Part 1: PRs at Disney – Training

It’s a glorious 3 months until the Dumbo Double Dare/Disneyland Half Marathon weekend kicks off….and I’m really starting to focus on training as I want me a new half marathon PR…and maybe a 10K PR if I can make it happen…because there is nothing I love more than running PRs at Disney….regardless of what the haters say.

Now, I have wrote about the haters before….the ones that say you aren’t running Disney right if you are running it for a PR.  Sigh.  Run the race you want to and do so in a way that doesn’t negatively impact the other runners around  you. Whether you are running “fast” or “slow,” just get your miles in and get your bling!  Nobody really cares about your time and your race except you and those who love you…and even those who love you, probably don’t understand the time thing unless they are runners.

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me and my double PR, coast to coast bling from 2013

I have run Disney with PRs in fun as goal and I’ve done Disney and I have achieved new PRs.  Both approaches have left me with very fond race memories and I don’t regret any of my runDisney race approaches….though I do regret doing as much theme park time as I did for GSC last year. Oy!  That made for some very cement feeling legs.

Admittedly, Disney races can be more difficult to PR in simply due to the volume of runners and the number of inexperienced runners.  The key is to plan ahead for this and any other possible problems before you may encounter.

Here are my training tips:

1. Pick a race day strategy and train to it.  This is key.  If you want to run a PR you need to try and replicate what is likely to happen on race day as much as possible.  One strategy I like to use is starting out a bit slower in the beginning and picking your speed up in the middle to end miles, once the crowds have thinned a bit.  Also, going slow will allow you to more effectively navigate and weave through runners.

Another strategy I have found to be effective if I opt to do intervals is to actually try to run without intervals for the first mile or so.  Again, this will allow you to get some distance between you and the crowds when the race starts.

So once you find something that works for you, train to it.  Practice it at a few local races to see how it feels.

2. Train like you are doing the challenge.  I recommend doing 3-5 back to back training days to replicate your race weekend – essentially doing a 10K one day and then a 10 plus mile run the next day.  It makes all the difference in making sure your body and mind are ready for what is ahead of you.  I would even recommend trying one or two at your race pace so you can get an idea of what you will feel like if you were to hit your goals on race day.

3. Speed work, speed work, speed work. I cannot stress this enough.  Do this regularly and consistency.  There are so many different types of speed work drills so you can’t get bored…but know this…speed work is hard….and it can be hard on your body, so don’t do it too much..I aim for one workout a week.  I like mixing up between distance repeats (be it 1/4 mile, 1/2 mile or mile repeats), pyramid or ladder runs, or hill training.  This way,  you get some variety and will be less likely to hurt yourself.

4. Cross train and then run on those tired legs.  This is a bit of a variance on tip two. Try to do some sort of physical activity before you go for your run.  Like a boot camp class or some weight training.  Yes, the run will be hard with fatigued muscles, but there are definite benefits when it comes to the mental toughness of making it through a run when fatigued.  This will be especially beneficial if you are going to be doing the parks pre-race and during the race. Oh and then there is the whole strength training/cross training benefits, too.  Almost forgot about those. 🙂

5. Schedule some 10K races during your training, if possible.  I did three 10Ks in preparation for my DDD in 2013.  I found that they were excellent in teaching me how to keep and hold pacing, esp. with race jitters and adrenaline flowing.  It also highlighted the progress I was making in my endurance, speed and mental toughness, which spurred me on to keep working harder.

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week!

~Lisa

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