Friday, April 4, 2014

The Ragnar Ultra Debate - 3 or 6 Legs?

I realize this is not a debate many people in this world have but if you are a serious Ragnar runner and have decided to take it up a notch and try it ultra style you and your team may be asking yourself: Oh man do we run 3 times or 6 times!? First world problems…I know!

Six Pack with Racks at the 2013 Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage

Well for starters…basic info on relay race leg logistics for those new to the relay game:
  • Most (and usually more sane) people run on a 12 runner relay team.  12 runners, 2 vans, every one runs 3 times and usually the distances are modest (3-8 miles at a time).
  • Crazies (myself included!) decide that doing it with half the people might be fun…right? So they decide if they want to run 3 lloonngg runs or 6 short ones:
    • 3 long runs would mean each runner runs TWO regular legs back to back before handing off. For example, I was runner number 3 and 4 last year.
    • 6 short ones means each runner just runs one leg like usual except they run twice as many times as regular teams. For example, someone might be runner 1 and 7.
When I emailed my ladies last year asking the 3 or 6 leg question they all unanimously agreed that they would rather run 3 long runs than 6 little ones.  I couldn't have agreed more and I find it odd that people actually prefer 6 legs…like my dear relay friend Holly who tries to convince you of her even crazier 6 leg ways on her blog today.  

I mean I'm surprised we are even friends…we have such a radical difference of opinion on this matter ;).

Not only did we all choose to run 3 long runs we all agreed at the end we would do the same way again, 6 times is too many! (side note: this year we are breaking all the rules and running 4 legs each but I'll post more about that later).  Some things we liked about 3 runs:
  • We all liked running long! - Everyone but one of us had ran at least one marathon so we knew what training would be like and we all genuinely enjoyed a long slow run versus some short fast ones so nobody seemed to mind the back to back legs pounding the pavement (well maybe Jessey…who had a 17 miler in the middle of the night but she is a different breed of crazy runner anyways!).  
  • MORE recovery time - Running long legs gives you the same amount of time in between your runs as if you were running on a regular 12 man team.  For me last year that meant almost 10 hours of recovery time before my next long run.  SO much time to eat a proper meal, hydrate, stretch and even catch some shuteye.  
  • You get it over with quicker - This is a big one for me. While I enjoy the whole experience SOO much I do think about when it will be over and how great that will feel as well.  For example doing back to back legs means you will be runner 1 and 2, but if you do 6 runs you are you might be runner 1 and 7…therefore finishing your whole experience when runner 7 would versus when runner 2 would…you following me?
  • You feel more bada$$ - While all ultra teams where different bibs that identify you as crazy when you run 3 long runs you get to run through the exchanges (cause remember you run two legs at one time) and say "running through" and everyone claps and tells you how awesome you are…big confidence booster!
DONE and so happy to not be running 6x!
HOLLY thinks running 6 legs is awesome because she has a much easier time mentally wrapping her head around shorter runs and since we all know how you feel mentally plays into your runs SO much I can see acknowledge this as a good point! Check out her post on running 6 times along with some other great ultra relay tips!

Holly and I started our relay friendship at the 2012 Ragnar Relay!
My girl LESLIE is in my corner and she has done a bunch of ultra's 3 long run style so she knows what's up!  She prefers to only change 3 times during a relay…less to pack! Check out her post today for more info!

Leslie and I at the 2013 Hood to Coast relay.
Both these ladies are super relay maniacs…even more then myself so I trust our differences of opinions…so do what feels best for you and your team and I guarantee you'll have a great time!

Let me also add that if you are on the fence about actually doing Ragnar the ultra way, jump off and try it. If you regularly train and run for half marathons you can do an ultra Ragnar.  While most of the people on my team last year have run a marathon not all of us were currently training for one and we all thought it was a bit easier than we expected.

Question: What do you all think? 3 or 6? Or are we just plain crazy all around?

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