Marathon Blog

Local Marathoner Adds Naperville Marathon to Growing List of Accomplishments


By Emily Zadny

2016 Media Coordinator

Naperville Marathon & Half Marathon

After being a high school dual-sport athlete, Katie Bryk was looking for a way to stay in shape when she went off to college. She found a niche in distance running, running 5k and 10k races and while student teaching her senior year of college, Bryk had one student that motivated her to go the extra distance, extending her mileage to 26.2.

“I had a first grader in my class that was suffering from Leukemia whose family had received support from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America,” said Bryk. “I learned about LLS’s marathon training program – Team in Training – and decided if this little boy could battle Leukemia with a smile on his face, I could run a marathon and raise funds for a great cause at the same time.”

Now, nearly 20 years later, Bryk has become an avid marathoner.

So avid that she had completed forty marathons by her 40th birthday.

“About 5 years ago I was doing the math in my head and I figured out if I ran 3-5 marathons a year, I would be able to complete my 40th marathon before my 40th birthday. I had done 10 marathons from 1999-2004 before taking time off to have my two sons Payton (11) and Will (9). I returned to marathon running eleven months after Will was born when I ran at the Chicago Marathon in 2007. From October 2007 through April 2016, I ran thirty marathons.”

Her love for the sport and passion to help others enjoy it as much as she does has landed her at Fleet Feet Sports in Elmhurst as the head coach for the marathon and half marathon programs.

“Running is a very unique sport,” she said. “You can run alone, with a friend or two, or a training group of a 100. For me, it gives me time to clear my mind and reset for the day. Running is my yoga.

“I’m very fortunate in that my favorite running buddy is also my husband,” she continued. “We have had some great trips together that were tailored around a marathon—Mardi Gras Marathon, Napa Valley Marathon. I’ve also had Girls’ Trips that revolved around marathons.”

Even though she has traveled across the country for the sport, Bryk has one marathon that is close to her heart and on her calendar every year: the Healthy Driven Naperville Marathon.

“As much as I love traveling for races, I’m a homebody,” said Bryk. “When I was in high school, my family moved to Naperville and I called Naperville home and I spent many high school nights at the Riverwalk!

“Running the Naperville Marathon its inaugural year was like a trip down memory lane for me. I ran by friends’ childhood homes and old hangouts and had such a positive experience my first year, that I have continued to come for each running of the Naperville Marathon.”

Bryk will be at the starting line again this year alongside thousands of runners on Oct. 23 in the marathon’s fourth year. With a new course design, race day gear options, and post race activities, it’s one that Bryk and runners alike do not want to miss.

Needless to say, after forty marathons, Bryk has a vault of advice for others who want to get involved in the sport, whether that is a mile down the road or 26.2 miles.

“Whether someone wants to run a 5k or a marathon, they need to recognize that running is 90% mental and 10% physical,” she said. “Once you release the demons that tell you – you can’t – you can do anything.

“I also recommend that new runners—and lifetime runners, too—consider training with a group. Running with someone makes the miles fly by; going into an 18 or 20 mile run with a group is a lot less daunting then going into it alone.”

While her goal of reaching 40 marathons before her milestone birthday may be complete, Bryk is nowhere near finished with her training and is looking to achieve new goals. This past year, she achieved another goal: running a qualifying time for the most prestigious race of them all.

“Last year I made the commitment to myself to train for a Boston qualifying time, and at last year’s Naperville Marathon, my training paid off and I ran a qualifying time,” she said.

Forty marathons under her belt? Check. Boston Marathon qualifying time? Check. What’s next on Bryk’s running bucket list? The next obvious step up: ultramarathons.

“I am a goal setter,” she said. “Once I finished my 40th marathon I knew it was time to start thinking about a new goal. A 50-miler seems like a perfect new goal for me.”



