starwars-half-marathonby Ryan Treichler

Preparing to train? Wait. Isn’t “to prepare” just another way of saying “to train?” Not quite, let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. There are things you need to do before you just head out and start building up practice miles, whether walking or running.

A few weeks ago, on a blog far far away, runDisney announced a race that should Force most any dad to consider running a Disney Race. Your chance to run a half marathon dressed as Wookie is finally here. runDisney announced the much-rumored Star Wars Half Marathon, scheduled for Disneyland the week after Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in January 2015. Registration opened to the public on June 10, 2014, and most races were sold out by the end of the day. If you’re still interested in running a Star Wars Half Marathon race, there may still be opportunities to sign up in conjunction with a charity sponsor as a fundraising runner. There are a list of participating charities that may have registrations available on the runDisney site.

If you’ve already signed up for a January race, either at Walt Disney World or at Disneyland, let me be the first to assure you that you most likely can do this. Of course I’m not a Dr. and I don’t have any intimate knowledge of your medical history so you should get checked by someone with actual medical qualifications first. That being said most people can finish a half marathon or 10k at Disney so long as they take time and ramp up their training slowly. A couch to 5k plan is a great way to get started – there are a number of these sorts of plans available on line, some with just a .pdf document listing the daily or weekly workout goals, others incorporating tools like FitBit or a smartphone gps app, and still others with detailed online components – you need a program you’re comfortable with, so do a search for C25k or couch to 5k and browse a few to find what works for you. Regardless of which program you decide to use, here are a few things I wish that I’d known about before I started running:

1. Anti-chafing sticks – You could save a little money by not using this stuff, but if you’re not willing to pay $10 or so to avoid searing pain in your crotch, you don’t need to be spending money on any race. I used to use BodyGlide, but it would melt and be ruined if I left it in the car. So I’ve switched to 2Toms SportShield liquid roll-on. It starts out as a liquid, so it doesn’t have the melting/ruined issue.

2. Stretching – There are 2 types of stretches: static and dynamic. When you warm up before a run, you only want to do dynamic stretches. An easy dynamic pre-run stretching routine is looping through 10 steps on your tiptoes, 10 steps walking on your heels with your toes pointed up, 10 squats, 10 lunges, 10 steps kicking your legs straight out in front of you and 10 steps where you try and bring your heels up to your bum. It’s a quick routine that gets everything loosened up before you run. (It also makes you look like a member of the ministry of funny walks). Post run you can do some of the more familiar static stretches.

3. Find a Running Buddy – If you ever pass out it’s great to have someone to pause your Garmin and call for help. This makes the runs go buy much faster and you’ll get to know a ton about whomever you run with. Running with a partner can also help you maintain a proper pace. When you’re training you should be able to carry on a conversation the whole time you are running. If you can’t carry on a conversation, you’re running too fast.

These tips should help smooth your transition into a training program (insert BodyGlide joke here), and keep you away from some of the pain I experienced as a new runner. If you still thinking about signing up for a January race, I encourage you to give it a try. Good luck, and have fun out there!

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