Well Main Streeters, the 2016 runDisney season is over. Congratulations to all the participants of all the race weekends spanning 3 parks and 2 continents for the first time ever. I hope your miles were magical. But if you’re like me, you crossed that finish line and immediately started thinking about the next time you could runDisney. Or maybe you watched friends race with envy and cannot wait to do it yourself. But when is it too early to start planning your runDisney racecation?
Honestly, I’m not sure there’s a clear answer to this question. Depending on who you are, your financial situation, your time off from work situation, and your fitness level, the answer can vary. I started planning my first runDisney racecation a year ahead of time and I feel like this is a safe and standard time frame, especially if you aren’t a runner. I used that year to build up to a half marathon distance and then train specifically for a challenge weekend, running races back to back. So choose your race with training schedule in mind.
I was also still a grad student during that time, so it gave me time to save up the race entry fees and cost of a Disney vacation. Running at any of the Disney parks is as much a financial commitment as it is a physical commitment and you shouldn’t underestimate the cost. So pick your race with that in mind also. Pricing can vary from year to year, but I’ve found it’s a good place to start by looking at the rates for the weekend in the current year if the year you’re planning for isn’t available yet.
When I chose to train for Dopey 2018, I did it two years in advance. It was partially due to needing to train for a full marathon as well as the stress of 48.6 miles in 4 days as well as life circumstances. I was finishing school and didn’t want to commit to a January 2017 race weekend without knowing where I might be employed. And then I knew my family was planning a trip in December 2016, and I knew two trips that close together was out of the cards. I would caution against this far out of planning for the simple reason of motivation. It’s been really easy to lose motivation for training because “it’s still more than a year away”. That reason won’t last forever.
So how early is too early? I think you have to at least decide ahead of registration day, so you get into your race. That’s usually 6-9 months in advance. Then you have to think about how early you have to start saving to afford the racecation you want. Do you want to stay on property? Do you want to stay at a nice hotel? And then finally, consider when your work requires you to request time off.
Most importantly, though, once you commit, get out and train! Nothing worse than all this planning only to get injured from undertraining! I look forward to seeing you on the pavement in 2017! Next week we’ll start our recap of the last Walt Disney World Race of 2016. Until then, keep running and stay Disney.