Race Day Etiquette


With the Healthy Driven Naperville Marathon & Half Marathon approaching, it’s time to review the rules of the road when it comes to race etiquette. You might not be aware of some of the written and unwritten rules when it comes to long-distance running events, especially if you’re a first-timer. No one knows better what to do – and not to do – on race day than the Road Runners Club of America. Prepare yourself by checking out their comprehensive list of pre-race, in-race and post-race etiquette advice, and then relax and enjoy your remaining pre-race days. You’ve done all you can to get ready. All that’s left is the run!


It’s been great working with you throughout all these months of training. Thanks for your time. I’ll be rooting for you. Good luck!


Img_Fitness_7B_LaurieLasseterLaurie Lasseter
ACE Certified Personal Trainer
RRCA Certified Running Coach
Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness Centers

Tapering for the Marathon or Half Marathon


Now that you are just a few weeks away from your goal race, it’s time to taper and allow your body the rest it needs to repair and rebuild muscle and tissue, replenish muscle glycogen stores, restore optimal hydration levels and reduce stress hormone levels.

There are many approaches to tapering and everyone responds differently. It may take some experimentation to find the best approach for you, especially if you’re new to marathon tapering. There are several aspects to a successful taper covering all areas of your life:

Sleep: Small changes make race day easier.

  • Shift your sleep schedule to race-day wake-up time requirements over the final week before the race. That way when you wake up on race morning, your wake-up time will feel natural.
  • Don’t worry about insomnia the night before the race. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep two nights before the race and you’ll be fine.

Other exercise: Don’t begin a new exercise program within 4-6 weeks prior to the race. Specifically, avoid starting any of the following:

  • New sport
  • New cross-training mode
  • Major, physical house project
  • Weight training (Note: if you already weight train, maintain current weights, repetitions and sets for the 4-6 weeks prior to the race. Don’t increase weights, etc. Stop 5-7 days before your race.)


Stress: Try to limit significant life stresses during the month prior to the race. If possible, avoid job changes, household moves, significant travel and other disruptions to your normal lifestyle.

Running mileage: Follow a two- or three-week taper, depending on your experience level. For both methods, maintain the intensity (speed) of your runs, but reduce running volume (distance covered).

Two-week taper (beginner marathoners and all half marathoners):

  • 30% mileage reduction, week 1
  • 60% mileage reduction, week 2

Three-week taper (intermediate/advanced marathoners)

  • 30% mileage reduction, week 1
  • 50% mileage reduction, week 2
  • 65% mileage reduction, week 3

You should run little or no mileage 2-3 days prior to the race. If you feel you must run to loosen up the day before the race, don’t run more than a mile.

Fueling and hydration: Prior to the race, either follow a normal diet (during which your mileage reduction will allow you to store glycogen) or a ‘carbohydrate-loading’ approach. Regardless of which approach you take, follow these guidelines 2-3 days before your race:

  • Stay well hydrated throughout the week
  • Drink water freely and often during the 24-48 hours before the event
  • 2-3 days before – eat low-fiber, low-glycemic index foods
  • 1-2 days before – consider avoiding fried foods, red meat, dairy, nuts, roughage to avoid gastric distress


How you will feel: The reduction in physical workload will take an unexpected toll on you. Your body is used to exercise and your body will react to its absence. You will likely experience symptoms such as:

  • Feeling ‘antsy’/hyperactive/anxious
  • Feeling bloated, fat and sluggish
  • Irritability

If you feel any and all of this – good job! Your taper is going according to plan and you’re on track to be able to do your very best on race day. More important than anything, stay relaxed. If you have followed a well-designed training plan and have prepared well, you are ready to have a successful goal race!


