/ Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

by Joe Kolinsky

After I finished the 2012 Walt Disney World Marathon I waddled very slowly back through Epcot, around the Boardwalk to my room at the Beach Club. I was one gigantic ache. Nothing and I mean nothing about me felt good physically. There was one thing that offset the pain, and that was the mental victory I earned. It wasn’t pretty, but I finished 26.2 miles with hardly any sleep, very little fuel in my tank and a complete lack of preparation. I knew that my lack of careful planning was evidence of the clear fact that I have a ton to learn.

So here are some quick takeaways for those of you that are planning to run the Walt Disney World Marathon in the future:

1) Time your sleep properly. I know that sounds simple … but with this marathon, it’s not. And here’s why: buses begin to run from the Disney resorts at 3am to bring runners to the starting line. This means that alarm clocks are ringing all over on-property resorts beginning at around 2am. Nope- that’s not a typo. 2a.m. That means, in order to get a decent account of sleep, you need to hit the hay by 7pm. At the latest. AT WALT DISNEY WORLD. How hard it THAT??? I mean COME ON!! Extra magic hours, Illuminations, fireworks, Fantasmic tons of reasons to stay up late and stay on your feet. Somehow, you have to resist the temptation to ride Space Mountain at 10pm.

2)Time your meals properly. I know another easy thing to do or so it seems. Trying to get to bed by 7pm on a Saturday evening at Walt Disney World is difficult enough. Buttryeatingdinner at 4-5pm the evening (or late afternoon?) before race day. Oy. But 4-5pm for dinner is about the right timing to follow in order to be able to get a good night’s sleep and ready to go at 3am. Oy. I called Dominos at 8pm and the rest is history.

3)Have an actual game plan for race day. Let me clarify: have an actual game plan that is more than just make sure my iPhone is fully charged so that I can take pictures all morning. Tried that game plan, and it for a lack of a better term stunk. Review the course map before race day and picture yourself running it. Establish goals or targets in your head that you will run to. Prepare yourself mentally for the 26.2 mile stress test.

Have a game plan. Get to sleep on time. Time your meals properly. Three tiny recommendations to help you succeed during your attempt at the most magical 26.2 you’ll ever run. Until next time! Make sure you double-knot your shoe laces, get out there and get moving!

A self-proclaimed Disney nerd, Joe Kolinsky also is a running enthusiast. He has completed over 10 marathonsand run5 Disney races (including the 2009 Goofy Challenge). When he is not running or dreaming of his next Disney vacation, Joespends his spare time being a Dad and writing. (You can follow his writings in his blog, entitled €œBuilt for Comfort, Not Speed at http://backofthepacker.wordpress.com/)



1 thought on “Running Disney: The Aftermath”

  1. Happy says:

    So sorry to hear you had the “Bad Day” we all fear during the WDW Marathon, Joe!

    If I might add some modifications to help you with your “12 (marathons for the Dream Team) in 12” goal:

    Plans – Have more than ONE plan for your endurance event. You won’t have any idea what your body is going to allow you to do, what the weather might throw at you, etc. until you get past the Start Line. I have at least a dozen Run/Walk workouts on my Garmin, and I have swapped them during events due to circumstances (upset tummy, snow/ice on the ground [at Disney World 2010], twisting an ankle on Main Street USA). The more you are ready to alter your plan, the less stress you’ll have.

    Sleep – I never count on sleeping much the night before an endurance event. The worrying, wondering, weather, etc. can make it almost impossible to get some “ZZZzzzzzz”s the night before. Because of this, I try to make sure I get a bit more sleep during the entire week leading up to the “night before”.

    Meal Timing – I agree that an earlier dinner is almost required, but I would add one other thing –> (almost) constant hydration during the three days prior to your endurance event. You should be sipping on water and/or your intended-for-event Sports Drink all of your waking hours during the days leading up to your event. Please note that I did not say “chug 3 gallons of Sports Drink for a week”…I said “sipping”…64 – 80 oz per day. Oh, and avoid alcohol in the days leading up to your event. It will dehydrate you (as will getting too much caffeine).