Tips for Running in The Summer Heat


I absolutely love summer and the heat. Give me warm temps, a good book, a cold drink, and a patio, and I am good to go…until I have to run. Running in the summer can be pretty unmagical. When temps in Texas hit triple digits, I feel like a melted snowman.

Here are a few strategies I use to help make running in the heat bearable:


1. Run before the sun comes up: I’m usually an evening runner, so this is a tough one for me. I really enjoy going for a run to let off steam after a long work day. In the hottest parts of summer evening runs are not always possible. This past week the temps were still over 90 degrees at 9:00 pm. Morning runs are a much cooler option. Even though it can be hard to win the battle with the alarm clock, I know how great it will feel when I am properly prepped for my fall races. Temps are usually the coolest before 7:30 am, so I try to finish up before then.

2. Stay hydrated: Dehydration is not a good way to end a run. When temps are high, you will need more water than usual. The optimal amount of water needed can vary from person to person. I try to drink 6-8 oz of water every 30 minutes during a runs lasting 45 min or more. More importantly I try to maintain proper hydration before and after runs. That means I usually drink my weight in water (literally, that’s how many oz I drink during the day). I’m also more inclined to try a Gatorade type beverage after a run in the summer time.

3. Take it slow: There’s no way around it. You will run slower in the summer. How much slower will also vary from person to person. In Jeff Galloway’s training program on the RunDisney website he recommends slowing your pace by about a minute a mile for temps above 70 F and 2 minutes a mile for temps above 80 F.

4. Find a friend: This is a great tip for training any time of year. A training buddy can help keep you motivated when temps and early mornings are standing between you and your training plan. If you don’t have a friend who can join you for runs, consider joining some of the Facebook groups for runners. All of the Disney races have Facebook groups filled with other runners to help you stay motivated. A simple search for running groups on Facebook will give you loads of options for virtual pals.

5. Find some sprinklers: I know it sounds odd, but I love to run in my neighborhood on watering days. I strategically try to run close to the sprinklers to get little cool off from the water. Running through sprinklers also makes me happy because it makes me feel like a kid again.

6. Consider a treadmill: When all else fails, you can turn to a treadmill. I’m going to be completely honest here. I LOATHE treadmills. I never run on a treadmill. I think they are evil robots out to get me. Seriously. I hyperventilate just thinking about a treadmill. I realize that is a completely irrational fear that is likely not shared by our friendly readers. For that reason, I decided to include the treadmill as a strategy for summer runs. Use at your own risk, friends.

7. Wear proper attire: Breathable fabric is a must in the summer heat. Look for fabrics that are moisture wicking. You don’t have to go to an expensive store to find moisture wicking workout attire. Walmart and Target are great locations to find inexpensive clothing options for summer runs. Don’t forget to look for moisture wicking socks, too!

That’s all the tips for now. Hopefully a few of these will help you stay a happy snowman… IN SUMMER!!!




New Disney Park! Shanghai Disneyland!


Back in February, Disney released the amazing news that there will be a brand new theme park opening in Shanghai, China! Recently, more details have been released and I have to say it sounds pretty epic. The Runs in Tutus team may just have to start planning a trip to the other side of the world in the next few years!


Shanghai Disneyland – Photo courtesy of

The most recent update is that the park will be opening in Spring 2016. The resort at the time of opening will include:

  • Shanghai Disneyland, a theme park with six themed lands: Adventure Isle, Gardens of Imagination, Mickey Avenue, Tomorrowland, Treasure Cove and Fantasyland, with the Enchanted Storybook Castle.
  • Shanghai Disneyland Hotel and Toy Story Hotel
  • Disneytown, “an international shopping, dining and entertainment district, adjacent to Shanghai Disneyland and including the Walt Disney Grand Theatre, home to the first-ever Mandarin production of the Broadway hit Disney’s THE LION KING.”
  • Wishing Star Park, “with beautiful gardens, a walking path and a glittering lake.”

Many of the attractions and shows at Shanghai Disneyland will be appearing for the very first time in a Disney theme park. This park will also be home to Enchanted Storybrook Castle, the largest, tallest (196.8 ft tall) and most interactive castle in any Disney theme park and the only castle that represents ALL the Disney princesses. Finally! Equal representation! Is it really asking that much to see more Pocahontas and Princess Tiana??

