To enjoy your race weekend, there are certain things to do before and after you arrive in Orlando for the big event! We are sharing our tips based on personal experience and hope this will help you as you prepare for your last week of training.
Training: If you have followed a training plan, continue that until race weekend. While your longest runs are in the rear view mirror, there is still time to get in several quality runs before you take on 48.6 miles in four days. Take plenty of time to stretch and roll after each run. Taper is really important and be sure to put those feet up as frequently as possible.
Hydration and Fueling: Before you leave for Disney, start hydrating really well the week before the race (s). Bring a water bottle so you are hydrating and keep track of your fluid intake. I usually drink my weight in ounces each day during race week, as per guidance from my coach. This includes water, Gatorade and Nuun. Now is the time to get into gear with healthy eating if that is not your normal diet. I have a deep weakness for ice cream, but forgo it when I have a really big race coming up. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine is also not a bad plan. During race week, salting your food is also helpful, especially if the Orlando weather forecast is hot for race weekend. My coach takes salt pills during her Ironman races and that is another option during your races, but only if you have taken them in training. Nothing new on race day ever!
Visiting the Parks, yea or nay: Plan to skip park visits after the Donald Half Marathon so you have energy for the Mickey Marathon. While we chose to visit Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios after our first two days of races, we did not open and close the parks! Pack your water bottle in your day bag so you can refill it frequently in between rides and shows at the parks.
Entertainment or how to keep occupied between races: Your resort pool is a great place to relax, providing you stay out of the hot Florida sunshine. I have spent several hours during my Goofy and Dopey Challenge weekends enjoying the pool after my half marathon. If you are staying at the Polynesian, you can even fuel up with a Dole Whip at the Polynesian Lanai restaurant! Downtown Disney is a fabulous option after the half marathon. It will give you a break from your hotel room and there are some things to do there that will not zap your energy. An AMC movie theater with 24 screens, the bowling alley at Splitsville Luxury Lanes or a nice meal at a restaurant away from your hotel will help you fill the remainder of the day after running the Donald Half Marathon.
Sleep: The last and most important suggestion/tip involves a bed and sleeping. Do not assume you will be racing on full energy by days three and four. Unless you have the ability to fall asleep like a baby at 7:30pm, you will not be getting your normal sleep. Early mornings with a wake up call at 3:00am on consecutive days will cause sleep deprivation in most individuals. Consistently we heard from runners who completed Dopey that the lack of sleep was the most difficult aspect of the challenge. Getting extra rest prior to the weekend will be very helpful and you are welcome for that tip!
If you would like to read individual race recaps from 2014 or our overall thoughts on Dopey, clink on the links below.
Race Recap: WDW Family Fun Run 5k
Race Recap: Inaugural Minnie 10k
Race Recap: Donald Half Marathon
Marathon Recap, Pam's Version
We will have one more post before this week that will include more race weekend information. If you have questions that you would like answered in that post, please fire away in the comment section below!