Tips for Running a Ragnar Relay

22 Jun

Today I thought it would be fun to list out all the do’s and don’ts that I learned while running my first Ragnar Relay! You can check out my other Ragnar posts here.

Communication Tips

Download WhatsApp and get the rest of your teammates to do the same. You can create groups for your whole team and a group for each van. It makes communication during the race super simplified because everyone is in the same place.  Plus you can share photos along the way! As a bonus it doesn’t need a cell phone plan to work.

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Time stamp your texts. When texting the team about your runners statuses, always include a written time stamp. “Sarah started leg 3 at 10:04am”.  Sometimes cell phone reception can be spotty, so it assures everyone is on the same page, even if the texts arrive late.

What To Pack

Gallon Ziplocs are key. Pack each outfit that you plan to run in and stick it all in a gallon sized ziploc bag. Throw in an action wipe and anything else you’ll want access to for your post-run change. After your leg, grab the ziploc for your next leg and you’ll have a clean change of clothes and everything you need in one place. Put your sweaty clothes in the ziploc and zip them up to contain the smell. I swear, our van smelled totally fine for the entire race because we all store our gross clothes this way!  Also, leave this bag out in your seat so you can get to it easily while the van is moving. I didn’t do this and had to sit in my sweaty clothes longer than I wanted to sometimes.

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Pack toilet paper. Seriously. Ragnar’s port-a-potties were some of the cleanest I have experienced but you don’t want to end up in a situation where you have no access to toilet paper. It also doubles as a wipe for cleaning off window chalk if it rains!

Don’t forget a change of clothes for the ride home. The key here is comfy clothes. Think sweats and a comfy shirt. Anything that will make it more pleasant to be exhausted and in need of a shower for a little longer.

Pack a bunch of running options. I didn’t think I would need a long-sleeved shirt to run in June in Pennsylvania, but it was exactly what I needed for running the night leg. Options, options, options. I recommend having a variety of shorts and leggings too in case you end up chafing and need something that fits differently. Ladies, a fresh sports bra for each run is key.

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Pack layers. Along with the last tip, also bring some comfortable clothes you can layer over your running clothes for sleeping and hanging out in the van.  Comfort is key.

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Gear bag. If you are the last runner (runner 12), pack a bag of things you want your teammates to bring to the finish line for you. I was so glad that one of my teammates brought me my protein drink so I didn’t crash after my last leg. The rest of your team has been done for a while, so they have already recovered and will be ready to do all the things, and you want to be able to enjoy it with them.


Check Out Local Restaurants!  Remember, you’ll have a good 6-8 hours between your van’s running shifts so you’ll have plenty of time to eat a real meal at a real restaurant! You don’t have to survive on peanut butter, bananas and gus. Yelp will be your friend!

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Gym Showers!!! My van had planned to take advantage of a 1-day pass at a gym along the route to get a nice shower after our second leg. It didn’t end up working out because our runners were taking less time than planned but I am definitely tucking this tip away for a future Ragnar. Especially if it’s super humid!

Brush Your Teeth.  Make sure your toothbrush and toothpaste is easily accessible and use a public restroom to freshen up.  It goes a long way.

Have Fun!

TrainI felt prepared going into Ragnar since I had done three simulation weekends where I ran three runs in 24 hours. I had less to stress about on race weekend because I knew I could handle it.

Take a bazillion photos. More than you think you need. I made sure to get a photo before and after every one of my runs and am so glad I did.  At 3am I wasn’t feeling it, but I’m glad I did it anyhow, because I love looking at the photos now.

Have a mascot. It may seem silly, but having a mascot made for a fun distraction and team camaraderie. It also created more opportunities for photos (see last tip)!

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Take the pace pressure off of you.  Ragnar will estimate your leg times based on your 10k pace, elevation and the amount of exhaustion they expect you to feel (so your third leg will generally be estimated as your slowest pace). Our team found that they accounted for plenty of time and we finished well before the cut off. So, try not to stress about pace. Remember, your team is in this together, and slow or fast you will get to the finish.  Enjoy your time running one of the coolest races.

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All posts Ragnar related: Ragnar Pennsylvania Leg 1Ragnar Pennsylvania Leg 2Ragnar Pennslyvania Leg 3Ragnar SWAT Volunteer Q&A




6 Responses to “Tips for Running a Ragnar Relay”

  1. danaelizabethx February 19, 2018 at 3:13 pm #

    great post!! I am sooo hoping to find enough people I can talk into doing this one day! 🙂

    • Becca February 19, 2018 at 3:44 pm #

      AWESOME!!!! It’s a blast


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