Training for a Relay Race

How’s your Tuesday going?!

Mine is swell except for the fact that my bug bites and sun burn are also still SWELL-ed up.

Today I added a sweet potato to lunch to make it a more well rounded meal. IMG_9428 (800x600)

I’m planning on making a protein shake green monster for an afternoon snack before I head to the gym to train 2 clients.IMG_9429 (600x800)

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner:

Winner of the Larabar giveaway is:

Life’s a Bowl March 29, 2012 at 10:54 am [edit]

I’ve never tried a Larabar but have heard great things about them! Growing up, my momma made me breakfast and it usually consisted of a bagel with cream cheese, yogurt, and some type of fruit… And to this day I make myself a similar breakfast :P

Winner of the Naturebox giveaway is:

Kelsey April 3, 2012 at 7:23 am

My fave snack is Chobani with puffins!

*Please email me your name, address and which contest you won.

A few months ago Tina sent out an email asking if I’d like to do the Reach the Beach Relay race in Massachusetts. I had never done a relay race before and being out on the west coast I don’t get to see my east coast blog friends nearly enough – so I jumped at the chance! image

At the time it seemed so far off, plus I really only thought about how fun it was going to be packed in a van with a few of my favorite peeps!

This week our fearless captain Tina sent out the leg assignments. Apparently she hates me because I got the longest, hardest leg! (TWSSx100)

Runner Leg 1 Leg 2 Leg 3
1 2.8 (H) 4.38 (M) 3.37 (E)
2 3.2 (E) 7.43 (H) 8.34 (H)
3 5.98 (M) 5.67 (M) 2.7 (E)
4 5.95 (M) 4.05 (E) 8.11 (H)
5 3.31 (E) 3.65 (E) 4.55 (E)
6 6.9 (H) 2.85 (E) 6.65 (M)
7 7.6 (H) 6.51 (M) 5.58 (E)
8 7.53 (H) 8.21 (H) 6.74 (H)
9 6.01 (H) 6.93 (M) 6.88 (M)
10 5.93 (M) 2.37 (E) 6.47 (E)
11 5.73 (H) 4.34 (E) 7.29 (M)
12 6.01 (E) 3.61 (E) 7.12 (M)


To be honest, I didn’t plan on training for the relay because we aren’t trying to hit a certain time, we’re trying to have fun! But, now that I’ve realized I’m going to be running 22.5 miles in 24 hours – and two of those legs are considered “Hard” – I need to put a training plan together!

The Ragnar site has a beginner and intermediate training program for their relay.

I think the most important thing is to do two or three runs in a 24 hour period to get your body used to all that mileage.

Running 22 miles in 24 hours would be hard enough, but when you factor in traveling across the country, lack of sleep, 6 girls squeezed in a van, eating Teddi Grahams and Red Bull for breakfast – I’m thinking this is going to require me to actually be prepared!

Since Reach the Beach isn’t my “goal race” in terms of PR-ing I am not going to plan an entire training cycle around it. But, I do need to train for it.

Here are the facts:

  • I’ll be running 22.50 miles in 24 hours
  • I will be traveling from California to Boston (which always screws up my energy levels)
  • I will be running after 10am PST (the official shut off time for my body)

Here is the plan:

  • Keep Running 4-5 days a week
  • Do “two a days” once a week (Run twice in one day)
  • YOGA once a week to help keep me injury free

I just checked and the race is only 6 weeks away. Ah! I didn’t realize it was so close!

I’m hoping to get 5 two-a-days in by the week I head to Boston. I HATE running in the afternoon, so it’s going to suck. Hopefully, this will make the actual relay more pleasant though Smile

Question: Ever run a relay? How did you train?


  1. says

    Oh my gosh that’s crazy. And exciting. I have never run a relay race except in grade school for various gym torture classes to amuse the teacher. You’ll be fine because you’ll be running on adrenaline. And Teddy Grahams.

  2. says

    I haven’t done a relay before, but I am doing 2 this summer – Ragnar NW Passage and H2C. By that point I will be heavy into marathon training, so the amount of mileage will be good. I’m planning on adding in 2-a-days to get ready. I’ll need to work on some hills too.

  3. Ida says

    I think adrenaline will be a big help during the relay. If you can run 20 miles straight you can do the relay without any trouble. Just be sure to eat and hydrate with good fuel(which can be hard when your in a van filled with snacks). And take it easy on the 1st leg.

  4. says

    That relay sounds like so much fun!
    I used to do tri relays…I was the swimmer. I trained always keeping my teammates in mind…I never wanted to let them down!

