Since last week’s post about how to prepare your body for a Disney vacation, I have had some folks ask me about how to get started with a walking program. The biggest piece of advice I have is just that: have a plan. But, which plan do you pick? There are tons of beginner walking plans out there, but none are really centered around what you might experience on a Disney vacation. So since we couldn’t decide on a single plan to share with you guys, we decided we would create our own.
First, a little background (and an introduction). My wife Sandy puts most of our run training plans together, which are usually a combination of several established plans that she morphs to fit our needs (and travel schedule). Over the past four years, I (we) have gone from not being able to run for 20 seconds, to completing our first full marathon last year as part of the Dopey Challenge. That said, I figured she would be the perfect person to put this together for us.
And almost like Disney Magic, we have it! Take it away, Sandy!
I think Lloyd may have understated the mileage you’ll put on your feet at Disney. Our first WDW trip, we walked between 14,000 and 20,000 steps every single day. That’s an average of 7-10 miles a day, all the while making use of our vehicle and Disney’s transportation system. And, since an upcoming Disney Vacation is an excellent opportunity to get you (and your family) off the couch, I’ve put together a simple training plan for you. Your feet will thank you for the preparation. Oh, and if you don’t live in one of the hot, humid states like we do, take this opportunity to spend some extra time outdoors. That will help to acclimate you to the weather that you will likely encounter in Florida – even in January!
To reiterate what Lloyd said in 10 Ways to Prepare Your Body for a Disney Vacation, every member of the family should be able to walk 4-5 miles comfortably. To achieve this goal, you should start and maintain (the hardest part) a training program at least 6-8 weeks prior to your vacation. If you are very sedentary, you might want to give it 10-12 weeks so that you can take it nice and slow. Take as long as you need, your body will thank you for it!
Have you already booked your Disney vacation or are you in the final planning stages? That means it’s time to start training! Even if your trip is only a few weeks away you can still make some headway – better late than never, right?
Consult your Doctor! As with any new fitness routine, you’ll want to consult your health care practitioner before starting. This is especially true if you have any preexisting health condition.
Once you’ve cleared it with your doc, it’s time to lace up those fancy new sneakers and start pounding the pavement (or sidewalk, trail, mall floor, etc). Are you ready? Let’s go!
- If you can only start with a five-minute walk, so be it. Tomorrow try for 6 minutes and keep going until you are ready to start on the plan!
- Complete each week and assess whether you feel good enough to progress to the next week. It’s best to repeat a week if you fall behind or you found it too challenging.
- The weekend walks are longer, mileage-building days which will help you develop endurance and toughen your feet to prevent blisters.
- Spend as much time on your feet as possible. A lot of your non-walking time will be spent standing in line for attractions or purchases, watching parades and fireworks or just waiting for transportation back to your resort.
- If you have a fitness tracker, another way to prepare your body for Walt Disney World is to work your way up to 20,000 steps a day. Start with your current number of steps per day and incrementally add daily steps each week until you are at 20,000 a day.
Make it more fun:
- Listen to Disney songs while you walk, maybe even belt out your favorites! If you need inspiration, Lloyd has created a Spotify playlist perfect for singing along while you walk.
- Get your partner and kids involved, training together as a family can be fun (and competitive!).
Tips for walking on your Disney trip:
- Everyone in the family needs comfortable, supportive shoes. Make sure they fit well, are broken in and do not cause blisters. Yet another reason for training!
- Bring multiple pairs of shoes to avoid foot fatigue from wearing the same pair every day.
- Bring moleskin to help prevent blisters and Band-Aids to protect any that do occur. If you feel a blister coming on while you are in the parks, head to a first aid station before it gets worse.
- Don’t forget about chafing. Florida heat and humidity can lead to irritated skin. You might want to try out anti-chafing sticks, ointments, or powders.
Gonna give this a try? We’d love to hear from you! Share your progress, ask questions, get motivation and support or find an accountability partner in the training community. Join us on Facebook or Instagram.