The Final Countdown To Disneyland® Half Marathon
At the risk of sounding like a cheesy soundtrack, this is it: the final countdown. You’ve done the work, and now you’re in taper mode, if you’re doing Disneyland® Half Marathon. You want to optimize your race experience by treating your well-trained body properly in the hours leading up to the start. Here are a few self-care rules of race prep:
2 Days, Pre-Race
- Stay hydrated: keep a water bottle at your desk and in your car and sip it regularly.
- Eat some salty snacks, like pretzels or saltines, to help your body hold onto more water.
- Carbs are what your muscles use for fuel, so you want to fill them up. Now is not the time to fret about calories. Now is the time, though, to cut down on fiber. We love green vegetables and black beans and the like, but they can, um, backfire during a race.
- Aim to get some solid shut-eye, especially two nights before the race. Studies have shown that is the night that can affect performance, not the night right before the race. So don’t fret if you toss and turn in the hours leading up to your (super-early!) race-day alarm.
Day Before the Starting Line
- Do a short run—2-3 miles, max—to get your ya-ya’s out. Plus, it’ll keep your legs fresh and remind you of how fit and ready you are. Doing a set of 4-6 strides—spurts where you gradually pick up the pace for 20 seconds or so—will keep some pep in your step.
- Continue drinking plenty of caffeine-free liquids—water, decaf tea, milk, sports drinks.
- Try to kick back—lounge by the pool, read a magazine, watch a DVD. Resist the urge to tour the Disney Parks all day with your family or friends. If nothing else, put your feet up for a few hours in the afternoon.
- Eat a carbohydrate-packed dinner on the early side…but don’t eat until you’re stuffed. Eating a massive plate of pasta is going to drag you down, not fuel your engines.
Early Morning on Race Day
- Eat something before you race. You can get through a 5K, and possibly a 10K, on an empty stomach, but unless you have an incredibly sensitive stomach, you need to ingest some calories before going 13.1 miles. A half of a bagel, a sports drink, a handful of cereal…whatever you can stomach.
- Keep sipping water or a sports drink as you get ready to head to your corral. Sure, it’s a drag to have to hit the port-a-potties before (or during) the race, but it’s better than grinding to a halt because you are dehydrated.
- Once the race goes off, practice your nutrition and hydration plan as you’ve done during training. Don’t try anything new—wacky flavors or a product you picked up at the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo—on race day, especially if you have a sensitive stomach.
Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell are the authors of Another Mother Runner and official contributors to runDisney.