Stepping up the running routine for race

By J_Howard

The 26.2-mile Bank of America Chicago Marathon is less than a week away. Thousands of participants will gather in Grant Park looking to push themselves to the limit, physically and mentally, on Oct. 10.

In preparation for the run, participants must train for months in advance by making not only personal investments, but financial investments in shoes and equipment to achieve their goals.

“Right now, we’d hope they were pretty well trained,” said Jeremy Borling, communications director for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. “They have made it through that structured training program and have logged those long miles and at this point, [they’re] ready to complete the full 26.2-mile distance.”

Clint Phillips, personal trainer and owner of Fit Chicago, said the first part in beginning any training is to have the proper pair of running shoes.

“I wouldn’t pick them out based on what color they are, [which] seems to be what most people do,” Phillips said.

He suggested going to a professional running shoe store like Fleet Feet, where professionals check every dynamic of the shoe, such as how the shoe fits, wears and how it lands. An investment of two pairs may

be necessary.

“Wear your shoes for [only] about 500 miles,” Phillips said. “Even if they look good and still feel good, the cushioning is still worn out.”

Borling said participants should focus on speed when training for the marathon, because of the flat terrain.

The official training sponsor of the event is Nike, but it still supports other training programs such as the Chicago Area Runners Association.

“We may not have an official relationship with them, but we know they are training athletes for our event so we try and provide as many resources as we can,” Borling said.

Training programs vary by individual, but most plans include a weekly schedule with participants running shorter distances every day and then a long run at the end of the week. But doing a 20-mile run a few weeks before the race is recommended, Borling said.

Phillips said risk of injury is possible with or without proper training.

“I know a lot of people have injured themselves badly trying to run a marathon without proper training,” Phillips said. “Even with proper training, [people] can get injured.”

First-time participant Mark Skylling, 23, of Chicago, is running the marathon with World Vision, a Christian organization dedicated to helping families and children living in poverty around the world.

“I’ve been putting in a lot of hard work,” Skylling said. “I am excited to actually get to race day when I will finally get to see the fruit of all the labor and all the hours of running I have been putting in this summer.”

For Skylling, one of the biggest challenges leading up to the marathon is the mental strain of the training process.

“There are just certain days you get up and you don’t want to run at all, but you have to fight through that—it may be cold or windy,” Skylling said. “It just takes a lot of mental strength to push through that and keep running and continue with your training.”

Borling said in order to mentally prepare for the race, participants are encouraged to study the course and guidelines before the race, in addition to physical training.

“If you are doing the physical training, then you know you are preparing yourself properly,” Borling said.