I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the weather in Florida is persnickety, persnickety, persnickety! [Side note: I love the word persnickety.] And I’ve learned the hard way to not depend on weather apps before departure day because temps can change on a dime.
Instead, I go prepared for all types of weather, especially for January’s WDW Marathon Weekend and February’s Princess Half Marathon where we’ve experienced freezing temps before. (Hello, Frozen 5k of 2015!) So in this post, I’m going to share my best tips as well as links to previous content. Hope this is helpful!
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Everyone has a different definition of what “cold” means. For me, cold is anything below 40 degrees but we can all agree that the first three races of the 2018 WDW Dopey Challenge was freezing! There was a bit of whining on my behalf, but I survived by being prepared, like Scar suggests.
1.) If you’re wearing a costume, make sure to plan costume options for cold weather, such as long fleece-lined pants instead of shorts, a long-sleeve that you can layer cold gear underneath, etc.
Jennalyn had a brilliant idea for our recent Dalmatians costume, (click here for a tutorial.) She had us buy sweatshirts at Wal-Mart for about $7.00!
2.) Inexpensive knit gloves are also a valuable commodity since they often sell out at Disney World during cold spells. So be sure to pack a few pairs in your suitcase! We take that one step further by coordinating the color with costume. Bonus if you find some that are touchscreen compatible although they rarely work for me!
For more packing tips, be sure to check out these posts!
- runDisney Packing Tips and a master packing list you can modify to your needs!
- Organizing your Hotel Room for a runDisney Race which includes tools that make packing easier!
- Top 20 runDisney Must Pack Items for the Goofy and Dopey Challenge
- Six Quick Packing Tips for the Goofy and Dopey Challenge
3.) Speaking of coordinating, Jackey has often made us neck warmers out of fleece in colors that match our costumes. They are AMAZING and really keep you warm! Directions are simple: just sew the fleece in a tube that’s large enough to fit over your head and hem the ends down about an inch.
4.) Heat thyself with hand warmers and feet warmers! I’ve even used back heating pads for extra warmth. Everything can be found at Wal-Mart or in bulk from Amazon:
Tip: The hand warmers activate with air so don’t wait until you arrive to open the packs! I open mine in our room as I’m getting ready so by the time we leave, they are nice and toasty.
Another tip: Only wear the feet warmers during those cold pre-race hours and in the corral. Definitely don’t run in them because they will hurt your feet! (Yep, learned that lesson the hard way.)
5.) Bring a Mylar blanket for before the race and afterward! Before the race, emergency blankets, are a lifesaver at both keeping off the chill and blocking the wind. Just be certain to discard before crossing the start line because it can mess up your timing chip!
After the race, runDisney usually supplies Mylars if it’s chilly, but there have been times when they did not and I was freezing. They don’t take up much space in your gEar bag so toss in one for just in case.
6.) Pack throwaways, clothing to wear pre-race over your running outfit or costume and then discard. runDisney does gather tossed clothing for charity so not only will you stay warm, but you’re also helping those in need! To make it easier for them to collect after race start, try to toss them behind mile markers, out of sight for those taking mile marker pictures.
Some throwaway ideas are loose sweatpants that can slip over your shoes, sweatshirts, (I prefer the zip-up kind,) fleece blankets, robes, and knit hats.
Tip: Don’t wear your throwaways too long after race start! I’ve made the mistake of wearing them for too long and tossing after I had started to sweat. Then a chilly wind hit that sweat and I was even colder! It’s best to toss while it’s a little chilly and let your body warm up naturally by running.
I’ve made lots of other mistakes that you can learn from in my Collection of Oops post!
7.) Pack warm clothes in your gEAr bag for after the race! I was so thankful for the jacket I had tossed in my bag for after the Wine & Dine Half Marathon. My weather app showed a warmer 55 degrees post race but it was FREEZING!! In the past, I’ve also packed gloves (in case I tossed mine,) yoga pants, Mylar blanket, and a knit hat since I’m a big head sweater.
8.) Hydrate! It’s easy to forget to drink water when it’s cold, but your body will still need hydration so make sure you drink enough before and during the race.
9.) Still bring those sunglasses! I remember a point when the sun came out during the 2018 WDW Half Marathon near the Grand Floridian and I wanted to tackle Jackey for her sunglasses.
10.) Try not to worry! Yep, I’m a total hypocrite with this one because cold weather is my stress trigger and I’ll spend days worrying over what to wear. But looking back, even with chilly temps, I still had a total blast and the good thing is, we’re all in it together!
I gotta say. I’ll take hot weather over cold ANY DAY! And I’ve done some hot races, including the 2017 Disneyland Half Marathon, (warmest runDisney on record,) and the recent WDW Full Marathon. (Riding Expedition Everest cooled us off for a bit!) However, even this warm weather lover knows that you must take some steps to be comfortable and finish safely.
