were boring and dark (and smelly, running by one of the plants) with a few characters scattered about. I stopped for one, this little guy.

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

Soon  we headed into Animal Kingdom. I had a cut on one of my toes from the day before, and my band aid came off around this time and was in my sock driving me crazy. So when we got to Pandora I took my shoe and sock off, stopped to do an Instagram story, and also went to the bathroom (no rushing for me haha!)

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

I enjoy running through Animal Kingdom I think because I have run through it the fewest number of times. Something I really liked about this race that I now remember from last year are the abundance of character opposites. So. Many. Characters. As we were leaving Animal Kingdom, there were literally about 10 different photo oops, so I just got in line and started taking selfies (not posting them all because there were so many!)

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

As I was standing in line, I spotted someone familiar right in front of me. Dave! Back in the day Dave and I ran Wine and Dine half together. Maybe 2011, 2012? I Hadn’t seen him in years so it was great to catch up for a minute!runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

 

This one was kinda creepy but fun! About this time it started sprinkling on us but thankfully never turned into a full blown rain.

 

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

 

After spending about ten minutes taking photos, I decided to move on because I knew the longer I was on my feet the more it was going to hurt!runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

 

I was then back out on the road, headed towards Hollywood Studios. These couple of miles were pretty boring, but I took some sport beans, some Twizzlers from a stranger, and lots of Powerade to combat the humidity and trudged on. I made the turn into Hollywood Studios, took more photos with characters (not posting them all, again there are so many!) and knew I was getting “close” and at least the rest of the race would have interesting things to look at. runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

 

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

Almost as soon as I came in, I was out of the park and on the Boardwalk. Thankfully I had stayed enough ahead of the masses that it wasn’t bottle necked yet. I did stop for this fun photo around that time though.

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

By this time I was ready for it to be over and said I wasn’t stopping anymore (I ended up stopping for two more pictures!) I mean I couldn’t resist this guy.

Now I was in EPCOT and int he home stretch. I enjoy this part of the course because we go all the way around World Showcase like at the end of the full marathon.

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

I stopped one last time in front of the EPCOT ball for a quick picture and then came on home. Actually, there was one more stop right before the final turn. I just couldn’t run by when there were no lines haha! I videoed the finish for Instagram as I ran through, and I finished around 2:45. I got my half medal and challenge medal, and headed to the car. No photo taking this time, I wanted to get off my feet and out of my soaking wet clothes.

runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Race Recap

Yes it was humid, yes it was hard being untrained, but I had so much fun and am so glad I decided to run. runDisney will always hold a special place in my heart, and I don’t see myself turning down any of those races anytime soon!

Tips for Running a runDisney Race

I have gotten a lot of questions from people about runDisney races over the years. Tips for getting the most out of the weekend, what to expect, when to go where, special things to note that are different from regular races. Well, I thought it was high time to compile all of my info into a blog post of tips for running a runDisney race to share with you all!

tips for running a rundisney race

 

 

Expo: Try to get to the expo the first day it is open if you are able. Merchandise can run out, especially in popular sizes, after the first day. For marathon weekend, all the Goofy merchandise was sold out by Friday afternoon, and the expo had a line to even get into the building!

tips for running a rundisney race


Waivers: A couple weeks before the race, waivers will become available online and you will be able to see what corral you are in for the half and full marathon. Feel free to print it out in advance, but there will be printers at the expo you can use if you forget. Remember, you have to PERSONALLY pick up your own bib and show a photo ID.

Characters: There are plenty of characters along the course, especially within the parks. Have your phone or camera out and ready to hand to the cast member, and give them any instructions you want to give. They aren’t all “great” at photo taking, I had to tell the to tap the screen to focus the picture after getting a few blurry ones. Bummer. There will also be professional photopass photographers on the course and at some of the character stops, so be sure your bib is visible to the camera when they are taking your photo. If you purchase Memory Maker or if you are a gold or higher annual passholder (for FL residents) you get all the photos for free! Huge perk in my opinion!

tips for running a rundisney race

Fueling: There are PLENTY of aid stations and I have never brought my own water bottle. There was water and Powerade available about every 1.5 miles. I do bring my own fuel/gel minus one for the half and two for the full (there is one clif shots or sport bean stop during the half, and two during the full). If you aren’t used to taking these products, be sure to bring your own or practice with them before the race. These are the ones I take and love. They taste like vanilla frosting!

Hotels: Be sure to stay at a host hotel on property (or at Hilton Bonnet Creek, they have half and full marathon transportation) for the least amount of stress come race morning.  Not only will you be surrounded by other runners, but it is the only way to have official race and expo transportation, which is important when you don’t have a car!

