When we're not playing games, designing interfaces, and hitting our custom e-learning deadlines, many of us are out hitting the pavement. The Noggin runners decided to come together last year and start an organized way to cheer each other on, which we naturally named JogginLabs (because not much beats a play on our company name). While our running club is less than a year old, its members comprise almost a quarter of the NogginLabs workforce. We issue monthly challenges and share in each other's triumphs and letdowns. The goal of the group is to have fun while bringing out the best in each individual.
As 2015 came to a close, we found ourselves looking forward to new challenges. In a fit of New Year's ambition, several JogginLabs members decided we should attempt a trail relay race. After some deliberation, we agreed on a Ragnar race in Zion, Utah, in mid-May. Check out the race's promo video to see the spectacular scenery awaiting us:
This race presents an interesting set of challenges for any runner:
- Trail racing is much different than road racing. A runner's stride must step higher to avoid obstacles. Footwork, balance, and leg strength are all important components. Training must include strength exercises to avoid injury on rugged terrain.
- Relay racing presents its own set of challenges. Each runner will run three legs. Runners might have to wait anywhere from four to eight hours between runs. It is critical to practice running on fatigued legs. This means at least a couple of days where runners should run twice in a day with a lengthy rest between workouts.
- The race will take place over a 32-hour, non-stop timetable. That means runners will be on course at night. The only light will be a headlamp or flashlight. Many people don't even like standing in their front yards late at night. Running on remote trails in the consuming blackness of night can be crippling. It will be important to train for this situation.
- The average total distance each runner will cover is more than fifteen miles. Runners will need to prepare to cover this distance over the course of a single weekend.
- Elevation is a major challenge. Training in the Midwest (where our office is based) won't provide much in the way of elevation training. Trails meander up and down mountainsides and can wreak havoc on unprepared muscles. Awareness of and practice moving both uphill and downhill will be critical.
From those challenges, we've set our training goals. We have a proper timeline to work with and an end date. We may not be able to create the perfect training system for everyone--one size does not generally fit all when it comes to training. But we can determine the best way to improve skills across our roster. As we train over the next several months, we'll blog about our experiences here. We hope you'll join us on our journey to Utah. In the meantime, leave us all your best trail running tips in the comments section below.