First Timers Guide to running RAGNAR

Posted on Location: , 7 min read

Team Outfits: Tank Tops, Shorts: Lululemon | Hats: Amazon | Sneakers: Nike

This past weekend I had the chance to run the Wasatch Back Ragnar race with some awesome friends!  This was my first time I ran a Ragnar race, and it will not be the last!  If you ever get invited on a team to run one, go for it and do it!  I had no time to train and was nervous to do it because I have not ran for over 7 years.  If you have time to train, I am sure the recovery process and overall enjoyment running would be so much better, but it still was a grand ol time!

I lucked out with a team that all really got along and had the same end goals for Ragnar.  If you can, get on a team or create a team that has the same picture as you for the race.  Example, none of our team us cared about our overall run times, but just to have fun and be outside.  If you are competitive, find a team that is keeping track of times, regular runners, etc.

Since this was my first time doing the race, I am in no way an expert on this topic, but I did learn quite a bit.  There were several things I wished I knew before the event so come dive in so you can be prepared for your first Ragnar!

The Ragnar Low Down

Ragnar race is broken up into teams with of 12 individuals per team, or if you are doing an Ultra race 6 people per team.  The run goes anywhere from 200+ miles that will be all completed by your team.  For teams of 12 there are 2 vans with 6 members in each vehicle.  (Your team captains will arrange the van situation).  Each person on your team will be assigned a number that will correspond with your race legs you will be running.  For instance I was runner 3, and ran legs 3, 15 and 27. There are some legs that are more distance, uphill, downhill, hot, cold, so make sure to talk to your team captain if you have any concerns before the race numbers are assigned.  In our van we had legs 1-6 and  Van 2 had legs 7-12.

Ragnar is a relay race.  After you finish your leg you will meet your next teammate at the exchange point and pass off the “baton” or the wrist bracelet to them to continue the run.

For our team we actually only had 6 of us and didn’t know Van 2.  We did get to say hi to them a few times when passing off the wrist bracelet and scheduling arrival times.

Ragnar Race Packing Tips

Packing for the race is a whole diffrent ball game then any event I have ever packed for.  I have done 1/2 marathons, triathlons, mud runs and other fun events but Ragnar is a whole diffrent ball game.

  • Pack in a duffle bag.  You will be sharing a large van or car with your teammates.  Typically space is limited and so you will need to be strategic with your packing.  A duffle bag or one that zips on the top is great because it can be thrown around, shoved under a seat and easy to get in and out of.  We did 99% of changing into one set of clothes into another set of running clothes in the back of the car so it was great to easily grab what was needed out of a duffle bag.
  • Put each running outfit in a gallon ziplock bag with a dyer sheet inside.  You will need 3 outfits total.  If you have matching finale outfits with your team, you will need 4.  (The 4th outfit is to run through the finish line in a nice clean look for pictures.)  Each running outfit bag will have a top, sports bra, underwear, bottoms and socks.  (Men: Top, Bottoms, Underwear, Socks.)  After you run and are changing into your next outfit, you can put your dirty clothes back in the ziplock bag with the dryer sheet in it.
  • Bring a blanket and pillow in addition to your sleeping bag and pad. There are times that the other van on your team will be running and you will have some down time to rest.  You will want your sleeping pad so you lay down on it and be comfy.  Depending on the time of day you may or may not want your sleeping bag so a blanket comes in handy.  A blanket is also great to have around in the car.
  • What to pack– Ragnar has a packing check list here that is pretty awesome.  For all the van items, talk to your team captain and see how that is all working out.  Our team captain was awesome and brought the coolers, snacks, decorating supplies, water, etc and then we all split the cost.
  • Don’t forget the Sunscreen– You will be out in the sun, and it could get really hot! Make sure you are lathered up in a sunscreen that works great!  I brought one that wasn’t great for being out in the sun all day and I got fried even though I was lathering up often. You better believe I was soaking in Lavender after I got home to help with the burns!  I recently got this sunscreen for all my outdoor bike rides and it works like a dream!  It is expensive but worth using to protect your skin.  I wish I remembered to pack it with me for the race.
  • Wireless headphones actually rock!  On the packing checklist it recommend wireless headphones.  If you are having a water bottle to hold, a number around your waist, night lamps, reflective vest, etc. going on….it’s a lot. Not having a head phone wires around will make you run a little less hectic.
  • Get matching outfits with your team.  As cheesy as it sounds, coming in with matching team outfits
  • Bring a Large Trash Bag-  At the end of the race I threw all my stuff that was in the van into the large trash bag.  It was nice to dump all my stuff in one place so it didn’t get lost or mixed up with anyone else’s stuff.
  • Label your items.  Headlamps, vests, stuff that might be lent to other team members, make sure to make your items!  I wrapped painters tape around items that I couldn’t write on and wrote with a sharpie on the tape my name.

