Hoku Relay Packet

Everything you need to prepare can be found in the 2018 Hoku Relay Packet and 2018 Hoku Relay Course Guide.


Once a team has been organized, we recommend the team meet several times prior to the event to work out logistics. It may be helpful to discuss the following items:

  1. Racing, pacing, driving rotations, sleeping strategy, etc. 
  2. Communication between vehicles. Some segments of the race may have limited cell phone coverage. Make a list of all cell phone numbers and be sure that everyone brings a cell phone charger (car and outlet).
  3. What to do if a runner gets to an exchange and the next runner isn’t there
  4. What to do if a runner and/or vehicle gets lost
  5. Where to eat and what type of food and drink to bring in the vehicles
  6. What types of clothing and equipment everyone should bring. Weather is uncertain so be prepared for all types of weather
  7. Running at night and overall safety strategy
  8. Any responsibilities that need to be divided among team members
  9. Any team costumes or themes to incorporate into the event


Each runner must have the following items:

  • Headlamp (for night time running)
  • Taillight (for night time running)
  • Reflective running vest (for night time running)
  • Hoku Relay band (provided at check-in)
  • Relay Packet (1 per vehicle)

Teams will not be allowed to start until they show these items. Every person outside the team vehicle during nighttime hours is asked to wear a reflective vest.


Here is a suggested training plan to follow. Note that for most teams, you will be running 2-3 different 6 mile legs over the course of 20 hours. 

Training for The Hoku Relay isn’t rocket science, but there are plenty of ways to screw it up if you don’t know what you’re doing. Obey these principles and you will make your team proud. Please note that we are not certified coaches or medical professionals. The tips below are simply recommendations based on years of running experience.

  1. Give yourself enough time. Building peak running fitness is a slow process. Ideally, you’ll devote at least 12 weeks to focused preparation for your The Hoku Relay.
  2. Train “backwards.” When planning your training, start by planning your most challenging week of training, which should come two to three weeks before the relay. Think about the kinds of workouts and the overall training load you need to be able to handle by that point in order to achieve your relay goals and schedule accordingly. Then move backwards on the calendar, making your training a little easier each week until you arrive at a starting point, where the workouts and overall training load should be appropriate for your current level of fitness.
  3. Use the 80/20 rule. This rule stipulates that 80 percent of your training time shall be spent at low intensity (where you’re able to talk comfortably) and 20 percent at moderate and high intensities. This is what elite runners do, whereas most recreational runners do less than half of their training at low intensity.
  4. Run a lotbut within reason. The more you run, within your personal limits, the fitter you will become. If you obey the 80/20 rule and do most of your running at low intensity, you will be able to run more without burning out. However, always listen to your body and take breaks and days off as needed.
  5. Train in phases. The first several weeks of your Hoku training should constitute a base phase, where you focus mainly on increasing your overall training mileage to develop basic aerobic fitness, endurance, and durability. From there, move into a specific phase for a few weeks. During this period you will do challenging workouts that approximate the demands of racing so that your body is specifically prepared for them. Finally, complete a taper phase of one to two weeks. During this phase you will sharply reduce your training volume while continuing to do some high-intensity work to rest and sharpen for relay day.
  6. Obey the hard-easy rule. Fast runs and long runs both count as “hard” runs. Generally, you should do two runs per week that include faster efforts plus one long run. These runs should be separated by easy days of training so that you are relatively fresh and ready for the hard ones. The exception comes the final weeks of “specific” training when it’s a good idea to do back-to-back fast runs to prepare your body for the challenge of running multiple Hoku relay legs.
  7. Cross-train. It’s a good idea to do at least one non-impact cardio workout such as bicycling each week. This will reduce the pounding your legs are subjected to without sacrificing fitness. It will also give you a running alternative to readily fall back on whenever you’re injured or sore and running isn’t a good idea. If you can find the time, try to squeeze in at least two functional strength workouts each week as well. This will further reduce your injury risk and improve your running performance by boosting the efficiency of your stride.
  8. Listen to your body. Training plans should be written in pencil, not ink. Think of your training plan as a best-case scenario, representing the training you will do if absolutely nothing goes wrong. But something usually goes wrong, so be ready and willing to make appropriate adjustments whenever you are too sore, tired, or sick to do the run you planned for a given day.