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Chicago Marathon tip 5 of 5: Final Preparations

Posted Oct 08 2010 7:14am

It’s almost game time. Shortly you will be in front of over 1 million adoring fans. They will be yelling and screaming your name for hours!

You have invested the last few months of your life getting ready to conquer the marathon. In preparing for your upcoming test of physical endurance there are a few simple bits of advice that will be helpful in the final days of preparation.

1.     Review Your Itinerary – Take some time to run through the logistics for the upcoming weekend. Ensure that you have a plan for transportation to ensure you don’t end up walking extra unnecessary miles. This may not seem like a big deal but the concrete sidewalks can really kill your rested legs. Copy the entire course and packet pick up schedules and put them in a safe place.

2.     Reserve Table- Make reservations for your pre-race dinner NOW. If you don’t have good recommendations, simply call a local friend, connect with a Chicago bud on facebook or call a hotel for suggestions. You will want to eat no later than 5:30 pm the night before to ensure proper digestion. I eat pasta with grilled chicken and bread starting at 4:30 to beat crowds and intestinal distress. Keep it simple and avoid cream sauce and excessive dairy.

3.     Pack Some Cushion – Bring along an extra pair of cushioned shoes to walk and hang around in for the days before the race. You will be walking and spending time on your feet. Don’t use your race day shoes and remember that fashion is out the window. You are going to be with 1000’s of touristy runners wearing functional footwear to preserve their legs.

4.     Racing Necessities – There are very few things that could bring your race to a screeching halt.  I will speak to the guys out there. Bring your nipple band-aids. Not properly protecting your nipples will lead to an intense bloody painful mess that is beyond miserable.  Throw in some Body-Glide for good measure!

5.     Triple Check – Triple check that you have everything you’ll need for race day packed in your carry on. Don’t let race day items out of your procession. I spent last year searching for a race singlet after leaving mine in Kansas. Everything was sold out and foreign which played crazy mind games with me.

6.     No Smoking Please- Call your hotel to ensure that you have a no smoking room reserved. Spending the night in a smoggy, damp, smoky room is about the worst possible fate.  Avoid this disaster!

7.     Snacks Galore – Pack some snacks for fuel. Walking around the city in search of good fuel will waste both time and energy. Pack your favorite goodies cause you will be hungry and grazing is beneficial!

8.     Gifts Baby – If you have family members or friends traveling with you as support, head out and get some small surprises for these brave souls. A little appreciation will go a long way. It’s not easy being a marathon Sherpa.

9.     Look Out for Your Fans – Make sure your support crew packs plenty of warm clothes.  Plan for a variety of temps. Warm, appreciated support crew with comfy footwear can really enhance your race experience. Look out for your buds! Bribe your fans to bring some warm items to have waiting for you at the finish.

10. Meeting Place – Make a post race plan to meet up with your supporters.  You’ll not be prepared to wander as you look for a familiar face.  Pick a location and head there post-race.

11. Tips Please – Slide a $10 into your shorts to the massage tent dude after the race. Your massage will be better and longer.

Be safe… Be Easy!

Coach Jerry

(Coach Jerry has competed as an elite runner at virtually every distance over the past 20 years. He has PR’s of 2:35 marathon, 29:50 10k, 14:09 5k, 4:13 mile and 1:09 half marathon. He has also completed multiple Triathlon’s and conquered the Ironman. Jerry has coached at the High School level and coached Carnegie Mellon’s track and cross country team.)

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