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Chicago Marathon Tip 2 of 5: Getting Pumped For the Course

Posted Oct 05 2010 9:52am

I ran the Chicago Marathon last year and was pumped for it (click image to enlarge).  Not only was it super fast and flat but the crowd support was absolutely insane.  City running with 5 to 10 rows deep of people screaming and yelling your name; there is enough motivation to push you along the entire 26.2 miles.

Running a flat and fast course, however, could hurt you.  Keep your race day strategy intact, don’t worry about other runners around you who are setting off at a faster pace.  The course is so flat that you do not want to get out too quick, it will come back and haunt you over the final mile of the race where you will experience the most dramatic elevation change- and even then it is not that long or bad.

The course has over 1.5 million spectators that are mainly in the larger neighborhoods and downtown.  The toughest part of the course is around miles 23 to 25; there are hardly any spectators to push you during this point of total fatigue.  But, if you go into the race knowing this you can be fully prepared for it.  Use it as inspiration to reflect back on your experiences over the past 14 weeks.  Center yourself and focus on why you decided to train for and run a marathon.  Each mile of this tough period pick someone to think about and why they inspire you.  Before you know it you will be pulling up to make a right onto Roosevelt Road, with a slight incline, and then a left onto Columbus Drive where there are people 20 rows deep yelling for you as you finish in Grant Park.

I always recommend putting your name on your shirt, you will be amazed by how many people will call your name and will be cheering for you.  This is an absolute must and I always use the printed cutouts that you can iron on yourself.  You can even print images of something and iron them on,- HP makes a great product or just go to Staples and get some.

Keep your race day strategy in place, do not let the flat course of the fantastic crowd support change how you want to run the race early on.  The final miles will be much easier and enjoyable (if that is even possible) if you do not let the course take you off of your strategy.

Here is a video of the course if you were interested in seeing it.

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