What I pack for Run Disney

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Hey guys!

First of all, I want to thank my good friend Krystal for being the inspiration behind this post, I hope you find it useful!

Packing for any holiday can be stressful, I like to think after so many Disney trips I'm pretty confident with what to pack for a few days in the parks, but Run Disney isn't like a normal Disney trip and the last 2 years have shown me there are a few things you'll want to have with you. So here is my guide for packing for a Run Disney trip, these are things I've worked out I need or have been useful to me over my last 2 race weekends.

Now I'm not going to teach you to suck eggs here, standard things like clothing, toiletries, medication and travel documents are pretty obvious I would have thought, so please don't forget any of these!

The first thing is your trainers, like the tires on a car these guys are pretty darn important. Personally, I recommend getting properly fitted for running shoes, part of the reason I'm posting this now is so that if you haven't already thought about these things, there is still a little time to do so. Any good running store should be able to offer a shoe fitting service for you, and I could not recommend it enough. Typically this will involve you walking/jogging/running on a treadmill in the store while the staff film your feet, it's not quite as weird as it sounds as after a few mins they will get you to stop and watch back the footage with them. When they do this they slow down the footage so they can show you exactly how your feet are moving and how you strike the floor when you run, from here they can advise you on the best type of shoe to improve your running and help you avoid injury! My local running store charges £10 for this service, but they knock this off the cost of any trainers you buy at the same time, even if I decided not to get shoes there and then it's a price I'd be more than happy to pay in exchange for the tailored knowledge and advice.

Anyway, once you have your shoes and you've worn them in over a few weeks the last thing you want to be doing is having the stress and hassle of having to buy a new pair if yours are forgotten, races in brand new shoes are beyond painful and that's without a park day on top! I would always advise either wearing your running shoes while you travel, or having them in hand luggage, that way if anything should happen to the rest of your luggage you still have them!

Next is your race outfits, whether you decide to run in costume or not I like to be prepared and know roughly what I'm wearing for each race day before that morning, my biggest tip here is to road test anything you plan on wearing if it's not part of your usual training attire. Of course, it seems like a great idea to run around the park with giant fairy wings, a tiara or a full Ursula costume complete with tentacles, and yes it is a great idea to get as involved in all the fun as possible, with an exception. Running is hard, running a half marathon is harder, and running a half marathon on a busy race course and possibly after having completed other races the previous days is even harder! Running in anything you're not prepared for just adds a whole new difficulty layer to the situation, and frankly, no one really wants that! Yes, you might look a little odd running around your neighbourhood complete with full Tinkerbell costume, but I promise you, when it comes to race day and you know what to expect, the funny looks from Shelia and her dog from next door will have been so worth it!

Let's talk about supplements next, I actually don't personally run with any extra supplements, I've never used sports gels, I don't really on any particular brand of hydration and truth be told I don't even currently carry water with me when I run! But I can appreciate I'm very much in the minority here and as I've said on every point I've made already, the best race day advice is not to change anything. That said if you're travelling a long distance for this race, or for many people, abroad to race, the chances are you may not be able to source the same supplements you rely on at home. From experience, once you're on the course Disney provide water, Powerade, cereal bars and apple slices along the route at various points. Personally, this is more than enough for me, but I certainly heard a lot of other runners commenting that this wasn't what they had expected or what they were used to. Have a think about what you need to get by and make sure you're able to carry them on whatever transport you're taking. With flights, you'll need to consider liquid allowances if you only have hand luggage, whereas with self-drive and Eurostar you're free to take a lot more.

The next thing is probably useful on all trips not just trips for a run weekend, but runners can often end up with a lot of tech, chances are you're running with your phone or another device for music, you may well also be using some kind of wearable tracking device to show you things like your pace, time and heart rate, so it's time to consider charging! Now on site, Disney hotels are getting better at providing not only a good number of charging ports but also a mix of UK and EU sockets within their rooms, off property, however, can be more of a mixed bag. I have 2 options for possible solutions for you, the first and most simple is to carry your own extension lead with a plug adaptor on the end. This is what I have previously done, I have a 4 way extension lead on a short cable and this is perfect as it means I can charge up to 4 different devices at any one time and only require 1 socket in the room and 1 plug adaptor, for the most part, this works great but in some hotels I have found the power goes off during the night when using a UK plug with a converter, in particular, I had this issue in the Sequoia Lodge. A workaround for this is a new plug I have recently purchased from Amazon, I picked up this Anker 4 port USB plug with interchangeable adapters for UK and EU, this means I don't need any additional converter and can plug it straight into a UK or EU socket from the box and charge up to 4 devices, this also appears to circumvent the issue of the power failing overnight.

An important thing  I wanted to cover was race recovery, part of the challenge of the Run Disney weekends is that you're often running a number of races in quick succession, add on top time spend in the parks and your feet and legs are pretty much guaranteed to take a pounding, you're going to need to be able to recover quickly. Now the health and fitness expo put on by Disney themselves does have some options when it comes to recovery, last year I was able to get a short sports massage free of charge, and it really made a huge difference, but other than that I don't remember there being a huge amount else on offer. Simply put, the best way is to rely on your own provisions, and anything extra is a bonus! A lot of what you can take will be down to how you're travelling and what your luggage limits are, keeping it light the first thing I swear by is KT tape. If you've never used this before its a sports tape that aids muscle recovery by creating extra room for sore or injured tissues to help them recover, I find it really useful and on a race weekend especially when recovery time is so limited it's a must-pack! I use a brand called Rock Tape, pictured below, but this is just a personal preference and there are quite a few brands out there you can try until you find one that suits.

The next thing is bath salts, now this one is new to me and it'll be the first time I've personally packed or used them, again this is all about giving sore muscles the best chance to recover between races. In my experience, all on-site Disney hotels provide a bath with an overhead shower so taking some bath salts means you can sit and soak in the evenings. I'm told by fellow runners that this works wonders on tired legs, so I'm giving it a try for myself this year! Depending on how much room you have and how you're travelling you may want to also think about things like a foam roller or resistance bands to help you stretch off after the races.

Medication is handled a little bit differently in France than what I am personally used to in the UK and you will soon find that even the most basic Painkillers aren't sold in the hotels or resorts, because of this I tend to create my own mini "first aid" style kit complete with painkillers and plasters to save me having to take a trip to an off-site pharmacy, it may also be worth stocking up on basic cold and flu treatments etc if you are travelling a long way.

One last thing is post-race snacks, depending where you're travelling from, snack options in Disneyland may not be what you're used to, so if you have a must-have treat it might be a good idea to bring it with you, last year I took extra sports drinks to have after each race, but you can also consider things like porridge pots and snack bars.

Hopefully this has given you a good insight into what you may wish to bring with you to have a happy and hopefully stress free race weekend! If there's something you swear by that I haven't covered, drop me a comment and we'll get it added to the list!

Hoodsie xx


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