  5. says

    Clearly she thinks you are the team rockstar if she gave you the most miles! Or she’s trying to torture you. I’m going with the former. :)

    I didn’t do any special training for my regular ragnar, 12-man relay. I don’t think I was even running more than 25 mpw. Granted, I probably ended up running slower than I had expected but I don’t know that two-a-days would have made any difference. It was the 85-90 degree heat that weekend that kicked my butt.

  6. says

    I’ve done a Ragnar relay 3 times now and honestly I didn’t train any differently. I never did 2 a days or switch up when I ran. The energy you get from being part of the relay team will carry you through and in fact make you run faster than ever (it did for me!). Don’t stress too much about 2 a days, especially since you are a very strong runner, just have FUN!

  7. says

    You’re going to do so great! You already run so much, you’ll dominate it! I lovvveeee relays, you’re going to have so much fun! In fact, I just posted my Nuun hood to coast application today and am so excited about it, go check it out! :-)

  8. says

    Wow that relay is intense!! I’ve been trying to talk a few friends of mine into doing a relay, but maybe we will just start off with a smaller/shorter one. I don’t know if my body would be too happy stopping and starting running that often for 24 hours. Can’t wait to hear how your relay goes!

  9. says

    I ran in a 100k relay back in the day. I only did 5.4 miles of it. I didn’t know my team, but they sort of interviewed me for it. We weren’t really serious. My run was tough. I was just off. Everytime I landed on my right leg I had serious pain. I had to finish because I didn’t want to let the team of strangers down. We actuallly placed and later that night I was in surgery getting my appendix out.

  10. says

    Your relay sounds like so much fun!! I’m doing my first ever relay in 6 weeks as well- I can’t wait! We’re dressing up in 80’s clothes and our group is awesome so it should be really fun :)

    Looking forward to hearing about yours!!

  11. Sally says

    I have two ragnar relays under my belt and I’m doing my third in 5 1/2 weeks! Funny enough we are running from Plymouth mass to Provincetown cape cod!! I agree that the two a days aren’t critical. I ran about the same mileage (22) but it was 4 separate legs. There was one leg that was at about 4am and I was freaking out but it turned out to be my favorite one because I got to cross a state line and get to see a beautiful sunrise.

    I just gave this advice to SR that is you need to make sure you don’t cramp up in between running legs. You run 7 miles and then sit in a van for a ton of hours… We make sure our van has a foam roller. Bring sunscreen and bug spray! (sorry couldn’t resist). Also be prepared with food. I thought I was so cool bringing turkey sandwiches and forgot to get replacement ice for the cooler and they spoiled:( luckily I had backup peanut butter and bread. It’s so much fun and the spirit of the event will surely be your favorite part. The running is more relaxed. No need for a garmin:) have fun!!

  12. Denise P. says

    I’ve got my first relay – Ragnar So Cal in 2.5 weeks. Eeek!

    I have not done much back-to-back training aside from climbing the (stairs inside the) 2nd tallest building in LA on Saturday and running my fastest ever 5K on Sunday.

    I plan to get in a good multi-run workout in this weekend.

    I still don’t get how they rate the legs. I’m assuming they factor in elevation increase and the terrain, but some of them don’t seem anymore difficult than others – elevation wise and are rated much different.

  13. Denise P. says

    Oh but I am trying to figure out how to prep for the 1 am leg, not so excited to try that as a single gal running in So Cal in the middle of the night.

  14. Krystina says

    That sounds like such a fun challenge! I read both yours and Tina’s blog daily…if anyone backs out and you need a replacement runner, I am so in! :)

  15. Katharine says

    I’ve got a three month old right now so all my long runs are made up of two or three a days. I definitively see the benefit of training on tired legs but I’d still rather do them all in one. Maybe I should have chosen a relaY instead, at least that way I’d be training appropriately. Good lick with the afternoon runs, I usually try to do all the partsas close together as I can since I’ll have to run it straight on the day.

  16. Jen says

    I’m very excited to hear about your training for this event! I’m doing the same race in Ky – aptly named the Bourbon Chase since we are famous for it. I’m not sure how to train to run 3 times in 24 hours? I’m not a runner AT ALL! I contend that I must have been drinking bourbon when I agreed to this LOL. Any advise??

  17. says

    I don’t know if RTB decides leg difficultly like Ragnar does, but the E/M/H/VH for ragnar doesn’t always mean because of the terrain, often it’s because of the distance of the leg and the overall distance for the runner. For example anything 4 or less will be easy, anything 6.5+ will probably be marked hard (unless it’s with 2 3 or 4 milers, then it would probably be easy). So don’t be too nervous about the difficulty ranking!