Here are a few more of the firsts in Shanghai Disneyland:

  • Mickey Avenue – the first park main entry inspired by Mickey Mouse and his pals

Mickey Avenue – Photo courtesy of

  • Fantasia Carousel in a land called Gardens of Imagination
  • Voyage to the Crystal Grotto – an excursion through the waters of Fantasyland, complete with colorful fountains, wonderful music and a ride underneath the Enchanted Storybook Castle for a finale never before seen inside a castle. I’ve always wanted more opportunities to go INSIDE the castles!
  • Adventure Isle – a mysterious land, with an ancient legend about a native tribe, a giant, reptilian creature, and the mighty Roaring Mountain. This looks scary.

Photo courtesy of

  • TRON Lightcycle Power Run – a thrilling, roller coaster-type attraction with a twisting, turning track, high speeds, rich storytelling and a breathtaking view of Shanghai Disneyland. They’re claiming that this will be one of the most thrilling Disney attractions ever.

Photo courtesy of

  • Treasure Cove – Pirate fans rejoice! This is the first pirate-themed land at a Disney park with a new Pirates of the Caribbean – Battle for the Sunken Treasure. The boats will spin, travel sideways and move backwards during the ride! This is also home to a stunt show spectacular featuring Captain Jack Sparrow.

Treasure Cove – Photo courtesy of

  • Buzz Lightyear Planet Rescue – a brand new space ranger adventure with an “immersive, new storyline combined with a new, interactive targeting system.”
  • Alice in Wonderland themed maze – the first attraction at a Disney park based on the Tim Burton version of Alice in Wonderland
  • Tangled Tree Tavern – inspired by the Snuggly Duckling from Tangled!
  • Once Upon a Time Adventure – Located inside Enchanted Storybrook Castle, “for the first time in a Disney park guests will interact with an animated version of Snow White as they stroll through scenes of her story. Passing through a ‘Magic Mirror’ portal and into this wonderful fairy tale, guests will meet Snow White’s friends, witness the evil deeds of her enemies, and share her dreams through realistic, interactive technology.”

What do you think? Is it worth a trip around the world? This really sounds like the most innovative and high tech Disney park yet with tons of brand new experiences! In the words of Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger, “We are building something truly special here in Shanghai that not only showcases the best of Disney’s storytelling but also celebrates and incorporates China’s incredibly rich heritage to create a one-of-a-kind destination…We are taking everything we’ve learned from our six decades of exceeding expectations – along with our relentless innovation and famous creativity to create a truly magical place that is both authentically Disney and distinctly Chinese.”

See you in Shanghai?


Our Favorite Fitness Classes for Cross-training


The three of us at Runs in Tutus have all started our training for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon in November! Amanda has been following a training plan she created to help reach a personal record at the race, while Melanie and Christine have been following the Jeff Galloway training plan posted by runDisney. Regardless of the training plan we are following, all of us have incorporated cross-training into our weekly workout routine. This helps keep us strong and makes us better, safer runners!

While it may not sound as exciting as running through Cinderella castle, you’d be surprised how many fun and exciting options there are out there! For example, by attending group exercise classes you can learn something new, have some fun, get in your cross-training AND meet new friends along the way. This is a HUGE perk. You won’t believe how motivated you are to make it to class when your new friend expects you to be there. No one wants to be the loser that didn’t show up!

Not sure which classes to try? Here are some Runs in Tutus personal favorites. Extra points if you show up to class in a tutu.

Princess Christine: I really enjoy dance fitness classes and ballet. I like ballet because it is mentally and physically challenging and it builds a strong core and improves flexibility.  I had the idea of trying ballet for cross-training a couple years ago. Ballet dancers seem to have pretty rockin’ bods, and the cute clothing and pinkness fit my number one criteria for starting a workout program. I have to say it has really changed my body and my core! The slow concentrated effort on the upper body, along with precise directive from a pro ballet teacher were exactly what I needed.  As for flexibility, I am pleased to say the stretching and barre work have been an excellent compliment for running. My hips feel so much better, and my stride has improved with my increase in flexibility. I take ballet and dance classes about 2-3x/week.


