Thursday, October 18, 2012

Race Day: Be Prepared! - Ragnar Relay Series Giveaway

Shoes? Check. Running shorts? Check. Singlet? Check. Gu? Check. Hydration Belt? Check. 

These items are definitely on every runner's "DO NOT LEAVE BEHIND" list when preparing for a race trip, but there are a few items that are often overlooked. Listed below are a few such items every runner should add to his/her "Don't Leave Home Without" list.


1. Pack pre-race cover-up clothing. Many races have you at the start several hours prior to the start. Depending on the location of your race and/or the time of year, you could potentially be hanging out in the cold for a couple of hours. To avoid getting chilled prior to the start, be sure to pack some old sweats. Don't have any? Head to your local Good Will. You can pick up a pair of sweat pants and a shirt for next to nothing. Wear the sweats overtop your running attire, then toss them just before the start. Many races collect and donate discarded clothing to local homeless shelters.


2. Prepare for the elements. Check the website for what the typical weather conditions are like for your race. Then the week of the race continue to check weather sites like www.weather.com for up-to-date weather forecasts for the race area. Murphy's Law dictates that if you pack a check rain poncho, you'll have clear skies, but if you forget to pack it, expect a down pour. At least that's my experience. Forgot to pick up a cheap rain poncho or can't find one? Don't fret. Use a large yard waste trash bag. Just cut holes for your head and arms and you're set. The trash bag also works well for keeping you warm.


3. Protect the extremities. Rule of thumb is to dress as if it's 10-15 degrees warmer than the actual temperature because once you start running, your core temperature will rise and it will feel as if the temp has increased by at least that much. Often, however, your extremities (i.e., your hands, ears, head) will still remain frigid. To avoid frigid phalanges, be sure to pack gloves and don't forget to pack a hat too! Cheap cotton gloves work well, particularly if you're planning to remove them later in the run. If you happen to lose them, it's no big deal and they're biodegradable. Don't forget the ears. A skull cap or toboggan works well to keep the head and ears warm. 


4. What to do with the Gu? During training, runners and/or trainers will often put out energy gels at various water stops along the training routes. Very convenient. But, then on race day, a runner may discover he's not figured out a way to carry the Gu while running. A simple low cost method is to safety pin the gel packs to your shorts. Another cheap option that takes a little more effort uses self-stick Velcro dots. Sew one dot to the waist band of your running shorts and then stick the mate to the gel pack. You can put as many dots as desired around your waist band. The sewn dot can remain and be reused and new opposing dots can be applied to future gel packs. Be sure to test the safety pin and Velcro dot methods prior to race day, just to make sure it works well with your shorts.

5. Pack some "Just In Case" clothing. Even if the weather forecast calls for clear skies, 60 degrees, and 0% chance of rain, doesn't mean that Mother Nature doesn't have other plans in store for race day. So, be sure to pack some "just in case" race clothing. If it's supposed to be warm, be sure to pack a long-sleeve shirt...just in case. If it's suppose to be cold, pack a singlet or short sleeve shirt...just in case. If it's supposed to be clear skies, pack a rain poncho...just in case. 


6. Block that sun! Research has shown that runners, particularly endurance runners have a higher percentage of atypical moles which can often turn into skin cancer. It's not hard to understand why. One study revealed that 96.7% of runners wear shorts and 98.6% of runners wear shirts that only partially cover their backs and extremities. Not too surprising. I, myself have gone through the scary removal of a melanoma from my back, so I'm speaking from experience. If at all possible cover as much of your body as possible when running. Wear long sleeves, longer shorts, a hat, etc. Also, slather on the sun block on all exposed areas. It's also a good idea to cover areas not exposed, because harmful UV rays can penetrate most fabrics. And last but not least, protect your eyes with sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection. 


Want a chance to win a free pair of Oakley Sunglasses? Read on....


Drawing for a Free Pair of Oakley Sunglasses!


Enter for a chance to Win
these Oakley Sunglasses!
The Ragnar Relay Series has asked me and some other running bloggers from around the country and Canada to participate in the Ragnar So. Cal. Relay in spring 2013. I'm excited about the opportunity to participate in such a cool event with other fellow bloggers. 

