This will be my 5th year in a row doing the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, it’s actually probably one of my favorite races (maybe only second to the Walt Disney World Marathon), which may have something to do with the fact that it was my first race EVER back in 2011!
Since I’ve done this one just a few times and night races can be a little different to prepare for than your usual morning race I thought I’d share some of my personal tips for running the Wine & Dine Half Marathon!
Don’t spend all day on your feet!
This one sounds obvious, and is good advice for any race day, but with the race a) being at Disney World and b) being at 10pm at night it can be hard advice to actually follow!
My personal go-to race day plan for Wine & Dine is a late buffet brunch (aka the Pre-Race Stuff Your Face) followed by a few hours of park time, but by 2pm I’m back at my hotel for either a nap or some relaxing time by the pool – trust me, your legs will thank you when you go to run 13.1 miles at 10pm!
**Try a few minutes of Legs Up the Wall for a quick refresh for your legs pre-race!**
Be cautious of your eating on race-day!
Again, good advice for any race, but planning your fueling for a 10pm half marathon is actually pretty tricky!
After several years of practice my friends and I have settled on the afore mentioned “Pre-Race Stuff Your Face” breakfast buffet around 10:30am (and there is no shortage of good breakfast buffets on Disney property!) where we basically stuff ourselves silly and then I usually have something light around 4-5pm (I think last year I split a sandwich with someone) and then a snack (granola bar, banana, etc.) shortly before the race start.
Speaking of fueling…HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE!
It’s easy to forget to drink enough water when you’re walking around the parks, so considering bringing a refillable water bottle with you so you remember to keep drinking!
Oh, and if you want to avoid the yucky Florida water fountain water, any Disney quick service location will give you a cup of ice water for free – just ask!
If you’re into character pictures bring a CAMERA!
Yes, an actual camera if you have a light weight point and shoot you can run with. While for most races my iPhone does the job just fine, I’ve found that it doesn’t quite cut it for good nighttime pictures so this is the one race I’ll run actually carrying my camera. That being said, my phone is a little older, so I’m not sure if the latest and greatest phone technology can handle pictures in the dark any better.
Bring a change of clothes for after the race.
Yes, a FULL change of clothes, not just a sweatshirt to throw on!
I didn’t do this my first year running this race and I was miserable at the after party – this was especially important last year where it down poured for this entire race, I was so glad to get out of my clothes and into something dry!
Along this same line, there are changing tents at the finish line area, they are always PACKED so unless you enjoy tight quarters full of sweaty naked people I recommend grabbing your checked bag and heading into Epcot and changing in a bathroom stall in the park.
Oh, and one more thing on checked bags – you probably know the only bag you can check is the clear plastic one they give you at the expo. Well those are a pain in the butt to carry around during the after party, so I always throw a small drawstring backpack into my checked bag so I have it to use after the race!
Beware of sneaky nighttime high temps & humidity!
This is Orlando people and while the sun may not be out it can still be HOT at 10pm at night. In fact, I checked the temperature in Orlando at 10pm last night just to see what it was and it was 76 degrees!!
76 degrees. At 10pm.
I can’t even imagine the humidity!
I was once tricked by the late night heat and humidity of Orlando at the Tower of Terror 10 Miler and it was honestly one of the worst runs of my life.
Just be sure that if it is warm out to stay safe, slow your pace and remember to hydrate.
Don’t forget to refuel after the race!
You just ran 13.1 miles and finished right smack dab in the middle of the Epcot Food & Wine Festival! Be sure to treat yourself and visit some of the awesome festival booths to re-fuel!
I have to admit, I’m not always up for exotic festival food as soon as I’m done running, so I usually start off with something plain (like a pretzel in Germany!), and then once my stomach is ready I’ll try out some more adventurous options.