RAGNAR Relay Training Tips

RAGNAR Relay Training Tips

By the summer of 2013 I had completed three half marathons in just over a year… and I swore I was giving up running in favor of the bike forever. Then, I was approached by Soles4Souls and RAGNAR Relay Tennessee about a possible partnership, and the idea of running again sparked a new fire inside me.

Let me get one thing straight: If I have to choose between running shoes or a bike, I’ll take the bike every time. I do not love running; I also don’t hate it. I’m slow (about a 11 min/mile pace), and I’ve done enough of it to offer up some sound advice for others who like the idea of running but need extra motivation to do it.

RANGAR Relay Tennessee is currently my motivation.

RAGNAR Relay is a 200 (ish) mile running event in which 12 teammates take turns running relay-style. Instead of handing off a baton, they exchange a slap bracelet (yesss!). Each teammate runs 3 times, day-and-night, completing between 3-8 miles each time they run. With an average team pace of 11 minutes/mile or better, each teammate gets about 10-12 hours of rest in between their runs. RAGNAR Relay Tennessee starts in Chattanooga on Friday, October 23rd and ends in Nashville on Saturday, October 24th. Teams supply two vans (to accommodate 6 runners each), and head down to Chattanooga on Thursday, October 22nd to stay overnight near the starting line. The two vans then leapfrog one another, picking up and dropping off teammates along the course, until the 12th runner crosses the finish line at Walk of Fame Park in Nashville. Though there are prizes for “winning,” most teams sign up with the goal of finishing and having one unforgettable team-building experience!

The official charity for RAGNAR Relay Tennessee is Soles4Souls, a Nashville-based non-profit that collects used shoes and redistributes them to impoverished communities both locally and globally. Shoes that are too tattered-and-torn to be redistributed get recycled, making Soles4Souls a sustainable organization. Their goal is to collect 10,000 shoes by October 24th!

How does Team Green Adventures fit into all of this?

We have formed our own RAGNAR Relay team made up of Lightning 100 staff, Team Green trip leaders, Team Green members, and representatives from our sponsors and partners. Twelve of us will train together over the next two months, and anyone in the Greater Nashville Area is welcome to run with us! The big question is, how do you train for a RAGNAR? The distances range between a 5k and 10k, which is pretty manageable for even the most beginner runner to achieve, but it isn’t the distance that creates a challenge; it’s having to run multiple times with sore muscles and sleep deprivation (which is also part of the fun!).

Below are a few tips, each of which our Training Runs will focus on:

  1. Practice running back-to-back (morning run + evening run or evening run + morning run), slowly building up the mileage each week.
  2. Practice running in the dark with a headlamp and reflective gear
  3. Practice waking up at a ridiculous time of night (like 3am!) to complete a run… then go back to sleep!

Nutrition is also a key ingredient with endurance training. Replacing your protein, sodium, and potassium inbetween runs is important for fighting muscle fatigue and improving recovery time. A banana + peanut butter + cocoa whey + espresso + kale smoothie (with a dash of salt) is my go to solution!

Here are a few other tips that keep my mind focused on the run, rather than wishing I was on a bike:

  • Posture: Keep your posture in check. When I get tired, my back starts to slouch and my arms creep upward (like I’m T-Rex). I have to remind myself to straighten my back and lower my arms toward my waist.
  • Stride: When I start to get bored, I notice that I my stride becomes short and it slows me down dramatically. On a bike there are several hand positions and pedal strokes a cyclist can focus on to keep their mind and body busy. A runner stride can have the same effect. When you get bored, goof around with your stride by bounding, adding high knees or butt kickers, and dramatically pumping your arms. The new movements activate new muscle groups and put a little “pep in your step.”
  • Hydration: I don’t care how silly I look; I run with a hydration belt, especially on training runs. At races you can count on water stations, but on training runs you have little-to-no access to water, unless you bring it with you. Just 2oz of water (a “swig”) every 8-10 minutes will improve your energy levels profoundly!
    hydration belt
  • The Burn: You should feel it in your legs only, not on your skin. If you get a sunburn while running, you’re draining any hope at completing your additional runs! Put on sunblock at least 20 minutes before you start running, and protect your eyes with sunglasses. If you easily overheat, try running with a cooling wrap for your neck.
  • The Beat: Running with a playlist that offers a beat to match your pace is a game changer! “You Don’t Know Me” by Ben Folds is a perfect example because my foot hits the ground on que with the tambourine! Find a playlist that motivates you. I’ve created my playlist with a beat that ebbs and flows, as a reminder to save up energy for the end. I know it’s a bit out dated, but here’s what I run with every time:
    • “Speeding Cars” – Imogen Heap (3:32)
    • “Feeling Good” – Michael Buble (3:57)
    • “Fidelity” – Regina Spektor (3:49)
    • “Let Go” – FrouFrou (4:13)
    • “Set Fire to the Rain” – Adele (4:01)
    • “Hide and Seek” – Imogen Heap (4:30)
    • “On the Radio” – Regina Spektor (3:24)
    • “You Don’t Know Me” – Ben Folds (3:09)
    • “Magic Man” – Heart (5:28)
    • “Separate Ways” – Journey (5:26)
    • “If Looks could Kill” – Heart (3:41)
    • “Love Song” – Sara Bareilles (4:18)
    • “Tamacun” – Rodrigo y Gabriela (3:25)
    • “Ride This Out” – Imaginary Cities (2:50)
    • “Let’s Get It Started” – The Black Eyed Peas (3:47)
    • “Ayo Technology” – Milow (3:33)
    • “U + Ur Hand” – Pink (3:34)
    • “Single” – Natasha Bedingfield (3:55)
    • “King of Anything” – Sara Bareilles (3:27)
    • “Don’t Stop Believing” – Journey (4:09)
    • “Many The Miles” – Sara Bareilles (5:11)
    • Totals about 1 hour 25 minutes

If you want to form your own RAGNAR Relay Tennessee team, you still have time to win one (or win a refund if you’ve already registered)! Check out our RAGNAR Soles Sweepstakes, in which each of your 11 teammates can register once online, and every pair of shoes donated to Soles4Souls earns your team additional entries into the drawing. The sweepstakes ends at 3pm on August 28th. The deadline to register a team for RAGNAR Relay Tennessee is September 17th, and the race is already over 90% full!


Do you have your own running tips or “perfect playlist” songs? Share them in our comments section, and share this blog post on social media to inspire others! Also, subscribe to our weekly eNewsletter to get the scoop on our upcoming training runs, and other summer/fall adventures!

– Keeley (Team Green’s Director)

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