But the exciting news for you now is that Ragnar has asked the 12 bloggers to hold a virtual blogging relay.....a Swagnar Relay. This virtual relay will allow you, the readers, 12 opportunities to win awesome Ragnar Swag prizes!! The prize offered through RunnerDude's Blog is a free pair of Oakley Sunglasses valued at $90! 

After entering for the giveaway below, be sure to visit Mel at her blog Tall Mom on the Run. I'll be passing the virtual relay baton to Mel on October 20th. Check out her blog for your chance to win the next prize in the Ragnar Swagnar Relay!

To Enter Complete the Steps Below.....
a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Check out the  video below for more info on the Ragnar Series.

28 comments:

Enfermero said...

Good tips! Last marathon I did started in the dark and I almost forgot my sunglasses. But I was glad I had them once the sun came up!

Sara said...

Getting ready to run a half on Saturday. Will definitely follow these tips. Found your site through the Ragnar Facebook page. Entering the Swagnar Giveaway. And plan to follow your blog, or subscribe or something. :D

Brian Vinson said...

My worst preparation issue was when I was running a marathon out of town and left my running shorts at home. I bought a new pair,but they ended up being too large - I spent the last half of the race trying to hold them up.

Marcie said...

Just finished Ragnar Adirondacks! Great tips you listed- thanks for the chance to win!

Sarah F said...

Great giveaway! Excited to participate.

ajones said...

I loved running the Wasatch Back a few years ago. Have fun!

Melodie said...

I like to be over prepared for an out of town event. With Ragnar's it's good to pack extra clothes. Especially when you're one of the first runners in your van, so can change and not ride around in wet/sweaty clothes until the next major exchange.

RunnerDude said...

Hi Melodie! I agree. I usually put a dry pair of running clothes in a gallon-sized ziplock baggie for each leg of the race. Then immediately after a leg, I'll take off the sweaty clothes put on the new clothes and put the dirty/wet ones back in the baggie and zip it up. Works great.

Holly said...

I way over dressed for my middle of the night Ragnar run for Wasatch Back. I was so hot I thought I was gonna die. But it was hard to shed layers because of my reflective vest and my number pinned to both the vest and my running tights. I'll prepare differently for my next race, Ragnar Vegas!!!, and keep the 10-15 temperature change in mind next time. Swagnar is great! Hope I win! I need new sun glasses!!!

Caroline said...

I just did Hood to Coast and I would love to do Ragnar SoCal !

Breanna Lind said...

I love ragnar and that they are hosting a swagnar relay. How fun is that. My team - Bandaids and Bodyglide run Ragnar Great River every year and this year we're thinking about doing Chicago as well..... :)

Kara L. said...

Great tips! Hope I win :)

Laura said...

New Follower!

Kelly said...

Yes - I hate it when I forget sunscreen!

Michelle Midnight said...

Just ran Ragnar Napa Valley it was amazing!!!

Bradley Pederson said...

Even veteran runners need a reminder. These tips work great. I like to have a race day survival supplies of my bag that I always keep packed. And replace those used items right away, so I don't forget it for next time.

Rebecca said...

Great giveaway, fingers crossed!

kbluemel said...

Vegas will be 11 Ragnars for me WAHOO! .... also looking forward to number 12 this January in Florida! Go Ragnar!

Katy said...

Would love to run a Ragnar someday!

Steel Springs said...

I follow your blog.

MG said...

Commenting and following your blog.

Jon said...

Thanks for the info.

Denise said...

I ran Ragnar So Cal this year. And next up is Vegas!

I am notorious for overdressing at races because I don't want to be cold (So Cal girl), but I'm getting better at picking the right attire.

Shay @ Whine Less, Breathe More said...

I would love to do one of these relays someday!

I follow you on Google Reader.

Jackie K said...

@Enfermero I would die without sunnies!

Heidi said...

As I move away from summer races, I need to learn how to dress properly. Thanks for the tip. Great sunglasses.

Marti Messner Family said...

I am a new follower. You have a lot of great tips. cmessner@myuw.net

Lisa said...

If I don't have enough pockets for GU, I usually go with the low-tech option of safety pins. Never thought about velcro before, but maybe I'll give it a try!