Training Plan For Hood to Coast Relay

Training Plan For Hood to Coast Relay

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Do you have a training plan for Hood to Coast or other road relays that require team members to run multiple legs at various distances?


Nothing specifically for Hood to Coast, a relay I never had the opportunity to run. I have run River to River in Southern Illinois, a team race across the bottom of Illinois from the Mississippi River to the Ohio River. Eight-person teams covered 80 miles with each member running three legs totaling about 10 miles. In Alaska I participated in the Klondike Road Relay, 110 miles over a mountain pass with 10-person teams from Skagway to Whitehorse Canada. Each runner did a single leg. My leg was second longest: 12.3 miles with Scott Douglas, one of the editors for Runner’s World doing the longest leg: 16 miles. Grizzly bears had been sighted near the course. I was getting ready to feed Scott to the bears, but fortunately they left us alone. I started in darkness and finished with the Sun rising. Incredible!

But your question was Hood to Coast. I checked the relay website and learned that each team consists of 12 participants, each runner responsible for three legs anywhere from 3.3 to 7.6 miles. The key challenge is having to run several times over a long period of time, getting little sleep and with not much time to warm-up or cool-down before grabbing or passing the baton, real or imagined.

Is that a difficult task? Not really, because with runners jumping in and out of vans, there’s more fun than stress. Nevertheless, Hood to Coast or any road relay will be even more fun if you come prepared. Let me point you to my program for the Dopey Challenge, a Disney World spectacular that consists of a 5-K, 10-K, half and full marathon in four days. My program features consecutive hard days: two, three then four without rest between. That won’t entirely do the job, so I suggest you run some doubles, where you run twice a day: once in the morning and once in the evening. Or even triples. The secret is not to learn how to survive the runs, but how to survive the time between runs when you will be sitting cramped in the van or RV and only pretending to sleep.

Hood to Coast sounds like it should offer a great running experience. Enjoy it!

Hal Higdon

Hal Higdon is a Contributing Editor for'Runner's World'and author of 34 books, including the best-selling'Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide. He ran eight times in the Olympic Trials and won four world masters championships. Higdon estimates that more than a quarter million runners have finished marathons using his training programs, and he also offers additional interactive programs at all distances through TrainingPeaks.Hal uses'TrainingPeaks'to power his interactive marathon and half marathon training plans.'Check out more of Hal Higdon's training plans here'or on'his website.