August 30, 2022
If you had told high school Katie who cried when she had to run a mile during cheerleading practice that someday she’d voluntarily sign up for races for fun, that girl would have probably laughed in your face. I’m proof that people can change, because I’ve signed up for a lot of 5Ks, 10Ks and half marathons since that fateful day on the football field track in rural Alabama.
While I may not be the fastest runner on the course, I do know how important it is to keep a training schedule when working toward a race, even when you are on vacation.
Last December, I was in the middle of training for an important 10K in mid-January, and my five-night stay at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa meant that at some point during my Christmas vacation, I was going to need to go for a three-mile training run.
There are a few different options when you need to get those miles in while in the middle of your Pigeon Forge vacation. If you are keeping your distance rather short, you can stay on the resort property to get one mile in. I took my friend Jo Bess, age 10, with me one morning recently to test out a path that kept us safely on resort grounds.
We began our run, exiting to the right under the Porte Cochere in front of the resort fountain toward the North Parking lot. Utilizing the sidewalk here, we looped through until we made our way towards The Meadows, the big event space near the convention center entrance and the outdoor entrance to Song and Hearth. From here, we did one loop around the outdoor pool past the fire pit and the barn. This loop alone was .15 of a mile, which meant that if you did a few loops just here, you could get in your mile. We instead moved toward the playground area, around the indoor pool entrance to the South parking lot. We did one loop around these sidewalks, making our way back to the front entrance for one mile around the resort.
On our way out for our run, Jo Bess and I met a fellow runner on the elevator. Alice was staying at the resort for the weekend while training for a full marathon. She needed to get 6 miles in, and she opted to go down to run down Dollywood Resorts Boulevard to Veterans Boulevard (the road that runs in front of the Dollywood entrance). There are sidewalks in front of the resort that stretch almost four miles from Goldrush Road to Dolly Parton Parkway. Alice ran her six miles that morning, and she reported back that she loved being able to see Wild Eagle at Dollywood and RiverRush at Dollywood’s Splash Country in the distance as she ran.
If you ask a runner what they hate the most about a rainy training run, it’s that they dread the tread (or treadmill, that is.) But sometimes, the weather just isn’t going to cooperate for a nice run in the Smoky Mountain air. Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort has you covered though, so you have no excuses to get your run in. There is a fitness center on the first floor of the resort, near the indoor pool area and the resort’s Camp DW office. The fitness center has a nice treadmill with televisions to help the time go by fast while you are trying to get that training run done. They have weights and ellipticals, if you need to do some strength work or cross training during your stay as well.
Alice lives in Charlotte, so she’s not very far from East Tennessee fun. She asked me if Dollywood had a run through the theme parks, and I told her about the Light the Way 5K that takes place Nov. 11, 2022. It will be the 10th anniversary of the race, where you run through the gorgeous Dollywood Smoky Mountain Christmas festival light displays! Registration for this fun event is actually open now! And if you want to participate, but 3.1 miles seems a little far to you, you can always do the Light the Way 1 Mile Fun Walk! You can find out more information here (https://www.lighttheway5k.net/).
No matter what’s on your training calendar, there’s a place to get your run in at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort. Good luck on your race, and I look forward to seeing you with your running shoes on the sidewalks soon!
All Insiders Lodging
All Insiders Lodging