As I prepare for my third Ragnar Relay I feel just as scatter brained as the first. I think that’s normal for any race though, you want to feel prepared both physically and mentally. I can’t help too much with the mental aspect, that’s all up to you, but what I can share is what has worked for me in the past and what I plan to bring for this upcoming Ragnar Relay in the Adirondacks. I’ve got some recommended stuff and then my complete packing list at the end of this post. This is a ton of info, try not to over think it like I did on my first.
Here we go:
There are these three core necessities which each runner needs before Ragnar will even officially let you start.
- HEADLAMP: Make sure you have a decent headlamp. I’m serious, do not cheap out here. One of your three legs will be late at night and there will be small gaps where your headlamp will be providing you with the only light. This has to be wear you spend some money. I use a Princeton Tec remix and it’s been great. It’s not super expensive, $30, but it’s a quality product that I’ve used in the rain, while running Ragnars and in -20 degree weather in the mountains of Vermont.
- BLINKING LIGHT: Ragnar recommends that Nathan brand strobe light and it’s what I went with as well. For $10 you can’t go wrong and it fits the criteria. Again, don’t skip out, it’s only $10!
- REFLECTIVE SAFETY VEST: My first Ragnar I brought along my cable guy safety/ reflective vest figuring I could save a few bucks. I saved some bucks alright, and dealt with a much more baggy and bulkier vest than need be. The second time around I purchased a Nathan brand reflective vest that had much less material and was just as reflective and safe as the monstrosity I wore the year before. Again, Ragnar recommends the Nathan brand vest and for good reason, it works!
Those are just the basics. Remember, you are going to be in a van with 5 other people (possibly 6 if you have your own driver) for 24 hours. There are items you will need for yourself and items you will need for your van mates. Your van mates have their own list of stuff they are bringing for themselves, it will look similar to the one I’m about to share. But, I also said you need to bring stuff for them. Here’s my two lists for them and for you.
List #1; For Your Van Mates
- DEODORANT: No, you don’t need to bring a stick for them, bring a stick for yourself so they do not have to smell you. Nothing worse than a stinky teammate that leans on you in the middle of night and tries to catch a couple z’s on your shoulder and stinks to the high heavens. It’s gross and slightly disrespectful. You share the same space and would expect the same of them, right?
- WIPES: This is similar to the need for deodorant. You are going to get sweaty and nasty, it’s inevitable. The best things you can do for your van mates is to minimize that filth. Some Ragnar stops have showers, if you can’t use one or maybe feel uncomfortable, find a stall and wipe down with a baby wipe. I have more to come on this after the race as I’ll be trying out something new, but the fact remains; keep the stank to a minimal level.
- TOOTHBRUSH & TOOTHPASTE: Do I really need to explain this? Hygiene people, keep it real.
That’s a short list but besides food, can be the most important for those you are spending the weekend with. Speaking of food….
List #2; For you
- FOOD – It’s only 24 hours, don’t over do it. Remember, the space in the van is going to be limited. Our van has been chatting and each person is bringing a particular item. For instance, I’m bringing a few containers of water and Nuun electrolytes. Another van mate is bringing trash bags, while another is bringing sandwich stuff. You also want to make sure what you bring can endure 24 hours in a warm van. We are bringing a cooler, but even with that things can go awry in 24 hours. It’s only 24 hours though, you can still eat decent and healthy (vegan). I know we always try to get at least one hot meal when our van is not on the clock. Don’t over think it.
- WATER: Hydrate, hydrate and hydrate some more. Your body is going to be put the ringer and the least you can do for it is to stay hydrated, your recovery between runs depends on it. You can choose to add electrolytes to your water if you like, just be aware of the ingredients and that you are not poisoning yourself with unnecessary additives and dyes.
- CLOTHING: Duh, right? You are not going out for a week, it’s 24 hours. Keep in mind though, you are running three times though so bring at least a couple of pair of shorts and undershorts. Back to hygiene for a sec, bring a plastic bag to put your stinky clothes in. You’re going to want a sweatshirt and maybe some pants you can put over your shorts while you wait for your next leg. You want to be comfortable while you wait, there is a ton of down time.
- SHOES: Obviously you need a good pair that are going to make it through your three runs, but you also want to bring a second pair for the in between times. Heck you may even want flip-flops to let them barking dogs breathe a bit. Point is, you’re not going to wear the same shoes you are running in.
- TECH: It’s the world we live in, so make sure you bring what you need to stay busy and that you bring stuff to charge it with or else you are out of luck. Most of the vans that are rented have tons of adapters to plug into, or you can share time.
So, those are the just the basics. You’ll see in my list below that it’s pretty much based on what you prefer. You get the general idea though right? Think there’s anything to add? Comment below.
Here’s my list
- The 3 Ragnar essentials: Vest, blinking light and headlamp)
- Hygienic Items: Deodorant, wipes, toothbrush and toothpaste)
- Food: Like I mentioned, our van has been talking and we are each bringing a particular item to share, I’m bring the water and electrolytes. As a runner on Strong Hearts Vegan Power we are also afforded samples from our sponsors. Food is not going to be an issue). I’m also bring a couple baggies with single servings of protein powder. While nutrition will be somewhat on point, with all the running I need to add in the protein. It’s taken me too long to gain weight, I’m not looking to lose any.
- Clothing: 3 pair of running shorts, 1 pair of warm-up pants, 3-4 pair of socks, 3-4 pair of underwear (2 of which are compression shorts), of course I’ve got my SHVP gear (tech tee, singlet and sweatshirt). That’s it, basic stuff. No need to complicate things.
- Shoes: I’m bringing my pair of running kicks and a pair to loaf around in. I’m skipping the flip-flops for this round as it’ll be much colder in the Adirondacks at the end of September compared to Cape Cod in the late spring/ early summer.
- Tech: TomTom GPS watch, headphones, my phone (obviously) and phone charger with dual input.
- Incidentals: Body Glide (friction sucks), comb, toilet paper, Kleenex and maybe a small bottle of ibuprofen for any pain or headaches. I am also bringing my massage/ roller stick. It’s an awesome tool to keep the blood flowing and helps in recovery between runs, it’s essential for me.
I’ve said it a ton of times, keep it simple and do not over think this. If you have issues head over to Facebook and ask some Ragnar veterans what they think. This is my third, like I said, and I’d be happy to help as well. Just comment below!