Laurie Lasseter
ACE Certified Personal Trainer
RRCA Certified Running Coach
Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness Centers

Troubleshooting the Long Run

TroubleshootingYour Long RunBy now, you’re probably ramping up your long runs in preparation for either the marathon or half marathon. Hopefully, everything is going great! But even if it is, it’s likely you’ve had at least one long run that didn’t go as well as you had hoped. Prepare for your next one by brushing up on some key long run challenges and solutions:

Dehydration: If you experience symptoms like lightheadedness, headache, fatigue, muscle cramps, chills, constipation, dark urine, or slowing or stopping of the sweat rate during your long run, chances are you are becoming dehydrated. Follow these hydration guidelines:

  • Every day: ½ ounce of water for every pound of body weight per day (includes liquid in food)
  • Two to three hours before the long run: 17-20 ounces of water or electrolyte drink
  • 10 to 20 minutes before the long run: 7-12 ounces water or sports drink (glycogen + electrolyte)
  • During the long run: 7 to 10 ounces sports drink (glycogen + electrolyte) every 10 to 20 minutes
  • Post-long run: Replace 120-150 percent of fluid loss with water or 100-125 percent of fluid loss with a sports drink (glycogen + electrolyte)

Heat/humidity: If you’re following the hydration guidelines and still experience dehydration symptoms, you may be trying to run in conditions that are dangerously warm and/or humid. Marathon performance degrades by at least 10 percent in temperatures over 85 degrees. Depending on the humidity, temperatures over 80 degrees can be dangerous for a long run, especially if you aren’t acclimated to the heat. If the long run forecast calls for these types of conditions, consider these options:

  • Start early. Get the majority of your run in before the heat of the day. Avoid 80+ degree temperatures by starting at 5 or 6 a.m.
  • Run on a different (cooler) day. Doing your long run a day or two earlier or later won’t ruin your training plan – just adjust your other runs that week accordingly. Remember, your long runs are most important in training for the marathon or half marathon, so adjusting other runs to have long run success is a good trade-off.
  • Find a shaded route. Running in the shade helps you stay a little cooler on days that are hot, but not too hot.
  • Run on an indoor track or treadmill. I know it’s boring, but at least you’ll have conditions under which you can finish your long run. If there are Excessive Heat Warnings (or Air Quality Alerts, especially if you have breathing issues), this may be your only option.

Low energy/fueling issues: If, during your long run, you feel hungry, irritable, shaky, dizzy or confused, you may not be fueling adequately to maintain your glycogen stores during the run. Follow these guidelines for long run fueling:

  • Two hours before the long run: Eat a simple carbohydrate, low-fiber, low-protein snack, such as a bagel with a small amount of peanut butter. You’ll need to experiment a bit with the pre-run snack to see what works best for you and your digestive system.
  • During the long run: Ingest 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour via a sports drink (glycogen + electrolyte). See the hydration recommendations above.
  • Within 30 minutes of a long run: Refuel with a protein- and carbohydrate-rich snack, such as a fruit and yogurt smoothie or a bagel with peanut or almond butter.

Gastric distress/upset stomach: If you are getting nauseous or experiencing stomach cramps, diarrhea or constipation, you may need to adjust your pre-run eating. To avoid digestive upset during long runs, it is best to avoid sugar, high-fiber, lactose-containing dairy and dietary fat prior to your long runs, at least until you understand how your digestive system responds to these foods. During your run, keep your tummy happy by avoiding caffeine and excess sugar. Keep in mind that constipation can result from dehydration and that diarrhea can result from heat exposure.

Mental fatigue/boredom: If you’re just getting sick of running for so long and want to stop, you may be suffering from mental fatigue or boredom. To combat boredom, try these tips:

  • Run with a group/running buddy. This can provide great distraction for you mentally and can help the time pass by more quickly.
  • Try visualization. Visualize running in your actual goal race. Think about the supportive crowds and how proud you will be when you finish that race.
  • Take a more interesting route. You may want to vary your long-run routes. If you are using the same trail as you ramp up your long run you may be getting bored with the course. Try a new route, but make sure you have a strategy for fueling and hydration based on that new course.

Running out of gas/pacing issues: If you are slowing considerably at the end of your long run, you may be starting out too fast. If you are a new marathoner and aren’t trying to do a specifically paced long run, start slower than your long run goal pace for a few miles. This should allow you to finish strong.