    Also, doing 2-a-days once or twice a week will help you get a feel for the relay, especially if you time them right so they’re actually basically 3 within 24hrs (like 7am, 6pm, 7am). Not quite exact like the relay (and you’ll have more sleep at home), but at least it’ll give your legs/body/mind somewhat of an idea what to expect!

    We can talk more about this when I call you tomorrow if you want. :)

  18. says

    I ran a 60 mile relay, with 60 people. Sooo I guess that isn’t much help. Kidding! We did a 60 miler with 4 people so it wasn’t as far as you have to run. None of us trained specifically for the relay, but just make sure you don’t fall asleep in an awkward position and then have a body part cramp up (I was just sitting funny and my foot was asleep for half of one of my legs). That sounded funny (foot, leg). Teddy grahams are perfect fuel.

  19. Amy says

    My husband and I are doing Reach the Beach also! I haven’t done any specific training-but we have been training for a half marathon next weekend, so hopefully that will be enough (that, and the fact that I work 12hour night shifts, so I feel like a ton of my runs are on no sleep!) I hope I get to see you at the relay!

  20. says

    this is pretty helpful…i’m running the adirondack ragnar in september and i didn’t even think about setting up any training plan (i’ll be training for my first marathon during that time too) so maybe i should think about running 2x a day on some days when it gets closer to the race.

  21. says

    Crazy that you’re talking about running a relay, I just ran my first one this past Sunday, and didn’t find out I was running it until Thursday! It was a 44 mile race here in Kansas City and I was expecting to run 10-12 miles of it, but thankful I got stuck with 5 because by the time it was my turn to run (2:30pm) the temps had already reached 90 degrees. It was hands down the hardest 5 miles of my life, but the experience was SO fun, you’ll have a blast at your relay!

  22. says

    I ran the Ragnar Relay–and it was my FIRST road race! I had no clue what I was getting myself into when my brother suckered me into agreeing to do it just two weeks before the race. I didn’t train for it, and the farthest I’d ever run up to that point was just 9 miles. All of that said, it was SO MUCH FUN! Your body has a chance to recover between legs, so it’s not as bad as it sounds when you look at the total mileage.

    I loved it so much that I am going to be running the Ragnar Florida Keys in January with 11 strangers from around the country who have all lost a lot of weight and become runners, like myself. Fun times!

  23. says

    i LOVE relays–so much more fun than normal races! i did madison to chicago twice and then ragnar dc last fall…next up is RAGNAR napa in september!

    honestly i don’t train special for it–and you probably don’t need to either. i never did two a days but my body handled it just fine (granted, you will be sore…very sore!)…we do it with 9 runners and each run 4 times instead of 12 running 3 times. shoot me an email if you have any questions :) i’m so excited for you!

  24. Lauren Thornton says

    I am actualyl super jealous that you’re doing Reach the Beach. My (now) coworker asked me to do it last year, but I wasn’t fast or confident enough. Now I am DYING to do it! And not only do you get to visit Boston, but see other random Masschusetts places!

  25. Michelle says

    I. AM. SO. JEALOUS. I am the ONLY one of my friends who runs any distance longer than 1 mile and they all think I’m crazy with all the half and full marathons I do. I LIVE IN HAMPTON and wanted so badly to do the relay this year and couldn’t find a team. (*Add sad pathetic face here*) Run for me! Have a super fun time. It will be awesome and if nothing else at least you will have a fantastic time and LOTS of laughs over on the East side! :-)

  26. says

    How FUN! I *just* ran a relay in Texas, on the same weekend you covered the IM in Galveston! We actually lost relay team members because of that race. 😛

    The things I can tell you:
    – Eat. Make sure you eat! You won’t want to after your night run, but make yourself get nutrition.
    – Even though you’ll be going, going, going – try and get some shut eye! It’ll do WONDERS for you. This year, I got almost no sleep so next year, I’m definitely bringing some melatonin to help me along.
    – Pack an ice pack. You never know when you’ll need it..

    I leave you with this training video:

  27. Deedee says

    Ran my first relay 2 weeks ago. We ran 60 miles with 7 girls. It was a ton of fun but the second leg was alot harder than the first, which surprised me. My first leg was a 5.5 hard and my second leg was a 3 moderate. Lots of hills and my legs were not keeping up with my mental state. I would say run a couple 2 a days just so you know how your legs will feel on the later runs. Good luck and have FUN!!!

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