Thursday, April 5, 2012

How to Train for the Chicago Women's Half Marathon

And we're running! Credit: lululemon athletica
It's one thing to sign up for a race. It's another to train for a race, especially when that race is longer than a 5K, 8K, 10K. Some of us can bang those out in our sleep, but it's the 10-milers, the half marathons and the marathons where we need to put a training plan in place to get us to the finish line. I know I've learned my lesson--on more than one occasion--going into races of those lengths blind. They're painful, they're slow, and they're no where near what I think I'm capable of running so I finish hungry for more. It's a bit of a vicious cycle that I know my parents, and probably husband too, are ready for me to put a stop to. And they also leave me injured, either sore beyond belief for a few days or sidelined for a few months.

Basically, you don't want to be like me. And if you've signed up for the inaugural Chicago Women's Half Marathon on June 24, a really cool race that's replacing the annual Fleet Feet Women's Festival held in July, you don't have to. Equinox and Fleet Feet have partnered to create Enhanced by Equinox, which will serve as the race's official training program. Lasting 12 weeks and starting on April 9, you'll gain plenty of miles underfoot to prepare you for the 13.1 on race day. But wait, there are far more perks to the $220 program, offering even more bang for your buck like recovery tips, stretching techniques and strength training. Here's a look:

Run coaching program. Whether you're running your first half or you're looking to improve upon past races, the training program developed by the Fleet Feet Sports' experts will help you reach your goals.

Equinox group fitness classes. You're likely to burn out if you run every day, even if it is only for 12 weeks, but that's not to say that you can't boost your fitness in other ways. Equinox offers two group fitness classes for those in the training program--one on Wednesdays at 7:15 p.m. at its Lincoln Park or Loop locations, and the other scheduled by you at any Equinox Chicago. Plus this class is different from what you might see on the group fitness schedule--it was developed specifically for half marathon training.

Strength and cross-training coaching. Back to that fitness boost beyond running, you can do that with strength training and cross-training. And Kai Karlstrom, a Tier 4 personal trainer at Equinox Loop, can help with that. He's a skilled runner himself, with 18 years of experience, and he studied kinesiology in college and earned a nutrition certification.

Body composition assessments. Have you ever wondered what your body is made of when it comes to fat, muscle and everything else? You can see the before and after on how running affects your body with two InBody 230 scale assessments, followed by an Equinox trainer consultation. Fleet Feet has a saying that "running changes everything" and your body composition definitely falls into that category.

Spa @ Equinox recovery. Nothing beats a massage after a day of intense activity (just ask me after skiing all day). To help speed your recovery and help ensure optimal performance for race day, this program features special offers for treatments at the Spa @ Equinox.

If the above aren't enough selling points and perks, I'm not sure what is aside from indulging in Easter candy on Sunday. But you'll want to hustle to sign up--the program starts on Monday, April 9. For more details, check out the Women's Half Marathon's training page.

Photo grabbed from lululemon athletica at flickr.


  1. I wish they had something like this for the Chicago Marathon but in my area :( I live in NC and I don't have one of those in my area. Kind of sucky right now training for the full marathon by myself.

  2. Maria: Will this be your first time running the Chicago Marathon? Hmm, there must be some sort of group in NC...are you in the Raleigh area? A Chicago friend, and multi-marathoner, lives there now and I'm pretty sure she runs with a group. I'll keep my eyes and ears out for ya and thanks for reading!

    --kate :)



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