I am so very excited to once again be a part of the runDisney Virtual Blog Hop. It is hard to believe that the final runDisney race of the 2014 season is just two weeks away. With all of the training and preparations you have done for Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon over the last few months, it is finally time to starting thinking about the actual race. While most runners are well versed in morning runs, hitting the pavement at night is a whole different experience. And if you are planning on traveling that morning or hitting a park the day of the race, you will most certainly need to plan on how best to accommodate not only your nutritional/hydration needs, but also providing your body with a bit of rest before you embark on this 13.1 mile journey. I ran the inaugural Wine and Dine Half Marathon in 2010. I was 6 weeks pregnant and had never run a night race. Since then, I have learned quite a bit about gearing up for an evening run and cannot wait to utilize them in a couple of weeks. Read on for some of my best tips for pacing your day and fueling for the race.
The good news about running a night race is that you need not worry about getting out bed early the night before or waking up at the crack of dawn on race morning. The bad news is that with the race starting at a time when most folks usually turn in for the night, your body will naturally be tired. And if you are anything like me, you probably plan on hitting the parks the day of the race, which will make for exhaustion come 10pm. This is why it is important that you plan on a more relaxed day. Many opt for hanging out and relaxing at the resort pool the day of the race but if you are planning on visiting a park, you may want to think about making it a more laid back day. Planning a morning visit and heading back to your resort for the afternoon will give you your park fix and still allow time for rest before race time. Jeff Galloway suggests being off your feet by 4pm and relax until you head for the race. Taking a nap, watching a movie, or reading a book are great pre-race activities that will let your body rest up before you head to your corral. Remember, you not only want to be rested for your run, but you also want to make sure you have little energy left for the after-party 🙂
Pacing your day is not just for activities but for food and drink as well. It is important to make good food choices and to maintain hydration throughout the day. While it may be a tradition to eat a couple of Mickey Slaw Dogs and Mickey Ice Cream Bars while strolling through the Magic Kingdom, it may not be the best thing to eat on race day. Plan on eating a regular breakfast and lunch that day, making sure to avoid fried and fatty foods. Remember to also drink plenty of water throughout the day. It’s probably a good idea if you are planning a park visit, that you check out the park’s dining options so you will know the best places to eat during the day. You can find a list of restaurants at here. You can also bring bottles of water and a stash of high protein/high carb snacks with you to the parks. Don’t forget, you can also visit any quick service dining facility and ask for a cup of ice water, free of charge!
It is important that you try to keep your regular running fueling schedule as best you can. Some people find that it is best to stop eating 2-3 hours before “go” time, but I find I need to eat small carbohydrate snacks right up to the start of the race. However you fueled for your night runs during your training is the fueling schedule you should follow that night. Remember, it is never a good idea to try new foods or drinks right before a race, so stick to what your body knows!
I hope this helps you to plan out your day before you head out to the race. Remember, you’ve worked hard to get to the start line, so eat smart, hydrate often, and above all else, enjoy the run! Good luck and I’ll see you at the finish line!