Ragnar‘s 2014 season kicks off this morning with the Key West race (on the bucket list)! Last year I ran my first Ragnar and was instantly hooked. When I first registered I was excited but then really nervous – what had I signed up for?! An overnight relay race taking me 200 miles across Massachusetts – intimidating! But after my running my first leg I realized I made the right decision signing up. Here are a few things I wish I had known before running Ragnar:
The mileage you signed up is more than likely going to change race day. I was assigned legs that were 6, 4 and 3 miles long – the 6 miler was on point, but the 4 and 3 were cut almost in half (thanks for picking up the extra miles Matt!). Some legs end up longer and shorter than others – it’s not always going to be 100% to what you trained for. There are also no set times for when you’re going to be running your legs – you might end up running in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning, depending on your team. Prepare for anything and everything.
This Isn’t Your Average Race
You’re not going to run your average race time. When I started I felt great and ran my first leg around my usual 10K pace – by my last leg I was running slower than my marathon pace. The lack of sleep and mileage definitely catches up so don’t worry about pace with a race like this.
Communicate Communicate Communicate!
It’s so important to have clear communication with the other van of runners on your team! Set up times to check in with each other (like after the second to last runner in the van) to get an idea of where they are and how many miles they have to go – this is especially important during the night runs when you can get a few hours sleep. Before you start the race set expectations with both vans on how you’ll communicate.
If You Think You Might Need it, Bring it!
I originally had no idea what to pack for the race. I didn’t want to bring too much, but I did want to bring enough “just in case” items. If you think you might need something – bring it. A few of my MUST haves:
Battery pack – there are only so many outlets in a van and lots and lots of electronics that need to be charged between everyone. Bring your own power pack to make sure you can charge (this is the one I swear by – I get 5-6 full charges on my iPhone with it)
Peanut Butter and Bagels - These were the perfect meal for in between runs. You don’t have to eat anything too heavy if you’re going to be running again a few hours later.
Toilet Paper - Ragnar does a good job at providing lots of port-a-potties on the course, but after so many runners most of them run out of toilet paper. Definitely bring your own.
Multiple Running Outfits - You’re going to be running at all different times of the day and potentially different weather – when we started Cape Cod we were right on the ocean and it was FREEZING! A few miles in we were inland and it warmed up. Bring layers with you as well as changes of clothes – nobody wants to run in (or smell you running in) dirty old clothes.
QOTD: Have you ever run Ragnar or an overnight relay?