Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tuesday Tips - DIStherapy

Tuesday Tips - DIStherapy
Today on Disney Donna Kay I am pleased to have D from DIStherapy here with tips for new runners training for Disney Runs. D's blog is a wonderful read, make sure you stop by, you will be glad you did.


Are you like me?  Does the mention of a "race" conjure up images of sleek and fit figures dashing along at lightening speeds in their skin-tight black outfits?  For over 30 years I've treated elite runners, and that IS how most of them appear.  Since I've never felt worthy, I never imagined that running or racing was in my future; I have an old ACL injury, and an old body to go with it!  When my teenage son asked to try the Buzz and Woody's Best Friends 5K this past January, I said yes for two reasons only:  1.  What mom worth her salt would turn down spending time with their teenager?  2.  It's Disney.  And that's exactly what the geniuses at Disney already knew.  They take "Fun Run" to another galaxy, and beyond!  (Sorry, I just couldn't resist.)  Not sold yet?  Let me share with you the highlights:

  • You run/walk/skip through one of the Disney Parks.  In our case, we ran through an empty Epcot and witnessed the sun rise over the World Showcase.  It was breathtaking.
  • Characters are positioned throughout the race for photo ops!  DURING a race!  Our friends stopped for photos every chance they could (about 10 times), waited in line when needed, and even took bathroom breaks.  DURING a race!  They were soaking up every minute.
  • It doesn't have to be pretty. The field was a cross-section of every age, body type, athletic ability and DISability that you could imagine.  We saw folks running donned in tiaras, mouse ears, full adult-sized Winnie the Pooh costumes, and everything in between.  We wore boring running gear.  I promise, that is the last time I let that happen. 

  • There was music and fireworks.  There were volunteers and cast members lining the course to cheer us on.  Runners were singing and chatting it up with each other along the way. It was a full-out party at 7:00 am!  There was a party before the party.  We bought tickets for the Pasta in the Park Party that was held in Epcot the evening before.  The event offered a buffet dinner, a DJ and dancing for hours.  We never dreamed that it was setting the tone for what was to come.

  • We got stuff; a goody bag, refreshments, an event t-shirt and a "medal". (OK, the 5K racers receive a plastic variety, but I wore it with pride nonetheless.)  Disney's Health & Fitness Expo held seminars and presented nutritional information throughout the weekend. runDisney hired professional photographers that were stationed throughout the race.  Their photos were for sale on-line, and we were so happy to have souvenirs of our "moment".
Have I lit a fire in your belly yet?  runDisney offers Full and Half Marathons (and combos of each), 5K Family Runs, the Mickey Mile for tweens and older, and Kid's Dashes (which includes the famous Diaper Dash).  Disney literally designed something for everyone; at every stage of life, families can run, have fun, and be active together.  After all, they are THE masters of family entertainment.

Where do you begin?  Of course you would check with your physician if you have a medical condition or want clearance.  Beyond that, let me offer you my Top PT Tips for beginners:
  1. Shoes   One of the reasons that running is so popular, is that there is very little start-up cost.  However, even if you want to dabble in running or walking, I suggest you invest in a new pair of running shoes, and do so at a running shoe store.  Let them know you are a "dabbler", and they will offer you a shoe that supports your body alignment.  (You know the adage, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"?  Will that applies big-time here.)  At the very worst, they can become your new Park vacation shoes!  Read more at PT Tips For Selecting Your Next Running Shoe.
     2.  Take that first step.  It is the hardest, but it’s been proven that healthy habits              
           breed other healthy habits.

     3.   Support  You will be more successful if you have a partner, girlfriend, family
            member or local running club to offer incentive.  It will help you get out of bed on 
            that first cold or rainy training day.

     4.   Program  runDisney hired former Olympian and running guru Jeff Galloway as
            their Official Training Consultant.  As a master runner, he offers much to the elite
            athlete but, in my mind, his beginner program is pure genius.  The "Run-Walk-
            Run” allows for flexible training, while warding off the injuries that over-eager
            Beginners are especially prone to.  His training system is available to all at
            the ESPN runDisney site  If you need more of Jeff's expertise, his training
            videos (complete with phone apps) can be found at the 

      5.  Stretching  Just a decade ago, it was considered best practice to instruct
            runners to perform a full stretching "routine" prior to exercise.  Unfortunately,
            research revealed that more athletes were injuring themselves by
            overstretching, and not by the actual run.  Studies show that even 3 minutes of
            relaxed walking can deliver the same increase in blood flow to the muscles,
            increasing their pliability without the risk of overdoing it. 

       6.  Slow and steady really does win the race (or in this case, training).  Listen to
             your body, rest when you need to, adjust your tempo, but keep moving.  As a
             beginner, don't worry about perfection!

 It can be that easy to start to become a runDisney fan.  If you are still not convinced, try a stroll on one of Walt Disney World's many trails. (One of my favorite sites, DisneyRunning.com, offers a full mapping of each path!)  After all, runDisney's slogan is "every mile is magic".  And so it was...

I'd like to thank my pal Donna Kay for inviting me to guest post for her new series, "Tuesday Tips With Donna Kay".  She's a fellow a new blogger, but she has shown vision ("Mentoring Mondays") and selflessness as she repeatedly opens her blog home to other Disney "writers".  She has inspired me!     :DM

Thanks so much for your wonderful advice D! Make sure you look for D on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. My wife is a runner and has done two of the Disney Half Marathons. I am most definitely not a runner, but she convinced me to do the relay with her for the Wine & Dine. So I guess I'm in training, for my whopping 4 miles:)

  2. Great post! I'm considering "rolling" the half marathon in 2013. I may bug you for some tips. :)

  3. Deej-
    I'm doing the Relay too! (Only I got talked into the 8 mile leg....) Look for Team Wooty T-shirts!! Good luck :D (If I could do it, you can too!!)

  4. Melissa, You absolutely should do it! The wheelchair participants go off first, and there was quite a large group for the 5K. Go for it!!

  5. I just started running this past january and can't wait to run my first Disney race!

  6. Thanks do much D!!! I'm definitely not a runner, but my daughter is. Your tips were great for her. Sorry I was away for the day yesterday, thanks so much for stopping by everyone. Deej, Melissa, Casey, Beth & D you are all so supportive and it is much appreciated!!

  7. Casey- Let me know when you decide, I'd love to "run" into you!!

  8. Thank you Beth, you're always a great supporter!

  9. Donna, You are the perfect hostess! I'm glad your daughter identified with it, and I'm gonna try to change YOUR mind! (Again, if I could do it...) Anyone could do a runDisney 5K!!!

  10. Congrats on your first race! Thank you for this post. I have been debating for a while now.


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