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Preparing for Marathon Weekend

Friday, January 04, 2013

With a new year come new opportunities.  Health and fitness have been a top priority for me over the past 3 years.  As crazy as it seems it’s taken me this long to run in one of the Disney World Marathon Weekend events.  This year I’ll be tackling the 5k and half marathon.  I’ve run in other runDisney events, but never one on Marathon Weekend. 

My preparation for Marathon weekend feels similar to the other runDisney events.  Although I’m not sure what to expect next weekend, I kind of feel the race weekend will take on a similar feel to previous Disney World race weekends.  I do expect the Marathon weekend to be on a grander scale with a bigger Fitness Expo and better race festivities.  After all, this is the “grand daddy” of runDisney races. 

Even though I have experience racing in runDisney events I’ve still been doing some planning.  I’ve been listening to the new ‘Mickey Miles Podcast’, reading other blogs, and looking through the runDisney website.  Probably my biggest concern is how to handle the 24 hours leading up to the 5k and half marathon.  Arriving at Disney Word is exciting and my routine is to hit the parks hard right off the bat.  But, this time I can’t really hit it hard.  The business at hand is to run 2 races.  Saving my legs for the 16.2 miles ahead is crucial.  Discipline is the key to a successful race weekend. 

Also, when I typically arrive at Disney World food is a top priority.  Indulging in the foods I’ve missed moves to the forefront of my mind.  Again, with the races in the days ahead eating the right food will be critical.  Eating a lot of simple sugars or heavy meals is not something that will encourage strong runs.  Finding and enjoying the right foods is something I hope can be accomplished prior to the start of the races. 

Another thought on my mind is weather.  January can be a “wild-card” month in Orlando.  Temps can range anywhere from the 30’s to 80’s.  For a runner that temperature range can boggle your mind.   What to wear, how to pace yourself, how to hydrate, etc, etc.  The biggest consideration is what to pack.  It’s not like this race is right down the street.  It’s in another state where my only shelter is a resort hotel room.  Needless to say I’ll be keeping a close eye on my weather.com app on my IPhone to see what I need to pack the closer we get to Marathon Weekend.

Finally, and this is probably the best part of the weekend, supporting our fellow friends and runners.  I’m part of two different running teams; Team Studios Central (runners who follow this website) and my local gym here in Central Indiana.  Not only will running these races bring a lot of joy and happiness to our lives, but seeing our friends and teammates conquer their goals will be just as inspiring.  Both achieving our goals and watching others achieve theirs is a strong combination for future motivation and inspiration.  It keeps us going when the daily grind seems overwhelming. 

If you are a spectator during Marathon Weekend or just visiting the Disney World resort be prepared for early morning street closures and altered park hours. It always seems guests are unprepared for the schedule changes and road closures when they visit during Marathon Weekend.  It can be extremely frustrating when you can’t get to your destination at the time you wanted to arrive.    

As runners prepare to toe the line during Marathon Weekend (Jan 10th – 13th) these are the items where I’m trying to focus my attention.  There are other factors to consider, but like most runners you have to focus on the biggest potential concerns, especially when you are a novice or recreational runner. 

We are always looking for different and special things to do at Walt Disney World.  The upcoming Marathon Weekend is just another opportunity to really experience something special and out of the ordinary around the theme park resort.  Running through the theme parks is a real treat I hope everyone gets to experience in their lifetime.  I hope to see you in the parks, resort hotels, or on the road during Marathon Weekend.

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About this column

Aaron DelPrince looks at the various activities you and your family can experience at Walt Disney World


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