It’s almost that time of year again. Time to squish into a van with six sweaty teammates and run for two days straight. Whether you’re a first-timer soaking up as many Ragnar tips as possible, or a seasoned veteran looking for a refresher, this list provides the less obvious keys to Ragnar Race success.
This is huge. It is perhaps the large, solid gold key of Ragnar racing. For you and your vanmates. When you’re packing for the weekend, put one running outfit for each leg in a Ziploc bag. This will not only save you from hunting through a messy duffel bag at 2:00 AM, but it will be crucial for keeping your van relatively stench-free. After each leg throw your dirty outfit back into the Ziploc, seal, and voila! Goodbye sweat stank.
Cleansing wipes should also not be overlooked. Whatever you can do to feel even remotely clean during your relay is only going to help keep your mood high. No cranky, dirty folks over here. Simply wipe down after your leg, change into your comfy sweatpants, sit back, and relax. One of my favorite brands is Herban Essentials. They use essential oils to scent the wipes. I brought the lavender wipes to Reach The Beach last year and our van smelled like a spa. Another option is Epic Wipes. These don’t provide the spa experience, but they are HUGE; it’s basically a wet towel. If these can’t clean you up, nothing will.
Earplugs + eye mask
So you may look like a goober. So what. A couple hours of sleep Friday night can be a game changer for your final leg. The major exchange points with snoozing have two big sleep hindering things: light posts and port-o-potties. The light posts present an obvious issue. “What about the port-o-potties?” you might ask. Let’s just say the rhythmic slam after slam of port-o-potty door will be forever engrained in your brain after this weekend.
This might seem like an obvious key to Ragnar racing, but it must be said: don’t underestimate the power of food. Ragnar races put you into strange exercise/nutrition situations that the average person has never experienced. Should you eat at 3 AM before your run? After your run? Both? What do I eat? When in doubt, fuel up. From my experience, most people under-fuel and end up with queasy bellies and no energy. Do some experimenting in the weeks leading up to race day. Figure out how soon before running you can eat, and what foods are easy on your stomach. Then, on race day, have a meal/snack schedule planned out (rather than allowing your delusional 4 AM self make nutrition decisions) and come fully stocked with food.
Start HIGH, end high
Keeping spirits high in your van makes the difference between an amazing and an “eh” weekend. Start the race off with energy, laughter, and camaraderie and continuously stoke the fire. Make an upbeat playlist. Pack noisemakers. Get silly.
So are you ready for race day? You’ll do great; now you have the secrets to Ragnar racing success. Just remember: hygiene, rest, fuel, and fun. You can sleep when you’re dead.