At the beginning of the year, I attended a #CignaRunTogether luncheon with some runner blogger friends as part of the WDW Marathon Weekend. Although I was one of the very few runners in attendance NOT running that weekend, I still benefitted from attending the event.
First off, these #CignaRunTogether events are always so much! Just as in previous years, this year’s event offered an opportunity to network with other Disney fanatic runners ranging from a wide spectrum of athletic abilities from novice to marathon maniacs or in this case repeat Dopey competitors.
At last year’s event, we participated in a game show style event to learn about optimal healthy living and wellness. This year, Cigna upped its game show style fun by having us participate in friendly Amazing Race team-building competition.
As each team hustled through Hollywood Studios Theme Park, we worked together to solve clues and completed physical tasks to earn team points. This highly competitive #CignaRunTogether Amazing Race was so much fun and a workout too, but it made for a fun way to learn tips for healthy living. At the end my team earned second place, however, the real reward was the knowledge and additional runner blogger friendships I gained.
Having been so inspired by the runners around me t, I set my sights on some tangible running goals for 2017. Upon leaving the Cigna WDW Marathon Weekend blogger luncheon, I registered for the WDW Star Wards Dark Side Half Marathon. With the #TeamDarkSide half marathon set for April 23, I felt I had plenty of time to properly train for the race with a few fall back weeks in case of illness or dare I say…injury.
Over the past year, under my doctor’s care, I managed to run five miles but back in January, I felt ready to make that steady climb to 13.1 miles. Thankfully, the #CignaRunTogether team provided loads of information to help me prevent another injury. Most importantly, the most crucial thing to remember is to STRETCH!
According to my sports physician, plantar fasciitis is directly related to tight calves. Therefore, this training time around I stretch during my run AND after my run. If I forget, you can guarantee my heels will complain. Click here to read how adding stretches to your training offers injury-free preparation.
In addition to regular stretching during my training runs and after a weight lifting workout, I also added yoga to my training by turning one rest day into an active rest day with 20 minutes – 30 minutes of yoga.
Since the Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon will be my first half marathon in almost two years, I really wanted to increase my mileage slowly and reasonably. Jeff Galloway designed beginner and advanced training plans specifically for each of the runDisney races, including a 20-week Dark Side Half Marathon, which was perfect for me given my time frame – January 1st to April 23rd race day. The “Time Improvement” plan includes three days a week running ( 2 shorter distances and on long run day) and alternates weeks of speedwork . Although I modified the plan slightly since it hits 17 miles at week 15 and I never went over 12 miles. I basically went with what worked for me and what I felt comfortable while still pushing myself.
On Saturday, I finished my 12 miler training run and I felt very confident about my overall performance for the half marathon the following weekend. It’s amazing how muscle memory remembers what you can achieve and how your mind pushes you to keep moving when your legs tired out.