Christine danced in Don Quixote last June. Ballet is her favorite form of cross-training. She also danced in Swan Lake this summer. Photo credit: Dony Dawson

Princess Melanie: I like kickboxing, dance cardio, indoor cycling, and general weight training/conditioning classes. I feel like those are the classes where I burn the most calories, but also work out muscle groups that don’t get a lot of attention with running. I also enjoy an occasional yoga class for flexibility and strength. I use ClassPass which allows me to take a wide variety of classes and also makes it hard to pick a favorite. I’m really motivated by the welcoming and friendly environment in group fitness classes, and it’s especially great when you get a fun, high energy instructor! I take 3 classes a week.

Melanie having fun after class!

Princess Amanda: I absolutely love POUND classes. It’s a class that combines isometric movements with simulated drumming. You get to rock out to your favorite songs with a set of bright green drumsticks called ripstix. Aside from the fact that it’s really unique and fun, I also like it because it strengthens your legs and hips and improves balance which is really beneficial for runners. Since I started doing POUND regularly 2x/week, it’s become easier to run up hills and I’ve been able to run faster without fatiguing. If you’re in DC, you can find POUND at Balance Gym! If you’re in another city, you can find a class by searching here. I also love inventing Disney themed workouts and trying them out with my sisters for cross-training.


Squats are more fun with ripstix. Photo credit: Kori Kamradt

Do you love a fitness class that we didn’t mention here? Tweet us @runsintutus so that we can try it out!

Disney World vs. Disneyland: The Ultimate Showdown

photo-2It’s no secret that I’ve been to Disney World more times than I can count. My first visit probably dates back to when I was an infant. This past May though, at the Tinker Bell Half Marathon weekend, I took my VERY FIRST trip to Disneyland. It was exciting and confusing all at the same time. I definitely enjoyed seeing so many new things, but admittedly I did get lost a few times. It wasn’t exactly the same experience as Disney World, but it did have its own unique attractions and features that made it worthwhile.

So which park is better? My first instinct is to yell “DISNEY WORLD!” at the top of my lungs, but that is probably a biased response based on my magical childhood memories of Disney World vacations. The truth is, there are good reasons to visit both places. Whether you are deciding on runDisney races in California vs. Florida or just making plans for a family vacation, here are some of the big differences between Disney World and Disneyland that really stuck out to me.

1. Disney’s Magical Express: This is a free shuttle service that is provided from Orlando International Airport to the Walt Disney World resort. It will take you directly to your hotel, and it plays fun Disney videos along the way. This service does not exist at Disneyland, which makes the commute from airport to hotel a little less magical. You will need to call an uber, a taxi, or rent a car upon arriving at the airport.


Photo courtesy of

2. Variety of Parks: At Disney World, you can visit Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and a couple water parks. Disney transportation is provided to take you from park to park. In California, you can visit Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure. The two park entrances are right across from each other so you can easily park hop back and forth. Obviously, Disney World has more variety and more things to do – from Animal Kingdom safaris to the Epcot World Showcase and even a simple monorail ride. However, Disney’s California Adventure does have quite a few unique places that you can’t find at the Walt Disney World resort. Some especially unique things include Paradise Pier and Cars Land.


Paradise Pier in Disneyland

3. “It’s a Small World”:  Seriously you guys, if you need one huge reason to go to Disneyland, this is it.  The “It’s a Small World” ride in Disneyland makes the Disney World version look like a joke. It is hands down the happiest thing I’ve ever experienced. It has to be at least four times the size. The outside of it is so beautiful that I felt the urge to take a picture every single time we passed it.


“It’s a Small World” in Disneyland

4. The Shows: It could just be me, but I thought the shows in Disneyland were much better than Disney World. Maybe it’s because of its proximity to Hollywood, but I was really impressed. This isn’t to say that the shows at Disney World are bad. I really love the Beauty and the Beast show in Hollywood Studios and the Lion King show in Animal Kingdom, but Disneyland takes the lead on this one. The Aladdin show in California Adventure is HILARIOUS. The Genie had me laughing out loud every five minutes. In Disneyland, I enjoyed Mickey and the Magical Map so much that I saw it twice.

5. The Castles: You cannot go to Disneyland expecting the same Cinderella Castle experience that you get in Disney World. It is MUCH smaller. And it belongs to Sleeping Beauty. Enough said.

