Someone from the Chicago Sun-Times asked marathon running veterans for hints to pass along to first timers. I know a few first timers like Pink and The Brewmaster so here are a few things learned from doing 9 Chicago Marathons. Most will apply to other marathons too.
Chicago Marathon Running Tips
1. If you’re taking El, it will be incredibly crowded. Be prepared to be smashed and experience a cacophony of foul odors.
3. Watch out for flying gear in the beginning. People always feel compelled to throw off sweatshirts & sweatpants in the beginning. They even throw water bottles! Be careful in the beginning because this can really throw off your race. This is especially precarious for jogglers.
4. Don’t stop completely at water stops. Grab your water/Gatorade and keep moving. People behind you will run into you. If you have to stop make sure you get off to the side of the course. Some people are oblivious to other racers.
5. The sooner you finish, the more food you’ll get. The selection of food goes down with every person who finishes. This should provide some motivation to get finished a bit quicker.
6. Bring an extra set of clothes to change into. When you finish a marathon you’ll be sweaty and gross. If you change right away you’ll feel better and also avoid chafing problems. I recommend bringing a new shirt, a light jacket, a change of socks, and warm-up pants. No matter how hot it is, you’ll be cold for a short while after the race.
7. Don’t start out too fast. You’ll burn-out by mile 18. The crowd and atmosphere will get you excited and you’ll naturally run faster than you want. No problem, just make sure you slow it down before you cross the bridge over the Chicago River. Take heed Brewmaster.
8. Wear something with your name on it. Studies show that people will shout and cheer for you more often if you have your name on your shirt or a hat. And hearing people yell your name will give you a burst of energy that will help carry you across the finish line.
9. Tell your friends and family what side of the street you run on. It’s really hard to see people in a marathon. If you don’t know where they are, you can easily miss them. Also tell them how fast you expect to run. People are coming out to see you. Make sure they can.
10. Make reservations for a pasta dinner now! You can’t get into a decent Italian Restaurant on marathon eve.
And a bonus tip…
11. Watch out for the finish line…it could be a little slippery.