Training with lululemon: Chicago + Boston


As the fall season approaches, runners have only one thought in mind…marathon season. Midwest runners are lucky to have several different marathon options from Milwaukee to Indianapolis to our hometown, Chicago. Although the Chicago Marathon has become application-based, and rather competitive to gain guaranteed entry, there are a lot of options for runners who don’t have a time qualifier. Runners can also gain entry through the lottery system or by joining a charity group. The Chicago Marathon hosts 40,000 runners, making it one of the largest fields in the major group, and the largest field in the Midwest marathon line up.

This year, the Chicago Marathon is scheduled on Sunday, October 9th, and will take runners on the route they have come to know and love. In it’s 44th year, this race takes runners through 29 neighborhoods and provides course support from nearly 2 million volunteers and spectators. The city truly belongs to the marathoners throughout the morning.

I will be running Chicago this year, as I have done since 2007, and can’t wait to hit those streets again. This year, I will be leaning on lululemon clothing, shoes, resources, and team trainers to help me reach my goals. Lululemon has quickly risen to athletic notoriety in our fine city, connecting with runners of all abilities in various ways.

The brand has invested time, energy, and a great deal of money into producing running gear that supports athletes in different ways, depending on the desired outcome. The research that lululemon has put into their clothing can’t be understated, and as a seasoned, runner, I greatly appreciate a brand that pushes itself to the limit in order to help runners reach their full potential.

Not only has lululemon made an investment in its running products overall, but it has made a big impact on our city of Chicago. Lululemon currently has 6 stores in the city of Chicago and an additional 8 suburb locations. Most unique is the experiential location in Lincoln Park where patrons can shop, workout, dine, meditate, and lounge. Chicago was home to the first store of its kind, which is truly innovative in nature, offering group exercise classes and a healthy kitchen where you can indulge in post-workout fuel.

As I get ready to head into my longer mileage weeks, I am transitioning into running shorts that support increased sweat and less than ideal form. As you rack up the miles, your body naturally gets tired and fails to maintain proper form. This can lead to chafing, when your body starts rubbing in new areas. I have found lululemon speed up shorts to move with my body, rather than against it. There are various length sizes, but as a short gal, I tend to veer toward the 2.5 length. These are designed for running, with a lightweight material to help wick sweat, since Chicago seems to hold onto high temps well into October.

I’ve run in these in torrential downpours as well, and amazingly, they stayed up. It’s important to test out your running gear in all elements, since we have zero control of the weather on race day. I tested these out last weekend at a race in Madison, which much to the dismay of runners, had downpour rains for miles 5-13. I was wet to the core and my shorts stayed put. Not an inch of sagging. A waistband that holds through moisture is worth its weight in water…See what I did there?

This series of stories will feature the partnership between lululemon and me as I ramp up mileage and then taper down to head into October to the Chicago Marathon. I will then continue to work with lululemon as I head into spring marathon training season and the Boston Marathon in April. We will feature running clothing and shoes, of course. But, will also feature the components of lululemon that you may not know exist…the classes offered in Lincoln Park, the healthy food options, and the store support you can find when you visit to seek out gear that will help you in your running journey.

We encourage you to follow along on this journey to Chicago and Boston, as lululemon and I tackle two of the largest and most notorious marathons in the world.


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Mandi has been running for over 25 years and has participated in the Chicago, Detroit, and Boston Marathons. Mandi regularly competes in regional events and enjoys being a part of several running groups including CARA and the Badgerland Striders. She is a co-host on the Ten Junk Miles podcast and looks forward to hosting the Chicago Athlete Podcast. An RRCA certified coach and Les Mills certified instructor, Mandi is also a coach with Chicago Athlete Coaching. Mandi is a local government attorney by weekday and race warrior by weekend.


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