6. Resort Transportation: The process of getting from your hotel to the parks is completely different in Disneyland. There are only a few Disney owned hotels, and these are in close walking proximity to the park. Even some of the non-Disney hotels are close enough to walk. Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel has its very own park entrance connected to the building (but it’s a very pricey hotel). In Disney World, if you stay at a Disney hotel you can get to all the parks and resorts by free shuttle service.

7. Pirates of the Caribbean: I put this one on here because I really felt like the ride was a different experience in Disneyland. During the ride, you do see a few different things along with some familiar scenes, but what really felt different was the ride setup. Walt Disney’s Dream Suite is right above the ride which makes it feel really special. There is also a restaurant called Blue Bayou that’s inside the ride. It makes the whole opening scene of the ride really unique and worth visiting.


Blue Bayou – photo courtesy of

8. Fireworks: In my opinion, nothing is quite as magnificent as the fireworks displays over Cinderella Castle in Disney World. I’m also a big fan of Illuminations in Epcot. When it comes to fireworks, they are just bigger and better in Disney World. There are WAY more fireworks shows and they are way more often. Although, in Disneyland’s defense, there is a really cool fountain and light show called World of Color. Unfortunately, depending on drought conditions, fireworks are cancelled way more often in Disneyland (forest fires are NOT magical). Disney World is always ready to go with any situation. One time I was there for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and it was pouring down rain. Not only did the fireworks still happen, but they started right on time.

9. Character Appearances: There were way more character appearances in Disneyland and they were very spontaneous. In Disney World, I feel like taking your photo with a character always involves a Fastpass or some extremely long line. In Disneyland, I just ran into Minnie and Mickey right at the front of the park, and I saw someone else just spontaneously run up to Cinderella and take a selfie.


Hanging out with the ultimate power couple in Disneyland

10. Celebrity Sightings: I can’t finish off this list without mentioning that Disneyland has far more celebrity sightings than Disney World. Melanie ran into Seth Green once, and we ran into Kathryn Hahn in May. Also, I think Britney Spears was there this weekend recreating her Oops I Did It Again album cover with her sons. 

To sum all this up, you really just have to visit both places. You can’t expect the experience to be the same, but you just haven’t seen every bit of Disney magic until you’ve been coast to coast. What do you think is the biggest different between the two? Send us a tweet @runsintutus!


Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend: How and Why You Should Register

The Runs in Tutus team has been doing some extensive planning for the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon in November. We will soon be posting some information about our planned activities which will likely include wine tastings, special tours, Eat to the Beat concerts and more. In the meantime, one of the most important times of the year has arrived: REGISTRATION FOR THE DISNEY PRINCESS HALF MARATHON WEEKEND! I consider this to be the Superbowl of runDisney. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all the runDisney races I’ve run. I even enjoyed the 2012 Tower of Terror 10 Miler despite it being so hot and humid I almost puked at the finish line. But there is something about the Princess weekend that makes it even more magical than the rest.

All four Runs in Tutus runners are already officially registered for the 2016 Glass Slipper Challenge which includes the Enchanted 10K and the Disney Princess Half Marathon for a total of 19.3 miles. The official registration for all races associated with the Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend will open up on July 14th at 12PM eastern time. Now that the race has become so popular, you literally need to be at your computer at 11:55AM ready to register when the clock hits 12. Do not pull a Cinderella and start running to your computer at 12:02. When registration opens, it will take you to a virtual queue based on who got to the site first, then you will be able to register when it’s your turn.

You may feel extremely stressed during this time. The race WILL sell out and it will happen fast. JUST BE PREPARED!

If you would like to avoid registering through the virtual queue, there are a few other options. Caroline got access to early registration by being an Annual Passholder. Melanie, Christine and I registered through one of the runDisney travel providers. With this option, you purchase both your race bib and hotel at the same time by contacting the travel agent. They haven’t listed the travel providers on the Princess website yet, but they’ve already started selling bibs. Some may have sold out already, but you should give it a shot. The travel providers sometimes receive more race bibs later on if they sell out (or so I’ve heard). Here are some you can try:

  • Acclaim Travel
  • Cruise Planners
  • Cruise Planners-I Can Show You The World
  • Dream Departures Travel
  • Foerster Travel
  • GET Sports
  • Girl on the Run
  • Heart of the Valley Travel
  • Marathon Tours
  • Once Upon A Time Vacations

Another option is to run through a charity organization. Not only does this guarantee you a race bib, but you also get to raise money for a great cause! They have not listed the charities yet, but there are more and more each year that you can run with. They even had the ASPCA listed as an option for the Wine and Dine this year. Just keep checking the Princess registration page here. Click on “registration” then click on “charity groups.”

