Two quick things before we get to the giving away ...
Thing 1: Since we know treats prompt our kids to help, we're sweetening the incentive for you to respond to our quick AMR survey:
Anyone who already responded or anyone who completes the survey by 11:59 p.m. PDT on July 4 is entered to win $50 gift certificate for Mother Runner Store + $75 to spend in Train Like a Mother Club. Three randomly chosen winners. Here's survey link (feel free to share, too, please!).
Thing 2: What with the end of the school year and all of the concerts and graduations and class parties and locker clean-outs, the Ragnar Relay Adirondack giveaway deadline might have snuck up on you like it did on us. Guess what? We’ve extended it to June 30! More info about how to enter right here.
If you’re on the fence about running a Ragnar Relay, let our interview with Coach Jennifer Gill change your mind! Hint: there might be donuts....
Coach Jennifer Gill, an RRCA-running coach, NASM-certified personal trainer, and NASN-licensed sports nutritionist, knows a thing or four about training for Ragnar while busy with kid stuff. Gill, a mother of three, heads up the Train Like a Mother Ragnar Road and Trail Programs, 12-week plans that can get you and your teammates ready to Finish or Crush a Ragnar Road or Trail Relay.
Not only has Gill completed Ragnar SoCal three times, she’s coached a team of Hawaii Trail Ragnarians and also taken on American Odyssey, a similar style of race that starts in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and runs down to D.C.
“Ragnar is an absolute blast! It is a great way to spend time with friends you may not see often (and meet new ones), challenge yourself by running more miles in a short period of time, see a new place, or try something new.” Gill says. “Ragnar is a totally different type of running experience than any race.”
What is the most important part of Ragnar training?
Making sure you get double runs in a day. Running more than one time in one 24-hour period so that your body can get used to completing the run, relaxing, or resting, and then having to run again. Whether it’s running first thing in the morning and then again at lunchtime or in the afternoon; or running at night and then early morning – you need to do something along those lines for several weeks leading up to the Ragnar. (BTW, All the Train Like a Mother Ragnar programs have three opportunities to run three times in about 48 hours: Perfect Ragnar prep!)
What is the advantage to training with a coach and a group?
You don’t have to think about how to make sure you’re properly trained. You don’t have to figure out how to run three times in 36 hours. You don’t have to ask What mileage should I do? How fast should I run? Should I strength train? It’s all done for you.
Being on a Train Like a Mother Ragnar Plan frees you up to focus on getting your team name, pulling together your matching outfits, and other fun Ragnar-related tasks.
Spill the beans, then: What are your best team names?
I have to admit, my team always has trouble deciding on a team name! We had so much trouble deciding our team name for our first Ragnar SoCal, we called ourselves the TBDs! We were prepared the following year. Adele’s hit, “Hello” was just released so we named ourselves, “Hello, Where’s the Finish Line?” (sung to the melody, “Hello from the other side!”). We made shirts ourselves and had a lot of fun with it. This past year, we named ourselves the #UnicornMoms. If you look up Unicorn Moms, it’s a term used for moms that have a sense of humor but don’t have time for drama. We have a team of 12 strong, BAMRs and we felt this fit perfectly! We even had hats, tanks and leggings.
What is the difference between training for a road relay and for a trail relay?
For the road relay, it’s more important to figure out how you’re going to hydrate and eat well while traveling in a van. For a trail relay, you typically have a campsite that all the trails connect to so you don’t have to worry about van logistics.
Hydration and nutrition still matter on the trail, of course, but you also need to focus more on the terrain, since it’s not going to be smooth and you’ll be running on it all hours of the day.
Favorite Ragnar Memory:
When we were cheering on one of our runners during her last leg, our van was driving along side her, hooting and hollering her along. I was hanging out of the passenger-side window clapping one of those clapper things that make noise. All of a sudden the clapper broke and went flying out of my hands onto the road in front of our runner. The look on her face was priceless and it still makes me laugh when I think about it. She picked up the broken clapper and held onto it. She took a picture of it and we all send it around to each other as a reminder that we’re always rooting for one another.
And that is what being on a Ragnar team is all about: making it through something challenging together and supporting one another. With lots of laughs along the way.
Least Favorite Ragnar Memory:
Honestly, I don’t have a least favorite memory. I think the toughest time during Ragnar is the time between the second and third legs. Waking up and getting ready for that last leg is so hard! You’re tired, you’re sick of sitting in a van, and you’re ready to be done! But then you realize you are about to run your last leg and all the glory of finishing begins to lighten your mood and you feel better! Stopping for coffee helps too 🙂
What’s should every mother runner know before tackling a Ragnar?
Three runs in two days is daunting but it is doable as long as you are consistent in your training and do what you can to get your miles in. Do that and you’ll feel good at the end of your Ragnar adventure. Sure, you may be a little tired, but that’s the beauty of Ragnar.
What are some of your favorite Ragnar tips for first-timers?
Be strategic and practical in your packing. You don’t have a lot of room in the van for things you won’t need. I place the clothes I’ll need for each leg into its own separate Ziplock bag, labeled “Leg 1,” and so on. Keep a close eye on the weather leading up to your relay so you pack items appropriate for the conditions. Work together with your team so all of you can share snacks, paper towels, water, etc., which will help save money and precious van space. (Coach Jenn shares a bunch of these tips and others in the Ragnar Training programs!)
Must Have Ragnar Snack:
I’m a big fan of Larabars because they are gluten free, vegan, and all-natural. They are a good balance of healthy fats, carbs, and protein. They are portable and inexpensive. You can usually find them at most grocery stores if you forget them and there are so many flavors that you never have to eat the same kind twice.
Best Impromptu Ragnar Meal:
This past Ragnar SoCal had our van passing by a donut shop just when they opened at 5 a.m. I don’t normally eat donuts but I have to say, that warm, fluffy donut definitely hit the spot!
Dream Ragnar and Why:
Training a team for Ragnar Hawaii and then seeing the subsequent photos, definitely gave me a big case of FOMO. I know it’s a tough course, but it would be worth it to spend 36 hours driving and running through paradise with my closest friends. I would also love to run Ragnar Trail Tahoe and Ragnar Adirondacks. This awesome relay takes runners through so many beautiful areas of our country, it’s hard to decide on just one!