Month: June 2013

So you want to run a Ragnar Relay ULTRA?!?! (A Training Guide)

Posted on Updated on

As soon as I crossed the finish line at Ragnar Chicago in 2012 I KNEW I would be back. After suffering the heat and chaos of a captaining a 12 person team I also knew in 2013 I would put together a 6 person team and call it a day! So I did what any reasonable runner would do and hired a coach with experience searched the internet for training plans. Though I couldn’t find a Ragnar Ultra specific training plan I did find multiple blogs that suggested one should be in “marathon shape” so I figured I would follow a marathon training plan with some modifications. Since I already had the book “Train Like A Mother” I thought I’d try their “own it” plan. I WILL NOT be re-hashing that plan here. The authors deserve your money so if you are interested in it PLEASE go buy the book. Since I revamped the schedule some and had a few “hiccups” in training you will have to fill in yourself I WILL show you what I did based on my Garmin data (I am also putting myself out there and leaving all the paces, I NEVER claimed to be the fastest). I would also like to mention I am NOT a certified coach/trainer so if you choose to follow any of these suggestions you are doing so at your own risk.
For a video recap of our Ultra adventure head over to Youtube

Training started February 2nd 2013.






Outside of running all these miles I also generally took Monday and Wednesday to strength train. I used a new online library of workouts at mainly because it was founded by a local guy and it gives you the option to customize your workouts.

The other important thing to consider when training for Ragnar Ultra is nutrition. I ate the most of anyone on our team and that left me with the most energy and motivation throughout the journey. Even with only sleeping 1.5 hours.

Pre-Run: Start practicing this RIGHT AWAY. Find out how long before a run you need to eat and what works for you. Choose easily packable/storable foods that give you both carbs and protein. There is NO “right” formula for this just trial and error. If you ALWAYS need coffee/caffeine before a run try to ween yourself from that pre race just in case there is nothing available.

On the run: Practice eating!!! Gels, gummies, pretzels, orange slices, anything. I suggest have 2-3 fuel sources that work for you as you may get tired of using the same one for all 3 legs or one might just seem more appealing at 4am. I found it very helpful during Ragnar to “over eat” on the runs. For example I usually eat about 200 calories on a 10 mile run. Near the end of training I started loading it to 300 – 400 to get my body use to it and also used this plan race day(s). I found over loading just a bit and near the end of each leg to help when I didn’t feel like I could eat right away. It gave me a bit of a window before my system was too depleted.

After the run: : Practice with different recovery drinks find one you could get down even with a bit of stomach distress. Many people experience a bit of nausea when they are sleep deprived. Also make sure it is something portable/storable. During training I pretty much stuck with my Post Long Run beer but since there is NO drinking allowed on the course I used GU Recovery Brew. To be honest I had used it before but NOT in this training cycle so I got lucky it didn’t back fire.

In between the runs: This is hard to practice. Even on days when you do your back to back runs you will still be living your “normal” life with access to “regular” food. Try for at least 2 of those sessions to eat less than you normally would and eat foods you think you will be bringing. The food that CHANGED MY LIFE during the race was turkey on wheat bread. If your stomach can handle it I suggest running pretty soon after a meal as well just incase you forget to eat/ are using that time to sleep and you get stuck trying to get loaded right before a leg. Also try using Imodium or Pepto Bismol a couple of times to see how your body reacts. There was not a single person on our team that did not experience some stomach “issues” these things were a game changer!

Be prepared to do A LOT of laundry and try many different top/bottom combos because you never know what the weather will be so you are going to want many options that have been tested on 10+ mile training runs.

As you see above I did not do any 3x runs. I did a few when I trained for Ragnar as a 12 person but this training cycle I found myself REALLY pressed for finding that “extra” time also you are TRAINING you don’t want to beat your body TOO badly. I found doing a few of the 16-19 mile runs at a faster pace really simulated the pounding I felt in my quads on my last leg.

When possible run at ALL times of the day. Especially if you are nervous about a 3am run start. Find a buddy and find a time to run then. Get to know what the sky looks like, what animal noises are around and get use to the silence (I strongly suggest running your night leg sans headphones, it is a wonderful time to reflect, regroup and visualize your strong finish)

I think that is about it. I will be writing the FULL race recap with some more race day tips like packing and food suggestions soon. Stay in touch through Facebook or Twitter

Other Ragnar Ultra runners: any other training suggestions?

Tighten those laces. Lets RUN!!!


Ragnar Relay Chicago Packing – UPDATE/PICTURES

Posted on

>Last week I wrote a pretty extensive post about what I planned to pack for Ragnar Relay Chicago and I have to say I have pretty much stuck to that list. I ran last year as a 12 person team but decided to push myself and go ULTRA or a 6 person team in 2013. So packing this year was easy from the stand point of experience but harder because the ultra thing is un-know and requires a little more planning since we will be running more = more food/water/electrolytes/recovery. I also found myself planning for more issues like blisters and chafing.

The forecast is looking GREAT as of today *knock on wood* Friday – 67 in Lake Mills, WI. I was really only concerned about Friday’s high because I run at NOON. I did get a chance over the weekend to run part of that route and there is a lot of tree cover. Otherwise I run at 9:30pm and 8:30am. With that I began to pack my clothes in GALLON size ziptop bags:


As of right now I am planning to wear:
Leg 1 (12:00pm): Nike Shorts, new balance tank
Leg 2 (9:30pm): Adidas Capris, 2012 WRT Ragnar shirt, possibly arm sleeves
Leg 3 (8:30am): Nike Shorts, Sleeveless champion shirt

Then there is the nutrition! Here is a shot of my $30.00 worth.


I plan on taking either 2 gels and 3 shot blocks or 3 gels per run (about 11 miles each) I may take in a bit more on my night run depending how my nutrition is throughout the day. I will also carry 8oz water and 8oz Nuun.

I had delusions I could pack in a backpack but once I started I realized I’d have to use my duffel again this year. Especially with the possibility of a “chilly” night.


Besides running clothes I have 1 zip up sweatshirt, 1 towel, 1 swim suit, 1 pair of jeans, 2 cotton t-shirts, 2 non running pairs of socks, and 1 non running bra.

I also took care of van wide needs like the first aid kit:
first aid

As well as some extra stuff:

2 things on these pictures: tampons (we ARE in all women’s team) and 1 pair extra laces! Things you may not think about but could really save your team in a pinch!!!

The extra stuff gets packed in last year’s AWESOME bag and a BIG change from last year is the BIG water jug! Which we will just keep adding ice to.

So there you have it! My Ragnar Packing in pictures! What am I missing? What did I list you had not thought about? If you are running please comment with your team name and start time so we can look for you!! Follow our adventure on Facebook and Twitter (#RagnarChi) (#teamWRT) We start at 6am! See you out there!

Tighten those laces! Let’s RUN!