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13 Rules of Marathon Training

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Disney Racing Etiquette

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CONTACT

Lee Hoedl
6155 16th St. South, Fargo, ND 58104
Cell: 701.306.1266
Email: leehoedl@yahoo.com
 

WHAT SHOULD I DO AND EAT AFTER MY DISNEY RACE?

Some have asked, "What do I eat after my half marathon/marathon or between my half and full so that I don't feel bloated or sick for the marathon?" Great question. Here's some information I grafted out of other resources (and have added to) that might help you.

THE SPACE BLANKET

Regardless if it feels warm outside at your finish, take the Space Blanket the Disney folks hand you! Your body will cool down swiftly even if you were overheated coming into the finish. Use the heat sheet they give you so you don't have a sudden body temperature drop and collapse.

THE NEEDED ICE BATH

Try to get back to where you’re staying as soon as possible to relax, shower and rehydrate. If possible, get a couple of buckets of ice from your hotel's ice machine. Then take some time to fill up your room's bathtub with water cold enough that it's tolerable to sit in. Then sit in the water. Gradually fill the bathtub with the two buckets of ice so that temperature drops but not so it's a complete shock to your system. Sit in this water for about 20 minutes so that it can greatly reduce the swelling in your legs, feet, ankles and get the blood moving back into these areas to start the healing process.

If you have any blisters, DO NOT pop them until after you've showered and cleaned off your feet. You don't want to get an infection. If you just finished the Disney Half Marathon and are running the Disney Marathon the next day, DO NOT pop your blisters at all! Your next day of 26.2 miles will be even that much more painful as these popped blisters will break open and often times bleed. For Goofy Challengers, should your blisters worsen into the marathon the next day, be sure to check with medical staff at the Staging Area and/or the medical tents along the marathon course.

QUICK TIPS REGARDING AN ICE BATH:

  1. First of all, DON'T sit down into a full-on ice bath. Fill the bathtub with cool water at best. In the meantime, bring an oversized garbage bag so you can fill it with ice from the hotel ice machine.
  2. Second, sit in the cool water and get used to it - feel free to wrap yourself in a towel or a mylar blanket while you get used to the water. Cool water, not COLD water. Then slowly add ice to the cool water to bring the temperature down GRADUALLY. The key is "GRADUALLY." While you do this, be sure to move all your joints (knees and ankles) so they stay loose.
  3. Third, be mindful of time - 20 minutes is what you should target for - no more. It will be enough to bring down the swelling in all your joints and open the blood vessels in your extremities.
  4. Be sure to get out and feel free to take a warm (not HOT) shower to warm up. Once you've warmed up, be sure to go out for a half-hour casual walk. Nothing extreme or fast - walk as if you're sightseeing.
  5. All the while, be sure to be drinking water so as to clean out your system and reduce the lactic acid build-up. Starting drinking water/sports drink when you get to the finish line of your race and maintain that level until your urine is clear in the evening.
  6. And finally, when you're done with your walk, have a nicely balanced meal (carbs and protein) and get back to your room so you can elevate your legs (pillows under your knees and ankles). It will keep the blood from pooling to your extremities and you'll feel very refreshed if you are running the marathon the next day.
  7. Again, DO NOT sit in an ICE COLD bath - cool water that is comfortable and then add ice to gradually bring the temp down. You'll thank yourself the next day.
QUICK FOOD/DRINK ITEMS

While you're sitting there, if you’re not yet completely sick of sports drinks, have one! It will provide you with some vitamins, a bit of protein (please check that protein is included in the ingredients), and some needed calories in the form of carbohydrates that will help your blood sugar return to normal. Light foods that are easy to digest, especially vegetables and fruits like oranges and bananas, will also help nourish your body and speed up your recovery, not only by providing you with calories but also with necessary minerals, antioxidants and enzymes. It's what Disney hands out after your race, SO BE SURE TO TAKE SOME! The soda (Coca Cola) is also good as it's glycogen that can easily and quickly be absorbed.

GO FOR A WALK - JUST A SHORT ONE

About an hour after your "ice bath," a short stroll will help your muscles recover and is a much smarter choice than doing nothing at all. A brief walk is almost the equivalent of the cool down that may have helped you after a shorter event like a 5K: it will help get your blood flowing while starting the process of tissue repair. After your walk, a light massage would be ideal but not necessary. After your walk, feel free to lie on your hotel bed and elevate your feet with pillows to keep the blood from pooling in your lower extremities. You'll thank yourself the next day.

YOUR RECOVERY WINDOW

Now, after running a marathon, try to keep in mind the so-called “recovery window.” This is the period immediately after prolonged exercise, when the muscle enzymes are elevated that support glycogen production—the primary fuel your muscles relied on during the race. Therefore, the best things to eat right after the marathon to replenish your muscles’ energy stores are similar to what you ate before it, meaning an emphasis on easily digested carbohydrates. The sooner you’re able to take in these calories, the more glycogen your body will produce, and the sooner you’ll be returning your muscles to their normal state - consider peanut butter, bagels, fruits and vegetables, water, water, water, yogurt, nuts, etc. Maybe a few things that are a little salty, but don't overdo it with the salt.

During the first 30-45 minutes after you cross the finish line—the prime recovery window—your muscles can absorb 50% more glycogen than at any other time. Research has shown that a little protein—post-exercise—helps your muscles absorb more glycogen (at a ratio 4:1, that means four parts carbohydrates to one part protein). During this time, when your stomach may be still a little unsettled, a good choice would be a smoothie at room temperature—it’s easily digested, has a little protein, and is rich of carbohydrates. Chocolate milk - if you like it - is another great item.

YOUR EVENING MEAL

For your first larger meal later that day, consider replacing lost carbohydrates with whole-grain pasta, basmati rice, whole-grain bagels, oatmeal or other foods that are slow to digest. During the marathon, blood flow was largely shunted away from your stomach to working muscles. So give your digestive system some time to return to its normal working condition. It’s usually better to snack a little bit the rest of the day than to sit down to one massive meal.

Avoid alcohol - if you really must have a toast, a low alcohol or no-alcohol beer is the safest choice. If you participating in the Goofy Challenge, you should have NO alcohol at all between your races! Continue to drink sports drink, fruit juices, water throughout the evening.

WHAT IF YOU ARE DOING THE "GOOFY?"

If you are doing the Goofy, give your stomach time to digest those carbohydrates within 30-45 minutes of your run (which will most likely be in the parking lot of EPCOT at the finish). Take the food items Disney gives you and be sure to eat them, whether you feel hungry or not. Follow the suggestions above and then eat an early evening meal similar to the one you had before your half marathon.

Be sure to get to bed early - even if you can't sleep and give your feet a rest. You will need them on Sunday! During the first evening after the race, you might be wound up and unable to sleep much. That’s normal and perfectly okay. If that happens, try reflecting on your amazing accomplishment rather than stressing out because you’re not able to drift off. Take a look at the Disney Marathon race map or watch one of the many Disney Marathon races I've posted on YouTube to motivate you and send you off to sleep.

And then, on Sunday, get up and repeat the whole process again.