If you were to ask any soon-to-be Ragnarian what the hardest part of a 12 person, 200 mile overnight relay would be they would probably answer “not getting any sleep” and rightfully so. In fact, Ragnar has worked it into much of their marketing scheme.
Run. Drive. Sleep? Repeat.
Don’t get me wrong. The question mark is there for a reason. Do you really get sleep? No, probably not that much BUT if you were to ask a Ragnarian what the hardest part of a Ragnar Relay is they will tell you it’s not the lack of sleep OR the actually running. It’s riding in a van between running your legs.
Think about it: You finish your first leg and then hop back in the van to ride along for the next several hours until you’re ready to run again. At first you’re stiff but when it comes time to finally run your second or third leg, they can feel like lead.
This is where an experienced Ragnarian (like myself) would come in and tell you that yes, your legs could feel like the heaviest concrete blocks ever IF you don’t take the care of them. Thankfully, there are some easy ways to keep your legs fresh that don’t involve too much effort….which is important since you’ll be sleep deprived and all that jazz ? Since Reebok Ragnar Relays are fast approaching this fall, I figured no better time to share these tips than now!
Roll out! Roll out! Roll out! Roll out!…..everyone have some Luda stuck in their heads now?
Good. But seriously, Giving your muscles a little TLC after your legs is where it’s at. Obviously, there isn’t room in the van to pack a huge foam roller and to be honest, they really aren’t my go to anyway. I prefer something a little more handheld and easy to store in the van – like the TriggerPoint Grid STK Foam Roller. It’s literally like a mini foam roller on a stick. It’s designed with these ingenious AcuGRIP handles and the rollers have the grid surface technology!
Another favorite of mine are the TriggerPoint massage balls! They don’t take up a lot of space so they’re easy to pack and you can even roll them along your sore buns and legs while you’re on the road to pick up your next runner!
If you’ve been in the running game for a while, you are probably familiar with the benefits of compression socks. Compression helps to repair damaged muscles and tissue by supplying more blood flow through them which reduces muscles soreness and recovery time. Some runners like to wear them during their runs and others like to wear them just for recovery. A lot of runners will do both!
Since compression socks can run a little pricey, fit and quality should be taken into consideration before you buy. CEP Compression offers a wide variety of socks – seriously they have Ultralight ones for when you’re running in the heat, Merino wool socks to keep your tootsies warm in colder climates and even compression socks with all different heights – no show, low cut, short, you name it!
Wearing them in-between legs will also help to prepare your muscles for the next leg by keeping them nice and warm!
No, but seriously, it is so important to stay hydrated. Sitting in a car, chatting, laughing and passing the ride away with all sorts of fun; can make it really easy to forget to drink up then all the sudden you’re out running your leg and you’re feeling super thirsty…which can lead to leg cramps (ouch).
While on support legs, your van can stop to quench your thirst, there other times they can’t. This is why I typically bring my handheld Nathan handheld with me. Instead of clogging up the van with 20,000 water bottles, I suggest getting a few gallons of water and refilling a reusable handheld – takes up much less room not to mention creates less garbage.
For shorter legs I like to take the Nathan SpeedShot Plus Handheld Flask and for longer runs where I want to have my phone and carry fuel, I take the Nathan SpeedView Flask with Phone Case!
Get out and CHEER
This might sound a little cliche but I swear getting out of the van, moving around and cheering on your fellow teammates with some mo’ cowbell is not only what it’s all about but will also help to reduce muscle soreness and stiffness.
I promise you not only will your fellow Ragnarians appreciate it but your muscles will too! 🙂
Annmarie Licatese, is a stay at home mom turned momtrepreneur who is an expert in making kitchen messes and taking juice box orders, all while blogging like a boss and squatting at the same time.
When she’s not creating healthy, allergy friendly recipes for TheFitFoodieMama.com or working out to save her sanity, you can find her running Ragnar Relays through the night and improving the performance of athletes at Strength In Motion Studio, which she currently owns and operates.