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My first Run Disney event was in November of 2015. I kick myself every day for not doing it sooner. I was a little nervous when I did my first Disney Half Marathon, because it was also my first half marathon. EVER. Going with the flow was my only option, and of course it all worked out. If there had been more information out there for beginners like me I feel like I would have felt more comfortable going in.
Since the annual Wine and Dine half marathon is coming up quick I started a list of all the items I felt were on my must pack list. If you don’t have all your essentials there is no better time to get prepared. Keep in mind that any items that you might forget may not be as easy to replace once you arrive at the Walt Disney World Resort.
We have managed to round up some of our Run Disney half marathon must haves. All of these items can help your next Run Disney event go smooth.
Ultimately, if you run any amount you will want to invest in some sort of fitness tracker or smartwatch. I personally, am a FitBit person, only because I prefer to track my gps and miles on my Nike Run app. I use the FitBit HR Charge to track my overall distance for the day as well as my heart rate. The FitBit can also be worn on non race days as well to track my fitness level.
Garmin is a good option for distance runners. It allows you to track your runs along with times and splits. One of the benefits of having a Garmin during a RunDisney event is that you can set it to alarm you if you fall below to 16 minute mile pace. A 16 minute mile is what you need to maintain to prevent from getting swept from the race.
An Apple watch is top of the line as far as fitness trackers go. You can track your time, location and other fitness stats using various apps. This includes my favorite Nike Run application. The Apple watch does everything the Garmin and FitBit can do plus more. Deciding which fitness tracker for you will depend on what features you prefer. We do suggest that one should be at the top of your list of must haves.
When I first looked at running belts, I thought there was no way I could finish a half marathon with that around my waist. I was quite pleased to find that it wasn’t nearly as bulky as the regular fanny packs I was wearing in regular life. I invested in the Fitletic Hydration Belt. Not only does it hold my phone charger, and snacks along the race route, you can also attach water bottles to keep yourself hydrated.
I also like the fact that there is a secret pocket. This is where I carry more important items, like my ID and Annual passholder card for the after party. The toggles on the bottom hold your race number and keeps those pesky safety pins from ruining your clothes. The FlipBelt is another comfortable band to hold all your necessities during long races. I do find that it doesn’t carry as well with bulky items such as gels and snack bars.
A lipstick size charger is a must for me anywhere at Disney. I always have a fully charged Anker usb charger paired with a retractable cord nearby. Having a lipstick charger insures that you will always be able to take selfies with the exclusive characters along the route. I tend to use my phone to track my run on my Nike Run app so the gps location system also tends to use more than the normal amount of battery. This tiny charger is perfect because it can fit into your back pack during park days and I barely notice the space it takes up in my running belt. This is definitely an item I would run back to my room for if I forgot it.
I bet you knew I was going to say those already right? No matter which running shoe you chose to go with make sure on race day you have a pair that is well broken in. About 50 miles is a good amount to have. There is nothing worse than thinking that you have a comfortable shoe and realizing two miles in that you were wrong. If you do decide to wear a new pair make sure that it is the same kind and style that you usually wear. As tempting as it will be to buy Disney themed New Balance shoes at the expo and wear them for the race, we definitely suggest you save them until you get home.
Snacks and Gels
There are all kinds of snacks and gels on the market these days. They can help fuel you through those last few miles and a lot of people even suggest taking them before your race. Huma Chia Gel and GU are two of our favorites. They both have a variety of flavors to choose from and keep us from getting bored. Throw a few of these into your hydration belt and take off. They are slim and take up very little space, which is another plus compared to other options on the market.
Unless you are some sort of magic being then you are most likely going to sweat the entirety of the race. Grabbing a moisture wicking material is going to be very important. The fun part of headbands is not only are they functional, but you can also find one to match your race outfit. Our favorites include the Elan Workout headband and pretty much anything from Sweaty Bands. Sweaty Bands is one of the best choices for color options. Grab one of their sparkle bands and channel your inner Disney Princess.
Compression socks can be your best friend during a long run. Be sure to choose a pair made from breathable fabric. Compression socks keep your feet insulated and warm, and can even help aid your recovery time. These snug-fitting, knee-high socks are meant to increase circulation and reduce lactic acid build-up. Some runners wear compression socks while training and racing, others use them after the run. These are also another fun article of clothing that you can coordinate with your race costume.
What are some must have items that are in your bag for Run Disney events?