Three MUSTS to bring for Ragnar

  1. Deep Blue Rub– No joke, this lotion will save your life at Ragnar! Before every run, I lathered up my knees, calves and shoulders.  This is where my muscles tighten up and get sore really quick.  The Deep Blue Rub before a run helps to get the blood flow going.  After runs I would apply lotion to where it was needed.  Deep Blue after a work out helps your muscles recover quickly.  Personally I felt it gave my legs the strength to keep on running without training.  It was interesting to see those in our van who used this lotion before and after our runs and who didn’t.  The runners who used the lotion had more energy and and danced their pants off all day and night!
  2. Loud Speaker and a Megaphone– Life is more fun when its a dance party and you are cheering others on!  With the megaphone you can yell out the window and cheer all the runners on.  A Loud speaker is great to have around to bring with you to exchange points.  While you are waiting your team can dance while your runner comes into to hand off the “baton” to the next runner.  Our team captain Jen had this speaker and wore it on a lanyard.  It worked awesome!
  3. GPS watch– Each leg is marked with a sign that will tell you when you are on your last mile.  The rest of the distance mile markers are up to you.  I brought my Apple Watch and it worked great.  I  would just start an outdoor run right when I took off.  It helped me monitor the distance.  Sometimes on your run there were will be a ton of people around. Some runs you won’t see anyone.  So just be prepared because you never know if you will be able to ask someone how far you have been.

What I wish I knew before I ran Ragnar

  • Don’t be intimated.  Everyone running the race are all diffrent running levels.  Just go, have fun and enjoy being with your team!
  • All of the race is marked so you when you are running you will know where to go!  If you don’t see a sign, just keep running in the direction the last sign said.
  • You can use your headphones! Isn’t running with music the best?!  Thank goodness you can bring your tunes on this race.
  • No need to carry water around on van support legs.  Your team will be cheering you on these legs so you can grab a sip of water from them every time you see them.
  • There are restrooms located at every exchange point.  They are portapotties , but they are there which is great!
  • If you have any questions, ask your team captain.  They likely have run Ragnar before which motivated them to do it again and be a team captain.  I bet they would have some great info for you for anything you need!

Think About Hotels

  • Plan ahead and check out the race course.  If there are hotels around, consider staying at them when your vans legs are done and its your rest time.  Make sure to reserver your rooms because others will be doing the same.  We just spilt the room between the 6 of us and it worked out great! Benefits? No need to pack sleeping bags! (That means more room in your van!) You also get a bed to sleep in, a warm shower if you want one!  Plus if its freezing out at night time… a warm room!  If you are sharing a room, don’t forget your noise canceling headphones or ear plugs!

The Experience

Here is a little overview video from our run and Ragnar adventure!  These 5 gals really made this experience such a blast!  Stay tuned on our youtube channel for the vlogs coming soon 🙂  If you have run Ragnar before, I would love to hear some of your tips for the race!  Thank you for stopping by today!


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a touch of gold
First Timers Guide to running RAGNAR