Ready to Run: Chicago Marathon Countdown

You never thought it would get here, but now October 9 is looming in sight.

All those miles, all the sweat and it’s almost time to run your 26.2 miles. Nervous? Of course!

So here are a few last minute tips from veteran runner and North Shore running coach, Christy Coughlin. Get ready to run!

One week before

1. Trust your taper. You’ve followed your training plan so far; don’t start improvising or adding miles.

2. Get organized. Print your map, plan your transportation, arrange to leave your younger children at home and set a meeting place for your adoring fans. There are 45,000 runners—don’t wing it!

3. Don’t try anything new. No new foods, no new activities, no new shoes. Be boring, get lots of rest, eat nutritious foods, wash your hands. Live like your mother is watching you!

3-4 days before

1. Read all the race materials. Look at the route and visualize yourself running streets that you know. Note port-a-potty locations. See yourself crossing the finish line.

2. Start packing your race bag. Here’s a great list to use.

3. Get your cheering section in order. Make sure you tell them what you’ll be wearing and what pace you’ll be running so they can find you. Here’s a link to the spectator’s info page.

The day before

1. Conserve your energy. You’ll start to feel like you should be doing something. Don’t. Ignore the messy garage, and leave the dust bunnies alone. If you go to the Marathon Expo Saturday rather than Friday, don’t spend all day there. It’s easy to get sucked in, so plan on getting your packet, do a quick turn of the floor and go home. We’re serious about this conserve energy thing.

2. Finish packing your bag. Throw in a tampon, Imodium AD, blister pads (just in case), body glide, gum, safety pins, post-race flip flops and any other extra last-minute items. Over pack, that’s what gear check is for.

3. Enjoy your pasta dinner. Then get a good night’s sleep, but don’t worry if you’re keyed up. Totally normal and it won’t affect your run.

Race day

1. Get downtown early. Did we mention 45,000 runners?

2. Follow your food and nutrition plan for the day. Again, nothing new. Even if your best friend swears this new energy drink is amazing—ignore!

3. Find your pace group. This is the best way to ensure that you don’t go out too fast. Then settle in and enjoy your race.

After the race

1 Change out of your sneakers and sweaty clothes

2. Eat and drink. And not just Gatorade. You need to plan for a real meal soon after the race.

3. Don’t immediately sit down. Tempting, but walking will help move some of the lactic acid out of your muscles.

If you read these tips with a sigh because you’ve always wanted to train, but never have, here’s our last tip: Get running! Christy Coughlin, an experienced North Shore running coach, offers running groups from beginner to advanced. She can get you ready for next year’s marathon or just your neighborhood fun run. Check out for more information.