Turn And Run: The Runner’s Guide To The Ragnar Relay

Although a fair majority of us think of running more than the distance from our refrigerators to our beds and need to take a break from it all, there are a few among us with the skill, drive, and determination to run incredible distances.

The Ragnar Relay is a 24+ hour run that spans across state lines everywhere. There are many editions to the race, one starting in Madison, Wisconsin and ending in the heart of Chicago. The tradition first began in 2004 with a few college students fulfilling one of their own father’s dreams. The name comes from an early ninth century hero of Scandinavia, Ragnar, who was known for being a wild, fearless, and spirited leader.

The idea of this relay is to free yourself in running, to go on an explorative adventure with your team and to see the wildlife around you in a new way.

Teams for this relay are made up of anywhere from six to twelve people, and each person runs a leg of the race. Each leg varies in length, some as short as three mile, and some as long as thirteen.

Although it is clearly a feat to complete one of these relays, some people still believe that they could just go out and do it. The most important part of this race is being prepared. So here is a complete list of things to do before participating in the Rangar Relay.

1.  Find Your Team

Every person on your team doesn’t have to be an experienced marathon runner. Even if your team is made up of a bunch of people who have never run a marathon, you can still do well! The key is preparation.

Teams can be any size, from six to twelve, and the legs will be divided in accordance with the size of your team. The length of the legs assigned to any person can be bigger or smaller than everyone else’s, but the more people there are, the fewer miles you’ll probably have to run!

2.  Make Team Shirts!

Every team needs to have team shirts! Thousands upon thousands of people compete in these relay races across the United States. You need to be able to distinguish your team from everyone else! Plus it’ll be a fun way to remember accomplishing something so huge with your team!

3.  Set up a Training Schedule

The greatest runners became great by practicing! Don’t expect to go into a race as intense as the Ragnar and be able to just run it! You have to train.

Keep a schedule for yourself and make sure you’re doing something every day. Make sure that on some days, you run multiple times during the day. Many marathon runners become tired because they’re not used to running multiple times a day. Also, practice on tough courses to practice your balance when running and to give your knees practice in cushioning your steps.

4.  Purchase the Appropriate Attire

Along with your team T-shirt, you’re going to need other articles of clothing. Depending on the climate of the area you’ll be running in, you’ll need either running shorts or athletic pants. Make sure that everything you wear is comfortable, and if it’s cold, make sure to get ear warmers and gloves.

Since the Ragnar Relay is 24+ hours, some of the running will be done at night. For the members of your team who will be running legs at night, they should buy reflective vests so that they can be seen just in case they’re running on or near a roadway.

5.  Eat right!

All of your training means nothing if you don’t eat right and refuel after your workouts. Your body needs proteins and carbohydrates to rebuild and recover after a workout, and to give you enough energy to run in the first place.

The week before your Ragnar Relay, make sure to eat well, and stock up on carbohydrates. These are easily converted to energy, and will help you stay strong when you’ve been running for a long period of time.

6.  Hydrate!

Water is just as important for the recovery and preparation of your body as food is. Make sure that you’re drinking at least two to three liters of water a day, somewhere between eight and thirteen cups.

For the week before the race, you should drink more water than usual in order to make sure that you can stay hydrated during the race.

7.  Remember to Become a Team on a Deeper Level

Make sure that you spend time bonding with your team before the race. You’re going to be put through some difficult tasks during the race and they will challenge your abilities not only as individuals, but as a team as well.

8.   Set Goals For Yourself!

When working out and training in preparation for your race as well as when you’re actually running the race, set goals for yourself. Achieving smaller goals along the way will make achieving the biggest goals seem easier.

9.   Get Some Sleep

Sleep is the time when your body rests and recharges. Getting up in the morning and going for a run is great, but make sure that you get all the sleep that your body needs first. If you start to fall behind on sleep, you can’t catch up, and you’ll be tired for the race.

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” – Alexander Graham Bell



How to Train for a Relay Race

Kate Stefanski is a volleyball player at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. She is originally from Chicago, Illinois, and she is an English major. When she isn’t writing papers and reading Fitzgerald, she blogs her heart out and FaceTimes her nephew. Kate is also a professional writer and blogger for www.DGPromoInc.com.