Chicago marathon race strategy + tracking info

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What a wild ride it has been.. and it all comes down to this! We fly out to Chicago tomorrow and the race is just a few short days away. If you’re interested in tracking me on race day, the easiest way to do so is to to download the Bank of America Chicago Marathon app and then look me up. My bib number is 7955, and I start at 7:30 a.m. CT–if all goes well I’ll finish around 11 a.m. Here’s a quick overview of my strategy for Sunday:

  • Take it easy Saturday pre-race: After we see Hamilton (OMG OMG OMG) on Saturday at 2:00 p.m., the rest of the day is committed to laying low, making dinner at our hostel (major bonus), and getting to bed early. No major walking around allowed!!
  • Start with Alexa and Danielle, but don’t hesitate to split up if we need to: If you’ve been reading along for a while you probably noticed that I’ve been doing most of my long runs with these two awesome ladies from track. We are all aiming for a 3:30 finish, and we do really well pacing each other. That said, we’ve agreed it’s a-ok for us to split up if and when we need to.
  • Negative split the race: I’m planning to run super steady 8:00 minute miles for the first half, and then speed it up a hair if I’m feeling good. My goal time would require 8:00/mile on average, so banking a few extra seconds/mile in the second half wouldn’t hurt to have as a cushion. Plus, Strava is giving away free shoes to anyone who negative splits a fall marathon–so bonus!!
  • Fuel and hydrate strategically: I actually plan to carry my handheld water bottle since I’ve gotten really comfortable with it. I think if I’m able to have the water station volunteers fill it once or twice I should be good to go–way easier than trying to get a cup of water into my mouth every mile! I also am sticking with my 2 packs of Clif Shot Blocks–one with caffeine and the second without. This has worked well for me during training and I don’t want to switch anything up at the last minute.
  • Follow the blue line and stay left: One of the biggest pieces of advice I’ve heard about Chicago is that with all of the turns most runners end up running close to 27 miles–but apparently if you follow the blue lines on the street and stay to the left, you can minimize that extra distance. Challenge = accepted.

If you’ve run Chicago before, I’m all ears in terms of any last-minute helpful hints. If you’re going to be in Chicago, keep an eye out on the insta for my race day outfit and look for me!! Other runners–GOOD LUCK! WE’VE GOT THIS!

See you on the other side,

Leah

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One thought on “Chicago marathon race strategy + tracking info

  1. Not sure if you already know this, but you go through a tunnel less than 2 miles in to the race that will cause your GPS to cut out. Between that and the high buildings through the first half of the race, my GPS was crazy off (and it’s funny to look back at it in Garmin Connect to see what crazy route it had me going). I was able to pretty much stay on the blue line the whole race, which I have to say I LOVED that little blue line, and still my watch said 27.5x miles. I definitely didn’t run that much, but if you are planning to use your garmin for splits just know that it will be majorly thrown off.

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