Img_Fitness_7B_LaurieLasseterLaurie Lasseter
ACE Certified Personal Trainer
RRCA Certified Running Coach
Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness Centers

Meet the Naperville Kids Marathon Race Director



Meet David Cleveland, Race Director for the 2016 Naperville Kids Marathon!

Cleveland has been involved with the Naperville Marathon & Half Marathon since its start three years ago as an Aid Station Manager. With his background in running and career working with children, it was without a doubt that he was the right person to spearhead the Naperville Kids Marathon.

“I started running when I was 35 years old. When I ran my first marathon and came in last place, I caught a fever for it,” said Cleveland. “The running community is all wonderful and positive people.”

Since that first marathon, Cleveland has competed in over 30 marathons, including four trips to Boston, and has even run internationally in London, Berlin, Rome, and Hamberg. He also participates in track workouts with Vic Hildebrand at North Central College and has been a dedicated runner with Mark Witt’s running club on Saturday morning’s for the last 14 years.

When he is not organizing the Naperville Kids Marathon, Cleveland, a retired school teacher of 36 years, has returned back to Elmwood Elementary School to take charge of the school’s running club, a position he has held for the last six years alongside Kathy Mueller.

“Having the children do the marathon gives them an example of what comes with perseverance to complete a life goal,” Cleveland said about the impact the Naperville Kids Marathon has on participants. “Today, kids spend too much time looking at screens and not moving. Running is an inexpensive sport that rewards the participant with countless health benefits such as a stronger heart and weight control.”

The Naperville Kids Marathon is a fun experience for children ages 5-13 to not only develop a love for physical fitness and activity, but also running. Children, with adult supervision, run or walk one mile 25 times over the summer and fall and record each run/walk in their colorful running log!

The program’s final 1.2 miles are completed with other hundreds of children who have been running their miles all summer on October 22, 2016. On race day, participants receive their official race t-shirt and bib before toeing the start line at the Naperville North High School football stadium. Runners are also welcome to have a parent or guardian run alongside them. When the children cross the finish line, they will receive their finisher’s medal, just like the finishers in the adult race.

“The main goals for the event are not only safety, fun, and excitement for running, but also developing a lifelong activity,” said Cleveland. “My daughters started off running 5K races and now I have done marathons with them and it’s the highlight of my life. It’s a wonderful feeling to run a marathon with your children.”

Registration is only $12, including the tee shirt, race bib, and finisher medal. Over 500 children have claimed their spots for the big event and registration will remain open until the end of the summer or once 1,000 entries have been received. For more information and registration, visit:


Article written by Emily Zadny, 2016 Naperville Marathon & Half Marathon Media Coordinator

Which should I run? Half Marathon vs. Marathon

Marathon vs. Half Marathon

We’ve written a lot about marathon preparation and training, but I’m sure many readers aren’t interested in training for and running the marathon at this point in life. For those of you not planning for 26.2 this year, there are many benefits of running and training for the half marathon.

Physiology: One of the most important differences between the marathon and the half marathon is that the human body cannot store enough glycogen (the body’s favorite go-to energy source) to finish a marathon. The good news is the human body has plenty of glycogen to finish a half marathon. This means, for the half marathon, you won’t need to do all of the super-long training runs designed to teach your body to burn fat as a fuel for exercise. As a result, you’ll also find the half marathon long runs don’t take as much out of you and are easier to recover from than marathon long runs.

Time (per week): Given the distance difference between the half marathon and marathon, you’ll need to devote much less time to half marathon training. Your longest training run for the half marathon will likely be 12 miles or two hours. This is much less time-consuming than building up to a 20- or 21-mile training run as is necessary for the marathon.

Time (per year): Depending on your starting running fitness level, it will take much less calendar time to train for a half marathon as compared to the marathon. As an example, if you’re currently running 8-10 miles per week and have been doing so for two or more months, it will take you about 12 weeks to train for a half marathon. From this same starting point, it will likely take you about 24 weeks to prepare for the marathon.

