Walt Disney World’s Marathon Weekend

Friday, January 06, 2012

Happy New Year to everyone and welcome to 2012!  It’s that time again when we change our calendars to a new year and look for new hope in the upcoming year.  Many of us will resolve to eat healthier, become more active, and set goals around our overall physical appearance.  It’s certainly the trendy thing to do at the beginning of the year.  Right off the bat we are met with the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.  Unfortunately, many of us won’t have the chance to make their New Year’s resolution and jump right into the Disney marathon, half marathon, or the other Disney related races around this weekend’s events.  Just keep in mind if one of your goals is to run a Disney race in 2012 there are several to choose from throughout the year.  The one thing I tell everyone who asks me about running a long race is you can do it.  Don’t get discouraged or don’t let it intimidate you.  This includes Disney races. 

If you’ve never run a Disney race or even watched one before it is a great experience.  Running through 1, 2, 3, or all 4 of Disney’s theme parks is a real treat.  If one of your goals for 2012 is to run a half marathon or 5k consider doing it at Disney World.  If you love the theme parks it’s a great incentive to get in shape and prepare for a race.  I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful it is to run down Hollywood Blvd at Hollywood Studios, or up Main St. USA at the Magic Kingdom, or even around Discovery Island at the Animal Kingdom at night.  As you run through the theme parks you kind of forget how tired you are and you get a sudden burst of energy or endurance as you pass by some of Disney World’s major attractions. 

The popularity of the Run Disney events at Disney’s theme parks has greatly increased over the years.  Case in point tens of thousands of runners converge on Walt Disney World this weekend to participate in its annual Marathon Weekend which includes a 5k, half marathon, marathon relay, and full marathon.  As I’ve said before if you think you can’t participate in these events you should think twice.  It all starts with one small step and typically that first step is walking a 5k or just a 1 mile race.  The sense of accomplishment you feel when you cross your first finish line carries over and builds momentum into entering another race; maybe even a longer race like a 10k or half marathon. 

The best way to begin running is to start small.  Like I was saying a 1 mile race or 5k (3.1 miles) is a perfect first step.  There are even smart phone apps that can help you train for a shorter race.  One app that is very popular is the “Couch to 5k Workout” app.  This app guides you from leaving your couch and “wogging” (walking and jogging) 3.1 miles.  There are also other apps similar that guide you to further distances like “Couch to 5k to 10k Workout”, etc.  These apps are typically $1.99 in the app store, but sometimes go on sale for .99 cents. 

Another great way to prepare for a short race is to join a local gym and get yourself on a weekly workout routine.  Your routine can include many of the cardio machines available to you plus incorporate light weightlifting along the way.  As you continue on a weekly cardio routine you’ll be amazed what a difference it will make in how far you can walk or jog.  Stretching your cardio capability through other ways besides running is just as good as running itself.  The main idea is to get moving to prepare yourself for a short race. 

I should preface all of this by saying if you’ve never run before a mile is longer than you think. 

One aspect of running you need to prepare for is the length of a mile.  Running is a mental test as much as is it a physical test.  Understanding the length of a mile is important because if you perceive it to be shorter it will wear on your mind and sort of discourage you as you move through a race.  Chances are the first time you run a race making it to that first mile marker will seem like a long way, but as you continue you’ll begin to understand what it takes to conquer a mile.  As you continue to run more races you’ll overcome the mental aspect of running a mile.  Just don’t get discouraged because it does get easier the more you run, jog, or walk. 

I’m certainly not an expert runner.  In fact, I've been known to trip over my own feet while jogging, but what I’ve come to love is the feeling of accomplishment when crossing the finish line.  Just remember to start small, build confidence and endurance, and you’ll be well on your way to running your first Disney race.  As you cross your first finish line wear your medal proudly because it is an accomplishment.  Like I’ve said before “you can do it!”  Don’t be afraid to take that first step to your first Disney race.  It’s a great experience and well worth the effort that goes into it. 

I hope to see you at one of the many Disney races in 2012, or the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.  Studioscentral.com would like to wish all of the runners participating in this weekend’s Disney World races the best of luck.

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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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