1.) Make an extra effort to hydrate in the week prior, being careful to get in enough electrolytes. Well, we need to hydrate regardless but if the temps will be high, it’s even more important to drink enough so your urine is the color of light straw.
2.) Adjust your costume if necessary to ensure comfort. Wearing a wig can trap lots of body heat so you might want to rethink that. Bypassing other items such as heavy fuzzy leg warmers might also be smart! Oh wait …..
And speaking of wigs, here’s why I’ll never wear one again.
3.) Make sure you put on sun block in your room the morning of and then add another layer before the race. To make this easier, I toss a spray sun block in my gEar bag as well as hand wipes to wash my hands afterward.
My favorite spray sun block is the Banana Boat Simply Protect SPF 50+ since it has less chemicals and doesn’t feel as tacky. The Kid’s version is also great!
I’m also a big fan of mineral sun block that’s great for putting on over makeup! (Yes, I wear makeup during runDisney races. There’s lots of Photopass photographers, okay?) I pack two mineral sun blocks, one to use after races when my skin is nasty and one in the parks. They’re fantastic!
Tip: Since I rarely wear makeup when working at home, I keep the above mineral makeup in my purse at all times in case I have to run to town! It’s doesn’t give the same coverage as a foundation nor do I depend on it as my only sun block, but it does make my skin look better!
4.) And speaking of makeup, wear waterproof mascara! Actually, that’s a good idea for all races. 😉
5.) I also drink an entire bottle of Gatorade G2 or Powerade right after waking in order to get some electrolytes in … and have time to pee it out before going to the corrals. 😉
6.) Bring sunglasses to the race! Visors are also wonderful for keeping sun out of your eyes. We take this one step farther by buying cute ones that match our costumes like these cute dotted ones!
7.) Cooling towels are also wonderful! If they’re too long, I cut mine in half and then tuck in the back of my race belt or running skirt.
I also have a stash of cotton sweat wristbands that can be color coordinated with outfits! Here’s a set of twelve that I bought a few years ago at a cheaper price. (They’re now $16.99.) These Bluesky Sports Cotton Wrist Sweatbands are $13.99 and look nice as well. Oh, and a reviewer said she wears a pair around her wrists while washing her face to keep her arms dry. Brilliant!
In case you’re curious about the wrist wallets Jackey and I use for nearly every race, they’re the FitKicks Wrist Wallets that come in black and other colors. Inexpensive and great for holding credit cards (and lipstick) if you’re skipping a running belt!
Okay, back to hot weather tips!! Another great suggestion from Heather Jergensen is to pop into a bathroom and run cold water over your wrists to cool down your body temperature.
Some people dump water over their head at water stations but I’m not a big fan. If you do this, however, PLEASE GO TO THE SIDE OF THE ROAD! Otherwise, you’ll make the road even more wet and slippery for those running behind you. I’ve seen a woman fall and break her arm at a runDisney race because the pavement was wet. So please just don’t!
8.) Pace yourself and adjust your expectations. If your plan is to get an awesome PR, make sure you don’t do so at the risk of your health. Slow down, pace yourself, and finish healthy!
9.) Consider skipping the first few characters in order to bank some miles before the sun comes up and temps rise. This is an especially good tip for Princess Half Marathon runners because the course loops around so you’ll have another chance at the first few characters near the end of the race!
10.) Don’t skip the water stations! New runDisney runners often ask if it’s necessary to bring your own water. For me, it’s not since runDisney offers plenty of water/Powerade stations. (Powerade is offered only during the half marathon, not the 5k or 10k.) But if you’re not a fan of Powerade or you’re used to carrying water, then by all means, do so.
Oh Lawd. I’ve been through some rainy runDisney races, such as the infamous Splash ‘N Dash, aka, the 2014 Wine & Dine Half Marathon. Once again, what must you do, Scar?
I’ve covered this in a previous runDisney in the Rain blog post plus we’ve also chatted about this topic in Podcast Episode, but here’s a recap!
- A Visor or Hat is a must to keep rain out of your eyes. This saved me at Splash & Dash! I would have gone bonkers otherwise.
- Several disposable ponchos that can be purchased cheaply at Wal-Mart or in bulk at Amazon. Make sure you have enough to wear before the race and pack another in your gEar bag for after the race.
- A heavier poncho packed in your gEar bag to wear after the race if necessary.
- An umbrella might also be a good idea for after the race but don’t bring it in the corrals pre-race since you might poke someone with it and block vision for those behind you.
- Garbage bags, which can be made into emergency ponchos by cutting holes for your head and arms. (Which means you should also throw a pair of scissors in your suitcase.) Contractor bags are especially awesome, since they are larger and heavier!
- A waterproof case for your phone or other electronics. Plastic baggies also work great in a pinch!