Physical demands: The long runs and mileage demands of marathon training, along with the calendar time necessary to prepare for the marathon, take a toll on a runner. A runner training for the marathon needs to pay close attention to diet/nutrition, rest/sleep and stress levels in order to stay healthy through the marathon training process. The half marathon places much less demand on the body. Of course, it still makes sense to take good care of your body during half marathon training, but there is a lot more wiggle room. Added post-race bonus: You’ll recover more quickly from a half marathon and have less risk of injury due to less wear and tear on the body.

Psychological demands: Due to the difficulties of marathon training, there are a lot of psychological demands on the runner. The training can create a lot of stress and consume so much time and energy that it interferes with other aspects of your life. If you have a lot going on in your life, you may have trouble finding the time for marathon training. Half marathon training creates much less mental stress for you and your family.

Marathon transition: If you are a relatively new runner, you may eventually want to run a marathon. The half marathon is a great stepping stone and an excellent way to prepare your body for the rigors of marathon training. If you are a new runner, consider running the half marathon this year and the marathon next year!

Next: Training for the half marathon

Img_Fitness_7B_LaurieLasseterLaurie Lasseter
ACE Certified Personal Trainer
RRCA Certified Running Coach
Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness Centers


8 Benefits of Keeping a Training Log



A training log should be an essential part of every runner’s routine. The days go by, the miles go by, the years go by. But how do we remember what we did from day to day and from year to year? How did that interval run feel last week or last month? The only way to know, unless you have a memory like an elephant, is to keep a training log. It is essential for many reasons.


  1. Training logs allow us to develop a plan and stick to it. Logs allow us to map our training plan and carry it through, and they’re an excellent reference – to check what’s ahead in future workouts or review our training history.


  1. Logs allow for self-reflection. We can gather running data and refer to it at any point during our training cycle. We can compare week-to-week, month-to-month or year-to-year. We can compare our mile interval times to the intervals we did last week. Hard to remember all this data unless it is logged.


  1. Some people may train with heart rate monitors and this can also be included as well. You can record your resting heart rate in the morning as a way to judge the level of your fatigue. A higher resting heart rate than your baseline usually means your body is fatigued or did not recover fully from the previous day. So pay attention to this when planning for that day’s workout.


  1. You can also record subjective feelings about how you felt during the workout. These notes all can add up and help you adjust your training plan to track what is and isn’t working.


  1. Noting which shoes were worn during training runs can help you know when you should change shoes.


  1. Sleep can be monitored in the log as well as it certainly affects training performance.


  1. Use a log during any injury and as an injury prevention tool. Look at the log and the events preceding your injury to see if there is anything you could have done to prevent the injury.


  1. Check your log in times of doubt to look at all the work you have put in and realize you are on the way to achieving your goals. Use it to boost your confidence.


Keeping a diary is simple. It can be kept on anything from a calendar to a computer. There are many computer programs that log training data. A spiral notebook serves well as a training diary. In the simplest form, the training log should record time and distance of run. If you did intervals, make sure to record how many, what distance and your time.


Once you have your log set up, enjoy it. Have fun with it. Realize that you are mapping out your future. Most runners keep a log and I believe you should as well to take your running to the next level.



Dr. Michael Hartmann

Race Medical Director, Healthy Driven Naperville Marathon & Half Marathon

Emergency Room physician, Edward Hospital


5 Steps to Injury-Free Training

5 Steps to Injury-Free Training

If you are training for a fall marathon or half marathon, you may be concerned about injury. This is a valid concern, as injuries are common when runners train for a longer race, especially for the first time.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to minimize your chances of getting hurt.

1. Build a solid foundation. Follow a professional program that ramps your mileage slowly and methodically to a marathon training workload. Find a running program online that you can tailor to your needs or work with a certified running coach to have a customized program created just for you. Follow a program that:

  • Starts from your current fitness level
  • Ramps your workload gradually – no more than 10% mileage increase per week or per session
  • Includes slow, methodical increase of your long runs to a longer run of approximately 20 miles (possibly 21 or 22 if you have previously run the marathon race distance)
  • Includes runs of different length, speed and terrain – variety is important to prevent injury

Also, be realistic.  If you are a new runner, build your running and run regularly for at least a year before attempting your first marathon.

