We're so excited about the new RiMaConn Relay adventure and love seeing the creative names you've come up with - there will be "Best Team Name" in the 3-member and 6-member team categories awarded at the post-race party on Saturday, August 24!
We're going to keep in touch weekly with everything from tips, course details, runner must-haves and gear recommends to help you successfully tackle the uniquely fun challenge of an endurance relay. As you're getting your RiMaConn Relay team together, we want to hear about you (and may brag on how awesome your team is!) - please feel free to give us the scoop and interesting info about your team HERE.
Experienced endurance runners are willing to share their tricks of the trade to help you prepare. This top 5 tips lists is one you want to remember!
Beth Taylor - Team Captain, CT Nutleggers
It almost sounds too good to be true. Endless flat trails with no cars. Three different states on foot. Beer at the end. Indeed, when I saw the new HMF RiMaConn relay, I was pumped! There are so many fantastic rail trails and access points to the East Coast Greenway, and it’s impossible to fully explore them in one run. But, an ultra race that does it all (and more) in a day? Perfect solution!
I immediately recruited my coworker Amanda, who is working on getting the 50 marathons/50 states off her bucket list. And then I brought in a hired gun- my college roommate Meredith, who lives in Maine but is always looking for an excuse to jaunt down to southern New England. Meredith and I did a similar two-person 50 mile race in Pennsylvania, and I knew she’d accept the challenge. Since then, we’ve occupied ourselves with addressing some of the fundamentals we’ve learned from previous races.
1. Recruit a driver. Yes, it’s not a necessity, since those not running can easily drive. But, having a driver (especially for three person teams), gives you the opportunity to really kick back and focus on enjoying yourself and recovering/hydrating/eating/stretching between legs. Meredith and I learned this the hard way in our previous endeavor, when the person finishing a leg had to jump in the car and drive frantically to the next hand-off zone. Bonus points if the driver is not a runner, since he/she will be so impressed with your endeavor that you’ll feel like a superhero. However, make sure that you choose wisely, avoiding a driver that a) is directionally challenged, b) eats smelly fastfood in the car, and c) makes annoying comments like “couldn’t you run faster so we can get to the postrace party?”
2. Choose a team name. This is huge, because your team name will define you. People will know you as THE BUNIONS or SIX STUDLY SPRINTERS or whatever you call yourselves. It’ll be shouted at you all day long as you pass and get passed by other team cars, and congregate at handoff zones. So, choose wisely. After much debate and soulsearching, we settled on the CT Nutleggers. Our mascot? The Leg Lamp from A Christmas Story. After all, it’s a MAJOR AWARD
3. Start to think about the whole eating/drinking issue (AKA the 10 Fuel Commandments). Do you usually run in the morning on an empty stomach? Or in the afternoon after a regular series of meals? This race will turn that all upside down. You’ll be running either 95/3 or 95/6 miles, separated by an hour or two, repeatedly. Figuring out what to consume, how much to consume, and most importantly, what won’t make you sick, is an art. It takes some practice and whatever you do, don’t plan to “wing it” on race day. Consider a wide variety of options for food and drink, and do some practice runs prior to race day. A good rule of thumb is to have at least 10 different options for food/drink. Trust me, 17 hours later, green olives may actually look good.
4. Start to ramp up the training! Signing up for a race and actually participating in it are two totally different things and somehow they don’t always occur sequentially for us runners. Don’t let the summer get away in a haze of graduation parties, sunset cruises, and vacations without scheduling some long runs. Two-a-days (two longer runs, morning and afternoon) can really boost confidence for running multiple legs. And my personal favorite- run part of the race course! I love the segment of the Hop River State Park Trail that takes you through the Bolton Notch Tunnel.
5. And of course, start trash talking your teammates. After all, it’s not a team sport if you don’t get a little dirty