I had the privilege of running my first Ragnar Relay the summer of 2012. It was so much fun that the moment the Relay was open for 2013 I grabbed a spot. I grabbed it without even having one person on my relay that's how much fun it was. In fact when I was talking to my husband about doing this (you have to put down over $1000 for a spot) he said, "Only if I get to be the driver again." Guess he had fun too!
What is a Ragnar? Simply put it is 12 friends in two vans running a relay "race" of about 200 miles from point A to point B over two days (roughly about 30 hours). You run your leg, rest, run your leg, rest, run your leg, rest and party. It is so much fun.
So here it is 2013 and I'm the captain trying to steer her team to victory. I set up a facebook group so that we can post our training. I find that when I post my training I train better, at least that is the idea behind the group. I just hope it works.
1. Run! Ragnar has a great training guide for those who are experienced runners as well as those who are new to Ragnar. Use it. I believe that each Ragnar event has its own schedule. If not fine a schedule. There are a ton on the internet or in books. I just like to get out and run. Here is what i try to do (and I'm not expert).
Monday: Run 3-4 miles
Tuesday: Run 4-6 miles
Wednesday: Run 6 miles
Thursday: Run 4-6 miles
Friday: Rest (important to not skip this part)
Saturday: Long Run
Now my long runs can range from 6 miles to 18 miles depending on where I am in my training to an event. I try to add two miles a week until about four weeks before my event with the max at 20 miles (or 3.5 hours). Don't forget to taper.
2. Run at different times during the day and make sure you do a solo night run. Make sure you run with a vest, headlamp and tail light. It is a totally different feeling running in the middle of the night and each runner will be running at least once during the night. It might not be pitch black, but you will have to run with a headlamp and vest and that can be different.
3. Split your milage. Take your milage and split it up during a 12 hour period. In other words run 3 miles in the morning and then do a 3-6 mile run later in the day. It's even better if you can add another 5 mile run during the 12 hours as well (a lunch time run). During a Ragnar you will be running three different times without a long rest period.
3. Run in your gear. Make sure you wear what you are going to run in; don't "save" it for race day. There is nothing worse than being two miles into your six mile leg and finding out that your shoes aren't right or the shorts ride up and you are uncomfortable.
4. RUN! RUN! and RUN!
What to pack?
You will need three complete running outfits from the inside out. The only thing that you might be able to reuse is the shoes, but even then I would have at least one pair of backups. Living in the northwest it rains and I HATE to run with wet feet! I don't mind the rest of me being wet, but I hate running with wet feet. Last year we had a downpour during the first six legs and when we were "resting" we had to find a laundromat to dry out our shoes. I'm glad I had two pair of shoes.
I would suggest that you put each outfit in a ziplock bag (minus the shoes) so when you are trying to find your outfit you will only need to find one thing (ok, two if your shoes are not in the bag). Then when you are done running you can then put the sweaty, stinky running clothes into a bag that can be zipped up. Your teammates will thank you.
Don't forget to make one of the outfits your night running gear.
Here is the list of items in my personal bag:
Three ziplock bags with my running attire (bra, top, bottom and socks) with one of them being my PM outfit (long sleeves). And a team running shirt.
One ziplock bag with my comfy clothes in it (if room I'll slip in a second shirt).
Running jacket just in case it is pouring
Sweat shirt (it's cool at night)
FRED (flashing Rear End Device)
TWO running shoes and an extra pair of socks
Garbage bag for soaking clothes & a couple ziplock baggies
Ear phone, iPhone & charger
Running belt (just in case my leg has no van support)
Quarters & Cash
Body Wipes & Deodorant
Hair band, hair brush
Running chews & Nuun
Cosmetic bag: (see below)
First Aid: (see below)
You will sleep just about anywhere.
SMELL COMBAT: You will be running and running and running and NOT showering so please bring a box of baby wipes or something so that you don't have to have all the windows down. You may also want to wear something comfortable when not running, so bring an extra pair of clothes to change into during your off times and maybe not too causal as you may hit an eating establishment during your break, but don't over pack. And don't forget the Deodorant!
SLEEP: You may catch a few catnaps but trying to get a good nights sleep will almost be impossible, but still bring a sleeping bag and pad. The gyms at the exchanged during the Northwest Passage are open for those who want to try to sleep. My husband and I slept on the tennis courts last year and had a great sleep considering.
COSMETICS: Not the kind that will make you beautiful, but will keep you beautiful. Sunscreen and bug spray. Don't forget toothbrush and toothpaste (a must if you want to still be INside the van come morning. If you wear contacts don't forget saline solution and a pair of extra glasses--just trust me on this one. Oh, and chapstick. I throw in shampoo and conditioner just in case there are hot showers at the end and you get a chance to take one. And bring a whole box of babywipes and share. I have long hair but wear a ponytail when I run so a brush and hair band (or two) are needed.
FIRST AID: Grab a box of band aids for the car, a few ziplock baggies (they hold ice better than the produce bags at the local market). An ace bandage comes in handy too. BODY GLUID! I live by that stuff. Safety pins if only to hold the big number on. Foam roller or Stick (love 'em), compression socks (use 'em), Hand Sanitizer: all you have are port-a-potties--need I say more! You can either put this together for the van or you can bring it as an individual. Oh, and don't forget your favorite pain med.
EXTRA: Quarters for the laundromat dryer or you end up with $20 worth of quarters. gum, window markers, cow bells, whistles, streamers, sunglasses, umbrella. sharpies, wash clothes, phone chargers, a towel for either the hot shower (if you take one) or the rain shower, camera and a smile!
On my team we let each van decide how to handle the food. It is hard to do it completely communal food when there are food allergies, likes and dislikes and on event day is not a day to stray too far from your normal or you wont' be running for the finish line.
My van has two coolers, one that is for personal items (all marked with sharpie and in ziplock baggies) and the other is food for sharing. We all bring stuff we want to share with others. it can be from bagels, cream cheese, grapes to gu, salt tablets and gatorade.
During our rest period we will find a sit down restaurant and each order something to refuel.
I love having a case of individual water bottles as it is easy to toss when you are running and not worry about breaking an expensive water bottle and they are easily refillable. We will also have a couple gallons of water in the car and pick a couple more up when we stop for gas and ice.
We keep track of how many 8 oz. each runner drinks so that no one gets dehydrated. Dehydration is very preventable and if you do get dehydrated it is a trip to the ER spoiling everyone's day. We even track our drivers intake.
It will be so much fun you will be signing up for the next one before you know it!