There’s road races and then there’s Ragnar: the crazy mutation of races that puts 12ish people in two vans for 24-plus hours, with several bouts of running in between. Personal space is scarce, sleep is scarcer, but the fun has no bounds. That’s why team Runkeeper is at Ragnar’s Reach the Beach for the fourth year in a row! We’ve already waxed poetic about why everyone should run a big relay race such as this, but if you’re teetering on the fence, a little of bit of advice and wisdom from the inside may push you over, right? We wanted to share some of our top tips for getting ready and making the most of these races, in the hopes that one day you’ll join us on the course.

Thanks to the Runkeeper Reach the Beach teams (current and present) for the sage advice below.

What to Pack?

  1. YOUR OWN PILLOW! Van naps are a thing that happens if you’re tired enough while other people are running.
  2. Make sure you bring a sleeping bag! Whether you sleep outside, in a tent, or in the seat of the van, it’s going to feel cozy.
  3. Cash: lots of the transition areas are full of little snack stands, but they don’t take credit cards. Gatorade or watermelon after a hard run is a welcome treat.
  4. Bring a big charging block or portable source of power. The phone battery dies quickly and the car’s power source usually isn’t fast enough to keep up with all six. Bonus tip: label your charger so you don’t mix it up with someone else’s!
  5. Bring three separate outfits (one for each of your legs), neatly packed into ziplock bags. Easy transition. Bring multiple pairs of running shoes…if it rains you don’t want to be stuck in soaked sneaks all weekend.
  6. Speaking of shoes, flip flops, or moccasins for in between running—wearing running shoes for 24 hours straight is rough.
  7. Bring “the stick.” It’s a great way to relax and loosen the muscles while being stuck in the van, perfect to use right before/after your leg.


How to Prep

  1. Make sure your playlist is downloaded to your phone or in offline mode. Service can be really spotty in those farm towns and you don’t want to be running in silence.
  2. Stretch while you’re out of the van! Stretch all you can!
  3. Bring ibuprofen; your body will be sore from running different kinds of terrain, but your knees will also hurt just from sitting in the van.
  4. Don’t expect to shower throughout the process of RTB, you will be let down.
  5. Cut your toenails really short so they don’t fall off (ew…..).
  6. Eat a big carby meal when you are on break. Your body will thank you.


How to Make the Most of it

  1. Enjoy the ride, a.k.a. take pics during the run. From Runkeeper RTB-er Annie: “There was a majestic white horse that I wish I snapped a pic of, but I was too into the race and wanted to kill people instead (killing people means passing them, I did not actually murder anyone).”
  2. Baby wipes are great to have to disinfect (your hands) post portapotty session.
  3. Bring stickers or things to “tag” other vans with (for fun).
  4. Think of a fun way to pass the baton off to whoever is running the next leg: chest-bumping, fake magic ones, just use your imagination!

Runkeeper RTBS

You convinced yet? Either way, you should follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram this weekend for an inside look at just what happens in those vans (and beyond). We’ll sure it will pull you over to our side!