6 Tips for How (and What) to Pack for a Ragnar Relay

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset The first year that I did Ragnar Relay, I researched what to pack for the race and it helped SO much. Being prepared for an overnight race like Ragnar is crucial! You don’t want to forget a pair of socks, run out of water, or have a lack of band-aids if a blister comes along.

So, I’d like to share some of the things I’ve learned along the way.

1. Food {because let’s be real, it’s the most important.}
To avoid people bringing the same thing, start a list with your van so people can sign up for certain items. Bananas, peanut butter, bagels, cream cheese, peanut butter-filled pretzels, salt & vinegar chips, and hummus and veggies are always on the list for my van. You want to think of healthy carbs and protein {for fuel and energy on your runs} and salty foods {to replenish electrolyte stores} to snack on, not to act as a meal substitute. Vans normally have time to stop for actual meals somewhere. I’ve stopped at Barro’s Pizza and Chipotle {twice} in the past.
IMG_7073 Also, each person in the van should bring two gallons of water. It makes it easy to refill reusable water bottles. {The gallons also help when trying to brush your teeth or wash your hands on the side of the road.} I also make sure to bring a few bottles of Zico Chocolate, Gatorade, and maybe a Rockstar or two. 😉

When you get to the finish line, each team usually gets two boxes of pizza or some other food they provide, and you have your $1 beer tickets, for your choice of a Sierra Nevada beer. So, you get to end with a good amount of carbs. 🙂

2. Decorations & Props

{This is my fave van each year at Ragnar Del Sol: Fro-Motion}

Basically, it’s a runner’s version of “Pimp My Ride.” In the past, we’ve attached LED lights across the van roof, added boas or fun, bright ribbon, and written on windows with window-safe markers.
It’s really fun to tally how many “kills” {number of people you passed during your legs} on the van! Pretty much every van does it.

We’ve also brought along props to fill our down time during rest stops. This could be hula hoops, a hacky sack, a boom box for dance parties, a football, frisbee, etc. The world is your oyster at Ragnar.

3. Yoga mat, foam roller, & Icy/Hot, etc.
I’d highly recommend packing a sleeping bag or yoga mat for sleeping arrangements and/or actual yoga practice {last year, my good friend Marette – a certified yoga instructor – gave us a lesson!}. It’s also great when you are in a parking lot and are itching for a solid foam roll. Just bust out the ole’ yoga mat! The foam roller works wonders for legs that are cramped and tight after being in a van for hours.
Icy/hot helps with aches and pains that may pop up on the fly, like shin splits or IT band. Other important things that are helpful are baby wipes {for a van shower}, band-aids, extra hair ties, Chapstick, Vaseline or BodyGlide, and a car charger.

4. Pack each running outfit into ziploc bags
This is crucial. You’ll be in a van with up to 6 other people with all their bags and purses and food strewn about that you don’t want to lose anything when you’re up to run. Plus, you can put the dirty clothes back into the bag after you’re done running to prevent odors. {Your teammates will appreciate this!}

So, think about if it’s a short or long run, night or day run and build from there. Undies, shorts/capris/pants, tank, short sleeve/long sleeve, light jacket, sports bra, headband. Fold everything tightly into a bag and with a permanent marker, write which leg you’ll be using that gear. Easy peasy!

5. Costumes:
Yes, costumes. They aren’t just for Hallowen after all. I love me some themed parties and impromptu outfit nights. Just me?

We’ll, for Ragnar, you at least better have a bright colored outfit! At least. Teams go all out with themes. I’ve seen a whole disco van before with runners wearing bell bottoms, big tound sunglasses and afro hats for their legs. I’ve seen speedos, tutus, and banana suits, and more! It so much fun and pretty hilarious!

For me personally, it’s distracting to run in too many things, so I like to get running related outfits, like personalized shirts, colorful sweatbands, or fun headbands, and then save my costumes for down time.

This year, my team is picking a color and a pattern. I have neon yellow and feathers. I already have a few fun yellow things I got, so now I just need to add feathers on the mix. Shouldn’t be a problem since I adore feathers! I have big dreams to make a chief’s head piece!

6. Ragnar-required gear
This is uber important because if you have one too few safety vests or headlamps, you’re not allowed to participate. Each runner is required to have a safety best, because even if you aren’t the one running, everyone participating in Ragnar is required to wear them during nighttime hours {about 5pm-7am}.

Each van also needs 2 headlamps and 2 tail lamps. We all just share them {yes, sweaty bands and all}.

That’s about the jist of everything you should pack and how you should pack it. Just a few more days until the big race!

PS. Ragnar Relay Del Sol 2012
PSS. Ragnar Relay Del Sol 2013
PSSS. I’m Officially a Ragnar Relay Ambassador
PSSSS. 4 Tips for Training for a Ragnar Relay
PSSSSS. I just realized I didn’t do a recap for my Ragnar Del Sol 2014 race! BUT, here’s a link to my Facebook photo gallery.


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