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Disney Marathon Weekend

Updated: Jul 21, 2021

Race Strategy and Course Report for Disney Marathon

We are going to take this step by step, as most of my private clients are participating in a multi-race challenge like Goofy (39.3) or Dopey (48.6) and the usual racing rules won’t apply.  The name of the game is “endure” in the purest sense of the verb.  Especially if this is your first ‘stacked’ (i.e.'multi-day') racing event.  If you set aside any of your usual approaches to racing, you are guaranteed a good time.  Race day conditions are beyond your control, your attitude is not.

Disney Marathon:

High-Level Expectation-Setting

1.     These races are HUGE.  Planning to PR any of the events is a bad idea in general due to the massive number of participants. 

a. “What does that have to do with anything?” – some points will be so busy you will have no choice but to walk.  Go with it, do NOT waste precious energy dodging people. 

b. “MK, you don’t know Disney!  The streets are like real city streets!” – even in Cinderella’s Castle?  Really?  I mean, I am legit claustrophobic so maybe I remember it differently but I remember it being much narrower than 2 car widths.  There are several bottlenecks along the course.  Which is bad for 'racing' but awesome because YAY MOAR TIME IN DISNEY!

2.      *We need to consider the whole before we break each day into parts: you can expect to be on your feet A LOT. 

a. For example, in the shorter events you will waste energy if you carry a large Camelbak.  There is plenty of water on the course. 

b. Avoid the middle of the road unless you intend to skip the water stations.  If you must be in the center, remember road running etiquette and raise the appropriate hand high in the air as you carefully weave to the right or left.

c. If you are bringing the family along, this may also mean that your family enjoys the parks without you while you prep for your next event.  Embrace the alone time.  You will be glad you did once everything kicks off.  YOU WILL BE GETTING UP AT 2:30AM THREE DAYS IN A ROW, YO.  You need to get to bed early and might want your own room.

3.     You will want tons of photos, but you will NOT want to stop moving.  Even for photos.  There are plenty of opportunities to peel off of the course for photos, memorize them ahead of time, please.  If you stop in your tracks you could cause a stampede and get crushed.

a. There will be professional photographers everywhere, they will get better photos than you will.  Memorize where they will be, prepare for them, and SMILE.

4.     This is a big one: do NOT go crazy on sugar until after the longest event is behind you.  It will mess with your hydration levels too much.  What you eat and drink in Day 1 will absolutely impact your ability to enjoy the runs on day 4.

a. Even if you are used to running in heat and humidity, the marathon could start as low as 40 and end as high as 90, higher if you look at the historical heat index that accounts for humidity. 

b. If you already have a lot of sugar in your bloodstream, but the time you get to the marathon that Gu or those Chomps won’t be as effective.  If it’s hot, you may not get a boost at all- you could get nauseous. 

c. After your final event, go CRAZY.  Eat all the things!  You don’t have to be a monk, but you need to be cognizant. 

5.     NO SPRINTING.  EVER.  My usual, “when you see the finish line, SPEED UP!” rule does not apply to any event in a stacked race series.

MK Fleming is the founder of Fitness Protection, LLC where she trains runners for $29 per month and gives marathon plans away for free. Click here to download her most popular Marathon plan, Tenacious AF, free!

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