It’s hard to believe that after months of training, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is this weekend. Whether this is your first marathon or your 41st, you can never hear too many tips and advice, especially to ensure race day is as smooth as possible. Several of our Chicago Athlete ambassadors are Chicago Marathon pros, and have shared their insight to help improve your experience!
“I was given this advice for my first Chicago Marathon and want to pass it on: the Chicago Marathon has incredible crowd support. Read all the signs and tap every little kid’s sign that offers “extra energy here.” Remember, the kids think we are all great athletes. You’ve worked hard in all the training, now have some fun on race day!”
“I have three tips:
- Enjoy the expo but if you go Saturday keep time on your feet to a minimum and don’t try any new food or drink. Take the time to take pictures!
- The stretch on Michigan Ave from 35th to 18th can be hard with less spectators to push you. If your people can make it there, I highly suggest it. Make sure you know which side of the street and cross street to look for them. It is easier to for you to spot them
- They always have a photographer at the top of the Roosevelt Hill. Be prepared to not look like you are ready to fall over!”
“Pace yourself carefully and listen to your body. This seems like simple advice, but many times it’s easy to ignore. With all the buildup in mileage during the past few months and the race day adrenaline pumping, it’ll be easy to run those early miles way too fast and can give you a false sense of confidence.”
“Take a drink at EVERY aid station, even if you do not feel like you need it. It can be a small sip and you can even spit it out, but make sure to grab a cup from those amazing volunteers! Also, make sure to stick to the fueling plan you’ve been using in training. If you eat three jellybeans every three miles, make sure to do that right from the beginning. Don’t get so caught up in the excitement that you forget to hydrate and fuel before it’s too late. Keep your body nourished for those 26.2!”
“You are completing your first marathon in one of the greatest cities in the world! You have heard many times how you run through 29 different neighborhoods; the whole experience will go by quickly, so try to take moments as you run to soak up the feel of all the different areas. It’s an amazing opportunity to see so much of the city in the span of a few hours. Relax, breathe, and enjoy the experience!”
“If you are a first time marathoner, I am sure you have a training plan that you followed last few months. Add all those training miles, and remind yourself how far you have come. The first double digit run was scary then, but now 10 miles is nothing. You have hours of training behind you, so the first step is to believe in yourself and remind yourself that you can do this! Some of us compete in marathons and some of us complete marathons. Whichever it is, may all your training miles come together on race day!”
“As someone whom has run the Chicago Marathon 13 out of the last 14 years in row starting from 2004 the best advice I can offer is wear Body Glide- seriously. There is no worse feeling in the world than getting chaffed under your arms or between your legs. Also, invest in either nipple guards or waterproof band aids to cover your nipples. Because the weather always varies for this event, make sure you are wearing the proper dri fit clothing and moisture wick socks to prevent blisters on your feet if possible.”
“For anyone doing this for the very first time, I recommend running with the pacing groups, as they do an incredible job getting people to the finish line. They will keep you honest and on pace, they will motivate you when things get tough, and they will cheer for you on that last uphill to the finish. The best advice I can give people is to remind them that their training is done, enjoy the route, smile and get that medal. It is not a race it is a celebration!”
As a first timer to the Chicago Marathon and a very recent resident of this great city (OK, the burbs) I cannot tell you how great this article was for me.