2. Be consistent. Now that you have your training plan, follow it closely. Consistency is one of the keys to preventing injury. This doesn’t mean you can’t miss a workout occasionally, but if you find yourself missing a week of runs, this can be a recipe for injury. Try to stay consistent with your training plan, keeping the number of runs and miles per week close to your plan. If you miss a week, ease back into the plan or work with your running coach to get back on track safely.

3. Develop good running form. It is difficult to “force” yourself into perfect running form and it can be dangerous, especially if your muscles aren’t prepared for that method of running. However, in order to prevent undue force on the body, landing with each foot underneath your body – instead of in front of your body on your heel – is usually associated with lower ground forces on the body resulting in lower injury rate. The easiest way to achieve this is to shorten and quicken your stride. If you find you are an overstrider, practice the shorter strides with feet landing underneath you on a regular basis.

4. Strength train. Running is a very repetitive sport. As a result, it creates a high probability of overuse injuries. In order to prevent these injuries, strengthening and mobilizing key areas of the body are important preventive measures. Focus on these areas:

  • Core: Strengthen the lateral and anterior core with exercises such as plank and side plank variations.
  • Hips/Glutes: Strengthen the legs, glutes and stabilizers with exercises such as lunge variations, deadlift and glute bridge variations and hip abduction work (such as clams). Also, keep the hips and hamstrings mobile with key stretches for those areas.
  • Ankles and calves: Strengthen the ankles and calves with exercises such as calf raises, jumping/plyometrics and banded ankle work. Also, keep the calves mobile with calf stretching. Try doing some of this foot and ankle work barefoot for added benefit.

A strength training program for runners, such as RunSMART, can help you work on all of these areas.

5. Pace.While training, most of your running should be at a slow, conversational pace. Many people overtrain on their easy days and carry fatigue into their hard runs. Make sure you keep your easy days easy, even if you are a veteran runner. Following the pacing of your running program, as well as the distances, helps keep injury at bay.

These suggestions will help you avoid injury this summer and have a great fall marathon or half marathon.

Good luck!


Laurie Lasseter
ACE Certified Personal Trainer
RRCA Certified Running Coach
Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness Centers

Improve Your Time in 2016

Improve Your Time in 2016

So, you’ve run a marathon or half marathon (or maybe two or three) with the goal of “just finishing”. Congratulations! Finishing one of these runs is a tremendous accomplishment! But you may now be at the point in your running and racing career when you want to run faster, set a new personal record (PR) or meet a specific time goal. If that’s the case, you’ll need to modify your training program.

Your previous training has probably been completed at conversational pace, which is an easy pace in the lower part of your aerobic range. You may have incorporated some hill training and a bit of tempo running, but for the most part, your running has been at your steady conversational pace. In order to achieve a time goal, incorporate more running at a faster pace. Here’s how:

 *   Interval Training: This type of training improves your aerobic capacity and running efficiency and teaches your body to run faster while in an aerobic mode. For the marathon, intervals will be somewhere between ½-mile and 1½-miles. These intervals will be run at, or slightly faster than, your 5K race pace and each interval will be followed by a one- to two-minute slow recovery jog. (Run as slow as needed to allow full recovery between each interval.) Start incorporating this workout about three months before your marathon. Do this one to two times per week, replacing existing runs on your training plan that occur during the week. Start with just one or two intervals per session. Add one additional interval each week or two, until you are at six to 12 intervals (six for the 1½-mile intervals, 12 for the ½-mile intervals) per session. Taper these runs down during the final three weeks, as you will do with the rest of your running. For the half marathon, build up to four to 10 intervals (four for 1½-mile intervals, 10 for ½-mile intervals) rather than six to 12.