I know what you’re thinking. This registration process sounds like a nightmare – why should I bother with it? Here are FIVE reasons why you SHOULD NOT miss the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend. 

1. It is perfectly acceptable to wear a tiara and sash from the moment you arrive until the moment you leave. In fact, if you wear a tiara, virtually every Disney cast member will refer to you as “princess” throughout the weekend. 

2. You can pretend like you’re a kid again and dress up like your favorite princess. This is strongly encouraged and the costumes get more elaborate every year. Here are a few of the costumes we’ve had over the years:


Rapunzel, Mulan, Princess Tiana


Elsa, Ariel, Vanellope von Schweetz, Mrs. Banks “Votes for Women” costume


Evil Stepsisters




From left to right: Glamour Cinderella, Pink Dress Cinderella and Maid Cinderella


Mad Hatter and Rapunzel with Fairy Godmother

3. You can buy tickets to attend Pasta in the Park the night before the race. We tried this last year and were amazed to find it was a BLAST. The evening was “Arabian Nights” themed with character appearances from Aladdin, Jasmine, Jafar and Genie. There was also a dance party, a magician going around to tables doing card tricks, and Mickey ice cream sandwiches for dessert.




Sorry I ate your face Mickey

4. The Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend has the best race expo and the best race merchandise. There are so many fun things happening at the race expo! Our absolute favorite thing is the goofy photo booth opportunities. Be sure to arrive early so you don’t miss out on the awesome race merch like cute wine glasses, shirts and mugs. Here are some of the fun photo booth opportunities over the past few years:


5. The Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend is the ultimate girls’ night out. I use this weekend to do all the extremely girly things that I love with the girls that I love. We sew costumes, have a tea party, wear tutus and tiaras, meet princesses and have the time of our lives. We even meet other runners who are doing the same thing, and we all relish our girl power awesomeness. This race weekend is a place to be yourself. You can be that Disney fanatic who loves Princess Tiana and has seen The Princess and the Frog a hundred times. You can wear the most extravagant costume, cover yourself in glitter, and you will fit right in. You don’t want to miss this race because it’s a place to be HAPPY, make friends and celebrate SISTERHOOD!

Are you convinced yet? We are really looking forward to meeting new princesses at the 2016 Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend. We hope to see you there!


OMG! Disneyland Paris Half Marathon!


The detailed information for the Disneyland® Paris Half Marathon is finally starting to arrive! We are so excited about this race and hopefully everything will work out for us to attend. Here are the details that I’ve been able to find from runDisney, travel agents, and social media.

Disneyland® Paris Half Marathon – September 23-25, 2016 (that’s only 454 days away!)

The inaugural Disneyland® Paris Half Marathon Weekend includes a magical course through Disneyland Paris and the French countryside!  At Walt Disney Studios® Park, you’ll run down Hollywood Boulevard, and past the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. At Disneyland® Park, you’ll run through Main Street, U.S.A., past Sleeping Beauty Castle, and then through the countryside and villages that surround the Disney Parks, circle back to Disney Village en route to the finish line for a victory celebration and your exclusive inaugural Disneyland® Paris Half Marathon Finisher Medal.

It sounds like your best bet for registering for the race is to go through the runDisney Travel Provider Program which will open up for “package registration” on October 6th. My understanding is that this will include something like race entry, hotel room stay, and park tickets all in one package. According to one travel agent, there may also be several add-ons such as tour trips to Paris.

  • Package Registration will start on October 6th, 2015
  • Limited race registrations are scheduled to start on January 12, 2016 for individual registrations.


Disneyland® Paris Half Marathon – September 25, 2016

Disneyland® Paris 5K – September 24, 2016

runDisney Kids races – September 24, 2016

Race Expo: September 22-September 24, 2016

And there will be parties!

On Friday evening, September 23, there will be a private party in Walt Disney Studios Park® with Disney characters, attractions, food and drinks. On Saturday evening, September 24, runners will be invited to a performance of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Hmm…maybe these parties will be included with the registration fee?