- Gallon-sized plastic baggies for any post-race clothing you are keeping in your gEar bag. This might not be necessary, but if runDisney continues to use large trucks for holding gEar bags, there’s a chance rain could blow in from the open end, getting bags on that side wet. Those drawstring bags aren’t protective!
- If you’re running multiple races, pack an extra pair of shoes so you can rotate if one gets wet.
- Newspaper is also wonderful for drying out your shoes overnight!
- Body glide or other anti-chafe products. Oh boy. Trust me on this one!
- Vaseline for your toes and/or feet also works great for keeping your feet blister-free. But still…
- Blister band aids in case the Vaseline or glide doesn’t cut it!
- Tossing a small hand towel in your gEar bag might also be a good idea for drying off post-race!
- If you’re driving to the race, also have a towel in your vehicle to protect your seats and drying off.
Do not wear shoes with worn treads
This can lead to loss of traction and slipping. I’ve heard of other people who have duct-taped their shoes in hopes to keep them dry, but I’m not a big fan of that. First off, I don’t want adhesive junk on my shoes. Plus, I worry about losing breath-ability.
Adjust your expectations
While it is still possible to PR during a rainy runDisney race, please exercise caution and adjust your expectations. The ground will be slick and you’ll spend a great deal of time on the highway where there are reflectors in the middle and pot holes disguised with puddles.
The amount of characters out will also be affected by the rain. runDisney has used canopies in the past, but there’s still a risk of rain coming in from the side, so some characters may not be out. runDisney will do their best, however, to ensure a magical experience and keep the entertainment value up! And the end of the day, you’re still at Disney World.
Here’s another repeat tip, but I’ve made the mistake of not hydrating enough during races in rainy weather, and since water-saturated skin does not give the same benefits as drinking water, I had a massive headache afterward. So even there’s rain in the forecast, (or if the thought of adding any more water to your body makes you cringe,) be sure to drink enough!
Dress in layers
The fabric closest to your skin is the most important – make sure it’s a technical fabric and NOT cotton. Cotton is bad. If it’s chilly, layer on a water-resistant jacket and NOT a waterproof one that will trap moisture and heat. Waterproof is bad. I scored some amazing water-resistant jackets at Wal-Mart for only $11.00!
Adding on to this tip, be sure to not over-dress as well, a big mistake I often make. Here’s where the layers will help because you can shed if necessary.
Protect thyself from chafing
Yet another repeat tip, but underneath all those layers, be sure to hit up high friction areas with a generous dose of body glide or other anti-chafe product – underneath sports bra straps, beneath your breasts for gals and on nipples for gents, armpits, and inner thighs.
For your feet, it’s a good idea to give your toes and heels a coat of Vaseline or anti-chafe product to prevent blisters. (Body Glide makes one specific for feet.) Nothing helps with water logging, however. They’re still going to look like wrinkled prunes after the race. Which can be kind of cool, too.
- If you want to run with your poncho on but don’t want it flopping around, anchor the hood by wearing a visor over it and attach a running belt over the poncho around your waist. Now you’re runway ready!
- Bring a change of clothes if you plan on hanging out after a race, dancing and getting character photos. Wet shorts or pants can wreck havoc on us gals down there!
- A dark, heavy-duty poncho can make for a great changing room in a pinch! I toss a dark green one in my gEAR bag for that purpose, since changing in a port-0-pot is quite challenging. And gross.
- Be mindful of your bib placement! With all the awesome Photopass photographers on the course, you don’t want to miss a single picture by covering your bib with a poncho or jacket.
I have to somewhat cover this since there can be wind during all types of weather!
- Wind breaking jackets are amazing! I’ve found some great ones at Wal-Mart that were inexpensive and can be tossed if necessary.
- Windproof your costume! This means using clips or bobby pins to keep your Minnie ears in place, and anchoring any collars or loose pieces down with safety pins. This will help keep things in place for running Photopass photos! (Oh, and if you’re interested in making Minnie ears, here’s a tutorial!)
- Put some extra safety pins on your shoelaces for costume emergencies. I’m telling you, this is a great tip, one I always follow regardless of the weather!
- Rethink tossing that wind breaker! I’ve experienced times when I would toss clothing only to hit a less protective portion of the course where the wind is brutal.
So there you have it, my best runDisney tips for cold weather, hot weather, rain, and wind! If you have any more suggestions that I’ve missed please leave them in the comments below. I love learning new tips!
Need more runDisney tips? We’ve covered a TON of topics here on the blog, on our YouTube channel, and Joyful Miles podcast. A list of everything runDisney can be found by going here!
Until then, if you are about to take on your first runDisney race, I hope you have a TOTAL BLAST! And if you’d like to connect with other Joyful Milers, be sure to pop on over to our Joyful Miles Running Club. Take care and have a joyful day!