Monday, May 30, 2011

Training for Ragnar

In case you are not familiar, Ragnar hosts multiple relay events throughout the country.  I am competing in two Ragnar this summer - Madison to Chicago (June 10-11) and NW Passage (July 23-24).  Typically teams have 12 runners that each run one leg of the race, with three cycles.  So if you were runner #1, you would run first, wait for the rest of your 11 teammates to run, then run leg 13, and 25.  Your team does not take a break and runs through the night.  It is a lot of fun, but a crazy experience. 

Training for Ragnar is unique.  This year I'm runner #8.  My first leg is 6.7 miles, then 2.5, and end with a 9.9 mile leg.  For me, the key to training is to do a couple double run days to get my body used to not having much recovery time between runs.  To be honest, I'm not concerned about my 2.5 mile run.  This will be at night, most likely around 11, 12, or 1 a.m., and will not take very long.  I'm more concerned about ending with my 9.9-miler.

Last year I was fortunate to have my distances decrease as the race went on.  However, last year I ran more miles than I'm supposed to this year.  I've tried to do some double run days in the past month, although it was challenging while training for my half.  Next weekend will be a true test, as I hope to run 7 and then 10 the following morning. 

One of the challenges I learned last year about Ragnar wasn't so much the quantity of miles I was running spread out over two days, but rather the mental side of it.  I wasn't prepared to be by myself and not see another runner for almost all of the my legs.  Other people help me run faster most of the time.  To help me mentally prepare for Ragnar, I've been doing a lot of runs outside by myself.  Although I typically run solo, in the past I've typically been a treadmill runner.  Running on a treadmill for however many miles is different than outside with no one around.  I think I am in a better place this year, but know I still have room for improvement and growth.

This year I will conquer my runs.  They will be awesome.  I am really excited for my night run, which was my favorite last year.  I'm running in a Milwaukee suburb this year and not ghetto Milwaukee, which is nice.  Last year I saw some "interesting" people on my night run and made my support car see me each mile.  This year I know I'll be done in 20 minutes or will be easy. 

Most likely the weather will be nice and hot again this year.

Let the Ragnar fun begin!

Have you ever done a Ragnar or something similar?  What do you think was the hardest part of it?

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