This all sounds very exciting!! You can sign up to stay informed on the Disneyland® Paris Half Marathon by registering your email here:


Mike and Sulley’s Buddy Workout: Inspired by Monsters Inc.

photo copy 7

Calling all monsters! It’s time to get in ship shape for your upcoming races so that you can be the scariest, strongest and toughest monster around! This workout is inspired by the great Mike Wazowski and James P. “Sulley” Sullivan. It’s a conditioning workout that’s best performed with a buddy. It’s sure to keep your heart rate elevated and build your endurance, so grab your best buddy and let’s get to work!



Equipment: All you need for this workout is your best buddy, a sense of humor and a “kid.”

We drew a kid's face and stapled it to a stick for a real authentic monster workout.

We drew a kid’s face and stapled it to a stick for a real authentic monster workout.

The Workout: This buddy workout involves exercises from 5 different categories including scary feet, kids in a bunk bed, don’t let the kid touch you, monster crawls and the top scarer celebration. The exercises should be done in a circuit style. Depending on your fitness level, you’ll want to try each exercise for 20-45 seconds. One partner will be Mike and one will be Sulley. When you finish the first round, switch roles with your partner and repeat. How many rounds can you do?? Complete 4 rounds each and you’re on track to becoming top scarer! If you aren’t there yet, don’t worry – keep working on it. Before you know it, you’ll be making your way up the Scarer’s Leaderboard and leaving monsters like Randall in the dust!

Exercise #1: SCARY FEET

Monsters need to be able to move quickly and think fast during a scare mission. When your partner yells “scary feet,” run in place as fast as you can. When you hear “the kid’s awake,” get down onto the ground and stay low. If your partner yells “the kid’s asleep,” it’s your time to shine! Do a squat jump and get as high as you can. To keep the exercise safe for the joints, be sure to land as quietly as possible.


Exercise #2: KIDS IN A BUNK BED

Have your partner hold out the stick horizontally. Step over the stick and then duck under it. Switch directions halfway through so that you get both sides.



This skill is crucial for monsters because a single touch from a human child will kill you. That’s why we’ve offered two different exercises in this section. Watch out for the kid!

  1. Plank Taps: Start in a plank position on your hands. Your partner will simulate the child by going after one hand at a time. Quickly pick up the hand and touch it to the opposite shoulder! Keep the abs tight and try not to let the hips sway back and forth.
    • Beginner modification: Bring your plank down to the knees 
  2. Lateral Reaches: Reach your arms out to the side and bend your knees slightly. Move side to side, performing a side crunch movement to keep away from the kid.
    • Beginner modification: Put your hands on your hips
    • Advanced modification: Extend your arms up over head



You never know when a stealthy monster crawl will come in handy. There are two ways to perform a monster crawl, depending on your preference.

  1. The Sulley Crawl: Get down on your hands and feet. Bend the knees and soften the arms. Stay low and close to the ground. Start to crawl by moving your right hand and left foot, then your left hand and right foot.
  2. The Wazowski Shuffle: Take a seat on the ground and reach your hands behind you. Push the hips up then move your hands and feet to walk.

Advanced modification: Try crawling backwards or going up and down steps



Time to celebrate and show your workout buddy some love! Face your partner and squat low. Jump in the air and give each other a HIGH TEN at the top. Enthusiasm is strongly encouraged.

unnamed-3Nice work monsters. Keep trying the workout and see how much you improve!

You better give it 100%…


You can reference our video below to see these exercises in action. Special thanks to our dad for filming!

– Amanda & Melanie

8 Tips for New Runners: Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Running


When I started training for my first half marathon in 2011, I’ll admit I really had no idea what I was doing. I just walked outside and started running. I wore what I thought was suitable to run in, which included a really old pair of some generic sneakers that I had owned for probably close to 10 years and cotton t-shirts. Since then I’ve learned a lot, and I realized a couple of things that I wish I had known when I started.

Here are the top 8 things I wish I knew before I started running:

1. You need running clothes. 

  • When I first started running, I really thought running clothes were for “serious” runners trying to win races, and I didn’t need them. I learned quickly that you don’t buy running clothes because you’re trying to win, you buy running clothes because of chafing, heat tolerance, and cold tolerance. Why make running more difficult than it already is with uncomfortable clothing? There are a lot of places that sell breathable athletic clothing for reasonable prices. I’ve even found a few running tanks from Wal-mart.

