Training tip #14: Tips for your first relay race
Relays have been “hot” for a few years now. I have run a few myself, some for fun, and others in a competitive atmosphere. I’ve done standard (12-person) relays and ultra (6-person) relays. And, on a couple of occasions, I have been on the team that won the whole entire relay race (such as in 2015, when I was a part of the course-record Asheville Running Collective team at the Blue Ridge Relay, one of the toughest and longest running relays in the U.S.). Along the way, I’ve picked up some tips and tricks to make the relay more fun, and to run well in the process.
1. Choose the Right Team
People run relays for a lot of different reasons. Some people want to be competitive and go for the best possible time. Some people want to spend 2 days with friends and/or family while doing some running here and there. Others might want to run someplace they have never seen before. All of these (and any other reasons) for joining a relay team are equally valid. What’s important is that the whole team be in it for the same reasons. If 2 people are expecting to race and 10 are in it for the fun and camaraderie, then there will be friction. Be clear up front about your intentions, and put together (or join) a team that will be in it for the same reasons. That way, everyone has a common goal and everyone can be on the same page from start to finish.
2. Warm up and cool down
Even if you plan to run each of your legs at an easy effort, and especially if you plan to run each leg as a race, you need to be properly warmed up before running. And you’ll also be much happier as the relay progresses if you take the time to cool down after running. These don’t need to be extensive, but you should make sure to complete some dynamic mobility, light jogging, drills, and strides before and after all running legs.
This was the first part of my really-race-tips. Doesn’t forget to follow @_jakob_run_ for more fitness content, like and comment.