Happy Wednesday! The Chicago Marathon is in less than ONE month – can you believe it?! Every week I get more and more excited for the race. Not only have I heard great things about the race, but I know firsthand that the city is absolutely amazing! You definitely will not be bored, that’s for sure!
Since this will be my first time running the Chicago Marathon, I reached out to runners to provide their tips. The response was awesome and I have compiled a great list below – Enjoy!
Expo and Pre-Race
There are shuttles from certain hotels (call your hotel to confirm) that will take you to the Expo at McCormick Place. (Linda)
Enjoy a shakeout run! You can sign up for the International Chicago 5K or join this shakeout run hosted by @runtrimom and @runlikeahijabi. Or you can do your own shakeout run at Millennium Park. Linda suggests going behind the bean (on the lakefront side). There is more park there – it’s a hidden treasure!
Get Your Grub On
Chicago is well known for their food, especially their pizza. But don’t just stop at pizza! There are SO many great restaurants to choose from. Erica suggest making reservations for restaurants NOW if there are any restaurants you want to try. Here’s a list to get you started:
“GPS in Chicago is NOT reliable – use lap mode on your watch.” (Jennifer)
“Get to your corrals on time. They post closing times and they do close. Bag check is pretty smooth but leave time for long potty lines.” (Erica)
“Chicago also marks the course with the Blue Line. If you run along this line for its entirety, it will be 26.2 miles exactly!” (Jennifer)
“Whether this is your first or your tenth marathon, and regardless of how well you did or did not train and what your speed and abilities are, run with a Nike pace team. It is free to do, so there is no down side! You can talk with the pacers at the expo. All you need to do is decide on a finish time goal. Let them do the rest! Just find your group race morning and follow along. That way you can enjoy the sights and the spectators without constantly needing to check your pace.” (Linda)
“Mentally prepare yourself for any sort of weather and if it IS hot just think to yourself, “everyone else has to deal with this too.” You can’t change the weather so adjust your race plan and have fun!” (Patty)
“Boystown is one of the most crowded spots on the course, spectator wise. The entertainment along this route is legendary, so take it all in! In addition, Pilsen and Chinatown are both energetic and festive spots on the course, full of cheering spectators! ” (Wendy)
Need some encouragement? Check out the Bloggers Press Box at Mile 13 (on the right hand side)! Erica, Wendy, Marcia and other Chicago area bloggers (many that have ran the race in the past) will be there giving our high fives and hugs. You can bet I’ll take advantage of all that positive energy half way through the race!
“The Chicago Marathon is lined with spectators the entire route and it takes the runners through a ton of neighborhoods, all with their own individual personalities. It would be a waste not to enjoy that!” (Wendy)
The most important tip for spectators – Download the Chicago Marathon app so you can track your runner!
Also, check out this awesome blog post – Chicago Marathon Spectator Tips – Go Runners! – Erica
Things To Do
Many runners suggested the following as “Things to Do” in Chicago. Be sure to check off at least one, or all, of the things on the list below!
“The Art Institute of Chicago collects, preserves, and interprets works of art of the highest quality, representing the world’s diverse artistic traditions, for the inspiration and education of the public and in accordance with our profession’s highest ethical standards and practices.”
“Be inspired by the captivating, visual art that is Chicago’s legendary architecture, and the exceptional architects who created this ever-changing, dynamic legacy for all to enjoy and admire. This comprehensive tour will navigate through the heart of the city on all three branches of the Chicago River while your professionally-trained architectural guide tells the story of more than 130 years of innovation in design, style and technique and why it is important today.”
I have done this boat tour and it is really, really great! I learned SO much about the building in Chicago in just 75 minutes.
“The Magnificent Mile serves as the main thoroughfare between Chicago’s Loop business district and its Gold Coast. It is generally the western boundary of the Streeterville neighborhood, to its east and River North to the west.”
“Discover a state-of-the-art collection of architecture, landscape design and art (including The Bean) that provide the backdrop for hundreds of free cultural programs including concerts, exhibitions, tours, and family activities. In Millennium Park, you’ll find a new kind of town square – a lively, spectacular gathering spot located in the heart of the city and a destination for Chicagoans and visitors alike.”
“Originally completed in 1916 as part of Daniel Burnham’s plan for Chicago, Navy Pier is an iconic city landmark inspiring discovery and wonder. Since its reopening in 1995, more than 180 million visitors have come to enjoy the Pier’s 50 acres of unparalleled attractions and experiences. As Navy Pier enters its second century, the venue is evolving into an accessible, year-round centerpiece for Chicago’s diverse arts and cultural treasures. It’s also home to the Chicago Children’s Museum”
“Shedd Aquarium was the first inland aquarium with a permanent saltwater fish collection. Located on Lake Michigan, it is surrounded by Museum Campus Chicago, which it shares with the Adler Planetarium and the Field Museum of Natural History. The aquarium contains 1,500 species, including fish, marine mammals, birds, snakes, amphibians, and insects.”
“The Willis Tower is the second-tallest building in the United States and the 16th-tallest in the world. More than one million people visit its observation deck each year, making it one of Chicago’s most popular tourist destinations. The structure was renamed in 2009 by the Willis Group as part of its lease on a portion of the tower’s space.”
Want to learn more about the course? Check out this post from the Chicago Tribune!
Chicago Marathon Map: A Journey Through Neighborhoods (Thanks Linda!)
Thank you to all of the runners and bloggers that helped contribute ideas to this blog post – you guys rock!
If you’re visiting Chicago for the first time, I hope this blog will be helpful! Although I’ve visited Chicago 3 times, there are still many things that I plan on seeing while I’m there next month. Chicago is an awesome city with TONS of places to eat, things to do and places to run!
Do you have any additional tips for the Chicago Marathon? Let me know in the comments section and I’ll add it to this post!