2. You need running shoes. 

  • My explanation here is pretty much the same as what I stated for running clothing. You don’t buy running shoes because you’re trying to win, you buy running shoes because of blisters. I ran my first half marathon in a pair of really old sneakers and finished the race limping with a blister that went along the entire side of my foot (not even exaggerating there). I personally prefer to run in Mizunos, and I like to pair them with Wrightsock Coolmesh II socks. Ever since I started wearing that combo, I’ve been blister free! As a side note, be sure to test out running shoes during training to make sure they work for you before wearing them to a race.

3. Walking is okay! 

  • When I started running, I thought walking meant failure. This is very wrong. Taking walk breaks when needed is actually really helpful and can even give you a faster overall pace! I was really surprised when I beat my fastest mile during a run that included a walk break. Also, thanks to RunDisney, I learned about the Jeff Galloway run-walk-run method, which has been extremely helpful for me with training. You can learn more about the Jeff Galloway method at As long as you are meeting the pace requirements for the race you are registered for, there is no reason to stress about how much you walk.

4. “Bad” days will happen, shake ‘em off! 

  • I remember being far along with my training, when suddenly one day my body refused to run. I didn’t understand what was happening since I had been making a lot of progress up until that point. I’ve learned now that with running, you’re going to have days where it feels fantastic and random days where it feels really difficult.  The important thing is to not let the “bad” days get to you. You have to realize there is no such thing as a “bad” run! Everything you do is progress. The best way to approach a difficult run, is to approach it with a positive attitude. Christine gave some great tips for this in her post “Building Mental Stamina: 4 Strategies for Runners.”

5. Don’t compare yourself to other runners.

  • I used to get really discouraged about my pace and corral placement because when I first started running, everyone I knew was faster than me. I’ve learned now that it doesn’t matter.  We all cross the same finish line and earn the same medal. Everyone’s body is different with different capabilities. As long as you are pushing yourself, be proud of yourself no matter your pace! You’re lapping everyone sitting on the couch.


6. Be mindful of what you eat before a run.

  • It is important to never try a new food before a race.  The threat of a restroom emergency is real. Learn which foods work best for you during training. My favorite pre-run food is a peanut butter sandwich (sometimes with honey) and a banana. Before a RunDisney race, the whole Runs In Tutus team grabs Smucker’s Uncrustables sandwiches and bananas from the grab-and-go cafes located in various Disney hotels as pre-race snacks.

7. Follow a training plan.

8. Cross-training is a great idea. 

  • While the best way to train for a race is to run, I’ve found that cross-training, especially strength training exercises, can really help with your overall running performance. Amanda’s previous post “5 Best Exercises for Long Distance Runners” provides some great ideas for cross training. Along with using the tips from my personal trainer/fitness instructor sister Amanda, I am personally a ClassPass member, and take a variety of different classes to help with overall strength. I think the best way to approach cross training is to find something you enjoy doing. Yoga, Pilates, barre, weight training, kickboxing, dancing – there are a lot of options out there. I’ve even tried a surf inspired class and a Bollywood class!

Surf class at City Surf in Austin, TX


Showing off my Bollywood moves

I hope these tips help some new runners out there!


Five Must-Have Craft Supplies for Race Costumes


Making race costumes has to be my favorite thing about running a race at Disney. I try to keep my costume making as simple as possible because unfortunately I have to go to work and do all those other grownup things that really cramp my style. Today, I thought I’d share my top 5 favorite craft tools for making race costumes.



1. Hot Glue: Oh how I love thee… let me count the ways….. I think I have used hot glue on some component of every single costume I’ve ever made. Hot glue can be used to attach felt, ribbon, buttons and embellishments to shirts, skirts and headpieces. Hot glue guns are cheap and easy to find at any craft store. 


2. Printable Iron-on paper: You can find this paper at craft stores and office supply stores. I use iron-on paper to print and transfer logos onto costume pieces. You can buy iron-on paper for white fabrics, colored fabrics, and breathable fabrics. Make sure you purchase the correct type of iron-on material for the fabric you are working with.


