Many runners in Oregon (and many other states) are about ready to tackle the Hood to Coast Relay this coming weekend. It’s too late to do anything about training, so now it is just about having fun and staying injury free! Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you get ready for the all day and all night three leg relay fun!
- Be safe! Use safety equipment (lights, vests, etc.) as directed. HTC does a good job enforcing this, but make sure you take it seriously. Also, remember to use safety equipment even when you aren’t necessarily on your leg yet (i.e. warming up before your turn).
- Bring thicker socks for downhills. There’s nothing like having your feet feel like they are on fire from slipping and sliding in your shoes during a downhill segment. Thicker (generally not double layer) socks can help along with making sure your shoe is fitting snug.
- Eat something 20-30 mins prior to your run… unless your stomach really does not handle small amounts of food well. I recommend 1/2 a banana or some fruit snacks. Think about anything you might ingest on a marathon, and it should do well to help perk you up a bit before your 2nd and 3rd legs.
- Warm up prior to your 2nd and 3rd legs. I know, I know … you are running a lot of miles anyway. Why add in more work? You will inevitably tighten up and be stiff/sore from your 1st leg and riding in a van. Stiffness and tiredness lead to sloppiness, and sloppiness can lead to decreased performance and injury. I recommend taking some time to do something to loosen up. Click here for a video example of some skipping warm ups put out by Jay Johnson who works with runners in CO. Use these or anything else you have learned, BUT IT NEEDS TO BE ACTIVE. Don’t spend time before your leg doing static stretches or just standing around.
- Resist the urge to run your 1st segment faster than planned. Just don’t do it … no matter how good you feel. You should have an idea of what your goal pace is and what you are capable of. Don’t let the excitement lead you to run 6 miles at a 30 second per mile pace faster than planned. Maybe it will feel fine for that segment, but you will pay for it later! Stick to the plan.
- Bring extra clothes, extra socks, and extra shoes. That’s right – at least 3 pairs of running socks, 3 shirts, 2-3 shorts, and 2 pairs of shoes. Your teammates will also appreciate
- Wake up at least 30 mins before your run. Make sure you aren’t dragging yourself out of the van right before you have to run. (See above for warm up advice). That extra 20 mins of sleep will not be worth it in the long run!
- Cool down before hopping in van. If you are putting in an “effort” during your legs, make sure you take some time after to gradually let your muscles calm down. Do some jogging, walking, gentle stretching, and take at least 10 mins before hopping in the van (dependent of course with how “on time” your van is)
- Bring plenty of water and food. Definitely plan to refuel after each segment. Plan on eating “bigger small meals” shortly after your leg. Also plan on bringing some easily digestible foods for shortly before your legs. You can consider coffee, but realize this might actually aide dehydration and lead to you wanting to make a pit-stop when you are going to be stuck in a van for a while.
- Have fun! Relays are a great way to have fun with a group of people while challenging you in a way you aren’t challenged very often! Enjoy the time :)
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