Its Chicago Marathon time! Having successfully run the marathon last year (with a BQ! Boston 2015 here I come!) I thought I would share some tips for you to run a successful race!
1. Plan to add in some speed changes to your pace
The course is pancake flat … which makes a race plan pretty easy. I.E. know your target pace and run it. However that gets really boring for 26.2 miles. I suggest adding in some surges. Nothing crazy, just a little 20-30 second speed burst every mile or so from mile 5 onward. It will change your stride and make the miles fly by.
** of course consult your coach before partaking in such surges **
2. Know that there is a hill at the end, accept that it will hurt and move on.
The rumors are true, there is a hill somewhere very close to the finish line. It sucks … there is no sugar coating it. However in the grand scheme of things its not a heartbreaker. Its just a little bump that you need to push over and get to the finish line.
3. Run the tangents.
There are some wide turns on the course, look for the straightest way to cut the corner and head for it. This will help you from overrunning the course.
4. Check in with your form every few miles
When you are basically running the same terrain for 26.2 miles you tend to slack a bit on form … check in with yourself. How are your shoulders? Where is your sightline? Are you shuffling your feet or picking up your knees? How is your arm swing. Running through this check list will help you maintain good form as well as give you something to think about.
5. Accept the crowded corrals, and don’t worry they will open up quickly
I remember feeling really boxed in at the start. I was stressed and thinking that the first mile would be a total throw away. It wasn’t true. The corral opens, the race starts and suddenly you are on wide open streets.
6. Make friends
Chicago has the friendliest people! Talk to them in the corral or even on the course … its always a good idea to have someone near you that is familiar during a race. Not only will it help pass the time, it is also ok to have a little friendly competition on the race course 🙂
6. Don’t forget to snag some gear!
In my many race expos I have seen the gamete of race gear. Chicago by far has my favorite sweatshirts .. get one! You will live in it 🙂
7. Wear your medal the next day.
Every single person you pass will congratulate you or share their marathon story, Chicago really is a friendly city!