 *   Tempo work: During long runs, incorporate some tempo running. These workouts increase your aerobic capacity and improve your aerobic/anaerobic threshold. In addition, this type of workout teaches your body and mind to push its limits when you are tired. Here again, start incorporating this about three months before your race by including about 30 minutes at tempo pace in the second half of your long run. (Tempo pace is somewhere between your 10K and 10 mile race pace.) As your long runs increase in time and distance over the next weeks, build the tempo portion to 45 minutes for your final long run of 20-22 miles. Once again, you will not do this work in the last two to three weeks before the race, since you won’t be doing long runs during the taper period. For the half marathon, start with 20 minutes at tempo pace and build up to 30-35 minutes during your final long run of 12 miles.

Be sure to pay attention to your body and how it reacts to these workouts, as everyone is different in their response. A bit of soreness is normal, but if you find you’re having persistent soreness, unusual aches and pains or extreme fatigue, back off on the progressions described above. If you want a more personalized program, consider working with a running coach on a specific workout for you.

These two additions to your workouts will really improve your aerobic capacity and your mental and physical toughness. They also allow you to really push your limits and accomplish a new personal record or time goal. Best of luck!

Laurie Lasseter
ACE Certified Personal Trainer
RRCA Certified Running Coach
Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness Centers

10 Last-Minute Marathon and Half Marathon Tips

10 Last-Minute Marathon and Half Marathon Tips

By Dr. Michael Hartmann and Laurie Lasseter

This is it, the final stretch. Months of your life, more effort than you imagined and quite possibly, millions of steps have led you to these last days of training. With not much more than the big day ahead, here are our last-minute tips for marathon/half marathon day survival.

  1. Plan everything. Plan transportation to the race and from the finish area. Let friends and family know where you’ll meet them after the race. Do everything you can in advance, right down to trimming your toenails and pinning on your bib the night before the race.

  1. Not too much race expo. The expo is fun and a great way to get excited for the race, but don’t spend too much time or energy walking there. Don’t try any samples of new foods or drinks either. Save them for after the race.

  1. Weather rules. The most important thing is to wear layers on race day. Layering is crucial, as you’ll be shedding clothing as your body heats up. Don’t forget gloves and a hat if it’s chilly. And be sure to wear items you’re okay with tossing in the garbage throughout the race, if necessary.

  1. The perfect gear bag. The following items are must-haves for a well-stocked race bag: throwaway clothing (sweatshirt, sweatpants, early race shirt, gloves, headband or hat), plastic garbage bags, throwaway blanket, almost-empty Body Glide or Vaseline, sunscreen, toilet paper, pre-race hydration, pre-race food, early race hydration (including a fuel belt, if needed for especially congested races.)

  1. Lubricate!Make sure to lubricate all potential chafing spots before the race with Body Glide or Vaseline. Anywhere there is friction, like armpits and nipples, is a potential trouble spot for chafing.

  1. Practice gratitude. Remember, the volunteers and spectators are the ones who make the race possible. Take time before, during and after the race to thank them. Not only does it make them feel great, it boosts your race satisfaction, too.

  1. Do what works. Do not try anything new on race day. Shoes should be broken in and apparel pre-worn (preferably during your long training runs). Eat food you know digests easily. The same old choices leave less room for surprises.

  1. Be mindful of mechanics. During the race, focus on good form to get you through rough patches. Focus on staying relaxed, especially in the upper body. If your legs need a break, focus more on your arm swing and vice versa.

  1. Remember your mantra. Choose a saying that you’ll repeat during the race, especially when fatigue and discomfort visit. Whatever you choose, find one that motivates you. If you aren’t a “mantra person,” just try to stay focused and positive during rough patches and remember that your training has properly prepared you for success.

  1. Roll with the punches. Weather or unanticipated terrain difficulty can thwart your plans. Visualize yourself overcoming challenges and be ready to adjust expectations if needed. You’ve come this far and you will succeed! Good luck!


Dr. Michael Hartmann

Race Medical Director, Healthy Driven Naperville Marathon & Half Marathon

Emergency Room physician, Edward Hospital


Laurie Lasseter


ACE Certified Personal Trainer

RRCA Certified Running Coach

Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness Centers

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