*Bonnet Creek note. While they do NOT have a bus for the 5k or 10k, I drove myself to these races and there was no traffic in the morning, and it was super easy. You could also Uber for very cheap as it’s less than a 10 min drive.

tips for running a rundisney race

Transportation: There are buses outside of the host resorts to take you to the expo and the race and back if you stay on property. Typically there are big signs out front of the resorts directing you to race transportation pick up. If you aren’t sure be sure to check with the front desk at your hotel. After the race, there are buses near the family reunion area to take you back to your resort, just look for the signs so you know which line to get into. Keep in mind the time when you decide to get on a bus. There is a LONG walk from the family reunion area to the corrals for marathon weekend (half and full) and Princess weekend (half), and it is a slow walk full of people, so allow yourself even more time than you think you would ever need. Trust me on this one!

Sweepers: You have to keep a 16:00 per mile pace or you will be swept off the course. They have busses at certain cut off points to transport those who cannot maintain pace. Keep in mind Disney doesn’t start the timer as far as SWEEPERS go until everyone crosses the start line, so you have a bit of a head start as long as you aren’t the last one to start. Try to get to the front of your corral to have more time.

tips for running a rundisney race

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weather: You can’t control the weather, neither can Disney. I have run in Disney in weather in the 20’s and in the upper 70’s. Be prepared when you pack for ALL weather situations, they can quickly change. A garbage bag is a good alternative to a poncho, and remember that if you throw off old sweatshirts, etc. Disney picks them all up and gives them to charity. runDisney has had to cancel a race before due to lightning, so just make sure you pay attention as they will make announcements for these types of situations on social media.

RELATED: I love this jacket for running!

tips for running a rundisney race

Finish line/family reunion area: After you cross the finish line and get your medal, Disney will give you water, Powerade, and a little box of snacks. Then you can take photos, get your bag at gear check pickup, and meet your family in the family reunion area. There are big signs with letters on them so plan a meeting spot to meet up with friends and family after you finish the race otherwise you may be wandering around for awhile because cell reception is horrible with so many people in one place.

Training: There are training programs on the runDisney website to help you get ready for your big race day!

Gear check: Disney gives you a big clear bag when you get your race shirt, and there is a sticker with numbers on it, you put it on the front of your bag (or they will give you a sticker race morning, depending on the race) and this makes it your gear check bag (be sure to tie a knot in the top of the bag so your stuff doesn’t fall out!) I pack my Magic Band for walking back through EPCOT to our hotel if I feel like it and am staying in the EPCOT resort area, my license and keys if driving, flip flops, a jacket, a towel, and my hotel room key if staying off property.

Corrals/proof of time: You are put into a corral based on your proof of time from a 10k race or longer. If you have no proof of time, you will be put towards the back. Be sure to put an accurate proof of time, runDisney checks them and puts you into a corral accordingly. There IS a cut off date for proof of time! The volunteers DO check corrals and have flashlights to read your bib to make sure you are going into the right ones.

tips for running a rundisney race

Bathrooms: There are plenty of port-o-potties at the start, but there will still be lines so arrive early. There are some at the family reunion area but we usually skip these and use the ones right before you get into the corrals, they usually have shorter lines. There are also potties all along the course, but we usually try to wait and use the “real” bathrooms in the parks. There are some you run right by in Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom, as well as in Frontierland. When running the full we have stopped at the ones at the Ticket and Transportation center as well, and you run right by some in Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.

 

tips for running a rundisney race

Family fun run/5k: The 5k is typically the day before the 10k, early in the morning. It is a fun run, but you still get a shirt, bib, and medal. There are characters along the course, and it’s a fun relaxing way to get a taste for runDisney racing. The 5k typically doesn’t fill up as fast as the half marathon. No strollers allowed.

tips for running a rundisney race

Kids races: The littlest runners can take part in runDisney races too! There are kids races at the Wide World of sports (think diaper dash and kids one mile run). These typically take place Friday and Saturday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. Kids get a shirt and a medal. Emma Kate has done 2 and loves it!

tips for running a rundisney race

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spectating: Have a plan! Disney has info for spectators on their website. The chEAR squad packages are nice, but not necessary to see someone at the finish. I know a lot of spectators that catch their runners at multiple points during the races, relying on Disney transportation to get them around and the monorail to the finish line.

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I also have some personal tips….

-Have FUN! runDisney races are great for running with friends and family Don’t take yourself too seriously!

-Take lots of photos! Where else do you get to run through a castle and get character photos in your running gear? Enjoy the cool things you don’t get to do at other races

-Be prepared. All right boy scouts, always be prepared for any situation. Don’t forget things like chapstick, tissues, layers to keep warm, sunscreen, and your camera.

-Wear your medal around the parks after the race, be proud! Other runners will be doing the same.

-Bring extra safety pins in case there aren’t any or enough in your bag or you lose them (guilty).

-If you are wearing a costume practice in it beforehand to make sure it doesn’t rub or chafe. I use body glide especially when wearing costumes!

-Need packing advice? Check out my “packing for a runDisney race” vlog to make sure you have everything you need!

-Check out the runDisney website and Facebook page, they are always updating them with great info and photos to get you pumped up!

-Check out my runDisney page for lots of tips and race recaps from past races!

QOTD: What are your best tips for running a runDisney race I have left off?

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