3. Craft foam: Craft foam is very forgiving and can be found in many shapes and colors at craft stores. I find it to be appealing because it’s light weight and easy to cut with general purpose scissors. Most craft stores devote an entire aisle to this magical material. We use adhesive black foam to make mickey ears, and we use foam visors to make crowns and other head pieces. Melanie cut out leaf shapes for her Vidia costume and sewed them together in her sewing machine.


4, Heatbond: This versatile material can be used as a no-sew solution to help you attach pieces of fabric. I’ve used this material to put ribbon trim on tote bags, hem shirts, and attach fabric appliques to costumes. You can also use heat bond on elastic to make a waist band for a tutu. Click here for a tutu tutorial


5. Headbands: Many characters have crowns or headpieces that are an essential component of the character’s look. I purchase these cheap headbands at the craft store in packages of 2-3. They are small metal headbands that make it easy to hot glue fabric or craft foam to make a head piece. Here are a few of the looks we’ve created with plain metal headbands.

IMG_3673 (1)

That’s all the tips I’ve got for now. Do you have any go to craft materials? I am always looking to add to my collection. Happy Crafting!


Wine and Dine Half Marathon Training Plans

photoThe next runDisney race on the Runs in Tutus itinerary will be the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon on Saturday, November 7th. We are really excited to run another Wine and Dine, and I’m especially thrilled that the race now coincides with the beginning of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! I am so excited to experience this ultimate Christmas Disney magic for the first time ever!

With the race quickly approaching, our crew has already started discussing costume ideas, dining reservations and park plans. Sometimes I get so excited about costumes and Disney magic that I forget one of the most important things – TRAINING FOR THE RACE!

For me personally, I’ve run so many half marathons that I can get away with very minimal training. I can always count on being able to finish the race with my average time as long as I do a couple of long runs a month or so before the race. I’ve decided that this year I want to avoid that trend and instead really challenge myself to break through new barriers. This year I will be shooting for a personal record at the Wine and Dine! My ultimate goal is to finish the race in less than two hours (this goal feels so much more attainable after finishing my first full marathon in March).

To hit this personal record, I’ve developed a 16 week training plan that begins the week of July 19th. From now until the first week of training, I’ll be continuing with my regular cross-training, and I’ll be running at least 5 miles a week. Once the plan begins, I will increase my mileage week by week. I plan to run 4 times a week with two days of cross-training and one day of rest.

I’ll be including my typical short runs throughout the week, but to really help with my PR goal, I’ve decided to incorporate some speed-play. I’m going to try a few Fartleks throughout my training to help increase my pace. If you’ve never heard of these, they’re just interval runs where you alternate back and forth between a faster, challenging pace and a slower, easy pace. I plan to alternate between 3 minutes of fast paced running and 2 minutes of slower paced running for my Fartlek runs.

Along with the speed work, I’ve also added a little extra mileage to my training plan to help with my PR. For a half marathon, I usually only run up to 11 or 12 miles before the race. This time, I’m going to try a couple of 14 mile runs to really push my endurance and make the race feel a little easier. I’ll hit the peak of my training the week of October 11th, then I’ll start tapering off the mileage up until the race.

If you’d like to follow along with me to train for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon, you can find My Training Plan here. I realize that not everyone has the goal of hitting a personal record, so I’ve also included a Beginner Training Plan. This is more or less the plan I followed for my very first half marathon. With the Beginner Training Plan, I’d just recommend that you keep at least a 15 minute pace for all of your walks or runs. This will help you feel confident on race day, and you’ll be guaranteed to finish without the dreaded balloon ladies sweeping you off the course. Remember, the only thing that will prevent you from finishing that race is skipping your training runs!

Lastly, I just want to touch briefly on the cross-training days. There are so many fun things that you can do for cross-training: ballet, Zumba, weight-lifting, Spin, kayaking, Disney Inspired Workouts, Yoga, etc. Seriously, the wonderful world of cross-training is limitless. During our training journey to the Wine and Dine, our Runs in Tutus crew will definitely be posting about our cross-training adventures. I will also be posting many more Disney themed workouts. We’d love to hear about some of the crazy workouts you try as well!

Alright, Wine-os. Let the training begin! Do you have any specific training plans? Post your comments or questions below.

Hit the running trail and good luck!