The runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side is almost here. Thousands of Star Wars fans and runners will head to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida for a weekend full of races, fitness, and fandom. I’ll be running the Star Wars 5K, 10K, and Half-Marathon at my third runDisney Star Wars event, so I’m here to share my top five preparation tips with you.
This is obvious, because you’ve probably been training for a while now. More importantly, train with purpose in these final days. As race day approaches, you want to have fresh legs. If you follow the Jeff Galloway training plan available at runDisney.com, you’ll do a shorter distance run the weekend before the races. Personally, I focus on proper stretching in the weeks and days leading up to the event. I need to be flexible to run all those miles in just three days!
2. Leave space in your suitcase
Like me, many of you are traveling to attend the race. Not only will you need clothes to wear when you arrive in Florida, but you need enough workout gear to run your events. If you are running the 5K and Dark Side Challenge, you need enough gear for three different races. All of that stuff adds up. Don’t make the mistake I made on my first runDisney event and forget to leave extra space. While I managed to cram everything in for the journey to the race, I forgot about all of the gear I would collect at the event itself. I got a new shirt for each of the races, medals for completing them, and purchased merchandise at the expo. I could barely fit it all in for the return trip! Leave yourself some extra room for all of those new treasures.
Not everyone at a runDisney race dresses up, but many do. If you want to run the race in style, don’t wait until the last minute. I recommend testing your outfit before you run the first time; no one wants to run a half marathon in uncomfortable gear. Also, don’t forget to brush up on the costume and safety policy.
4. Make a Plan for the Whole Weekend
Running is a huge part of any runDisney Star Wars weekend, but that’s not the only thing you’ll be doing. In fact, you’ll probably be done running before most people wake up! Early races mean you have the whole day to explore and enjoy the Walt Disney World Resort. I try to spend as much time in the parks as possible, making sure to have a high-protein meal at one of the resort restaurants. No matter where you go, be sure to stay hydrated!
Even though they might not be running, your family and friends in attendance should have a plan, too. If they are viewing the race, I recommend determining their viewing location in advance. Pick a spot on the course or a landmark you can remember. That way you can focus on running instead of scanning the crowds. Also, be sure to pre-plan a meeting place to see them after the race.
I hope to see many of you at the event April 14-17. One of the best places to find me is at the Health and Fitness Expo speaker series. I’ll be there with Matt Martin of the Lucasfilm Story Group on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, giving you an exclusive look into the Star Wars universe from a runner’s point of view. If you are there, please let us know you read StarWars.com!
Cole Horton is a full-time Star Wars fan, historian, and author. He is the co-author of Star Wars Absolutely Everything You Need to Know and also makes games at EA. You can follow him on Twitter @ColeHorton.