3 Chicago Marathon Practical Tips

Chicago Marathon Bib Image

There are a ton of knowledgeable articles out there on the Chicago Marathon. It is, after all, one of the largest marathons in the entire world. Lots of people, both professionals, and amateurs have run it. Along with lots of individuals running the famed route, there’s lots of advice to be found.

If you’re looking for a review that takes you mile-by-mile of the race, this isn’t it. Instead, if you want a few quick tips on the Chicago marathon, from personal experiences, you’ve found what you were looking for. Three Chicago Marathon practical tips coming right at ya!

It’s a quick read, but shares some important information. If it was my first time running the Chicago Marathon, I would have loved to have known.

Don’t Fret About the Start Corrals

Big races are notorious for forcing (too strong?), ahem, encouraging runners to get to the start line super early. This typically isn’t a bad thing, as you know you’re in the right place and will be where you need to be when the race starts. The hard part is managing yourself while you are waiting for the race to start.

This means managing the porta potty lines, getting into your corral on time, and not spending too much time on your feet.

You’ll be fine if you don’t spend a lot of on your feet (read: sit down where you can!). And you can get to your corral on time by staying close to your corral.

Porta potty lines are another matter altogether. While there are ample porta potties around the start area, you’re going to have to be on the hunt for ones that have short lines. Find them, use them, and move on.

Now, remember how you have to get to the start early? This typically means you’re going to be spending some time hydrating before the race (not too much though, that should all be done the day before!). However, even with just little sips, you might find yourself needing to go to the bathroom twice. Like again, after the first adventure to the porta potties.

If you can, make that second bathroom time before you enter your corral. If you find that you can’t get it in before your corral gets closed, don’t fret. There are bathrooms along the course.

My advice? Try to not use the first block of porta potties. Odds are you aren’t the only one that finds themselves having to go to the bathroom right before the race starts and you’re stuck in your corral. This could cause a lineup at that first block of porta potties, which digs into your race. You don’t want that.

Instead, look for a block of porta potties a little farther into the race, hopefully, one with less of a lineup. This way you can get around those crowds who couldn’t pass up the first block.

The porta potties, or bathroom facilities as the Chicago Marathon website calls them, are typically at the aid stations. There’s a chance they won’t be at all of them, but a good chance when you see an aid station there will be a bathroom there as well. The aid stations are typically 1-2 miles apart.

Words of Advice: Just don’t wait until mile 17 to use the bathroom. Sometimes that urge to pee doesn’t just go away. Plus, it turns out waiting for 17 miles until you use a porta potty isn’t a great plan. Mostly for the starting and stopping running a marathon aspect of that plan. It’s not the greatest feeling in the world…

There Is A Hill in The Chicago Marathon

Okay, ‘hill’ is a generous word to use when describing the small change in elevation at the end of the Chicago marathon. However, it IS a change in elevation! Right after you turn off of Michigan Avenue onto Roosevelt Road, you run smack right into it. Plus, by the definition of a hill, which is: a naturally raised area of land, it is a hill.

Although, technically it might be man-made…

Regardless, the only reason you ever hear about this ‘hill’ or Mount Roosevelt, as some call it, is due to it being at mile 26. As in after you’ve already done 26 miles of a marathon which was mostly flat, you need to have your body propel up a hill. Your legs are tired, your arms are tired, your core is tired, heck, even your hair is probably tired at this point.

But, do you want to know a secret? This ‘hill’ has nothing on you. Especially if you have run any hilly routes during your training. This includes hills in places that don’t have many hills, but you’ve trained on bridges or something that goes up just a bit in elevation.

The best part of charging up the ‘hill’ at the end of the Chicago Marathon is you know you are almost done with the race. Get up that hill and turn the corner and you’ll see the sweetest sight there ever was: The Chicago Marathon Finish Line!!!

Let Your Tummy Settle Before Digging Into Deep Dish Pizza Post Chicago Marathon

Congrats! You just finished the Chicago Marathon. How does it feel to have a World Major Marathon under your belt?

Amazing, right?

Hopefully so! Regardless of how the race went for you, you just completed a marathon and that is reason to be proud.

Now, it’s time to dig into some classic Chicago food!!

Except, maybe not.

If you’re like me, your tummy might need a moment to process the transition from marathoning back into normal life. After having nothing by gels for a bit, it might be hard to stomach anything else for a bit. Start with something bland such as crackers, rice, or even some toast. Make sure you add in some post-race protein in the form of something you know your stomach can handle.

You don’t have to go to a restaurant for these items. Bread items might be available post-race. Or you could have some of them handy in your gear check bag (crackers work great here or a simple granola bar).

Once you know your stomach is good with the simple stuff, start moving on to the fun things found in Chicago. Perhaps some deep-dish pizza?

Just ease into things. Trust me, speaking from experience here. The only thing I could think about during the Chicago Marathon was Shake Shack. There’s no good reason why that got stuck in my head as the perfect post-race food, but it did.

And it did not agree with me.

At all.

No offense to Shake Shack, just probably wasn’t the best thing to dive into right after a marathon. Especially when you’re not used to eating Shake Shack.

Now if you have a stomach of steel, make sure you order that deep-dish pizza ahead of time, perhaps

Conclusion to 3 Chicago Marathon Practical Tips

There ya go! Three practical tips that I wish I had known before running the Chicago Marathon. Now you know them and hopefully, you won’t make some of the same mistakes that I made (re: Shake Shack right after a race).

If you’re looking for Chicago Marathon-inspired items, be sure to check out the spread found here over on my Etsy shop.

There’s even more to find over at the Magic for Miles Shop on Etsy. Want to stay up today with the latest Magic for Miles designs and get more helpful running, RunDisney and major race tips? Be sure to follow Magic for Miles over at IG @magic.for.milesFacebook, and Pinterest!

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