Chicago Marathon

Fall Marathon Guide

by Elizabeth Eckhart

While some may associate cooler weather with indoor workouts, distance lovers know that fall is actually prime time for running a lengthier workout. Which is why many of the world’s top marathons take place between October and January. Besides that cool autumn breeze being safer for runners − some oddly warm fall days in past years have had catastrophic results − committing to a end of year marathon means your summer workouts are driven by a tough but worthy goal. Plus, once you’ve finished, you can feel free to indulge in a slice of pumpkin pie, or any other holiday treats that are sure to come your way. Below, we’ve picked out some of the most fun fall and winter marathons. If you’re not participating in any this year, be sure to check in on the races − most sports packages will cover the major marathons (click here for channel info). Then, start planning your own marathon outing for the 2015 season!

Bank of America Chicago Marathon: This famous marathon has been held annually for an impressive 30 years, and will be taking place this year on October 12th. The race is capped at 45,000 registered runners, a number that is generally reached well over half a year before the race day. Since it’s a city marathon, Chicago’s course is flat and fast, meaning that many record-setting times have occurred on the cement terrain. Moses Mosop of Kenya won the 2011 race, setting the record at 2:05:37, and Liliya Shobukhova of Russia has clocked in at 2:18:20 (although her credibility as an athlete has been called into question).

Polar Circle Marathon: If you’ve never been to Greenland, participating in this marathon will show you that the country is most decidedly not green − at least not where you’ll be! This is one of few arctic races, which prides itself on polar landscapes and ice sheet ground. The course takes place primarily on a gravel road (though chances are the road will be hidden beneath a few layers of snow) in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, just north of the Polar Circle.

TCS New York City Marathon: Like Chicago’s course, New York City shows off some stunning skyline views and a variety of the cities interesting neighborhoods in all five of the boroughs between the start and finish lines. The first Sunday of November is always “Marathon Sunday,” when over 2 million New Yorkers head out to support the athletes attempting the race. The race attracts over 100,000 applicants, of which 45,000 are chosen based on qualifying times, charity support, and lottery.

Marathon Des Alpes: This marathon, also known as the French Riviera Marathon, is a race which has shockingly only been held for four previous years. This year’s fifth event, however, has already surpassed an impressive 12,000 runners who are registered and willing to run through the famous seaside towns and gardens. Besides picturesque villages, runners will also be delighted to see the Nice Phoenix Park, filled with peacocks, ostriches and even exotic fish. They will also run past the Mediterranean Sea, the chateaux and villas of Cap d’Antibes, and much, much more!

Bagan Temple Marathon: “Adventure Marathons”, such as the Polar Circle Marathon, offer some of the most unique and stunning views, and the Bagan Temple Marathon is no different. This race is in central Myanmar, within the ancient site of Bagan, which is home to more than 2,000 temples. The course also winds through smaller villages, offering a look into both the ancient culture and current lifestyles of Myanmar residents.

Honolulu Marathon: Though the Honolulu marathon takes place on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it is still one of the ten largest marathons races in the world. The race attracts 25,000 annual runners who are led around a volcanic crater, Diamond Head, and Kapiolani Park. Runners will also run by Iolani Palace and Kawaiahao Church - two of Honolulu’s proudest tourist attractions.

No matter which marathon you choose, local or international, lace up your shoes and complete that training, since it won’t be long before the chill air turns too brisk even for the most dedicated athletes!

Marathon News

By Elizabeth Eckhart

The Sochi Winter Olympics are here, and many of us are going through a running competition withdrawal. Even seeing the familiar faces of famed Track & Field stars Lolo Jones and Lauryn Williams who both have now chosen to switch over to bobsled, doesn’t quite fulfill our needs. Which is why we’ve compiled some updates and news on the 2016 Rio Olympics, where our favorite runners and, hopefully some talented newcomers, will compete for medals once again.

Just a few days ago, Los Angeles was awarded the location for the 2016 men’s and women’s U.S. Olympic marathon trials, after a close debate between LA and Houston. Max Siegel, CEO of USA Track & Field (USATF) preferred LA, despite the knowledge that a trial in Houston would have taken place earlier, allowing for more time for runners to recover if they wished to attempt the Olympic 10,000m. Athletes like 2012’s Amy Hastings and Janet Bawcom, who finished fourth and fifth in the January marathon trials went on to make the Olympic 10k team in June. Nonetheless, the LA Olympic trial will be held on Feb. 13, 2016, and will determine Team USA’s marathon entrants at the Rio Games.

A positive aspect of the LA course is its multiple loops, meant to simulate the Rio course as closely as possible. Which means, those runners which do qualify really might have the best shot at medaling in Rio. The men and women will have separate starts, and both races will be televised on NBC (right now, you can watch the Sochi Olympics on the NBC website or through Direct TV’s Universal Sports Network, available through their website).

The annual LA Marathon, whose executives were in full support of the Olympic trials bid, have moved their annual race to take place the day following the Olympic trials, in order to create a weekend-long celebration of the sport. Los Angeles hopes the marathon trials will add to their efforts to host the Summer Games in 2024.

“This is great for L.A., great for our economy. It’s great for our sports past and it’s great for our sports future. L.A. is arguably the sporting capital of the world,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti, in an interview with The Times. “I think this will be great for track and field in general in Los Angeles, for our international profile, and for the L.A. Marathon here, locally.”

Not only is the location a new choice, the time standards have also been updated since 2012’s marathons. For many elite runners, the Olympic Trials, not the Olympics themselves are the goal, and this year it will be just a little bit harder to compete. In order to guarantee a paid trip as well as an invitation to the trials, men will have to run a 2:15 or under, and women will have to finish in 2:37 or under. If runners are willing to fly out themselves they can still compete in the trials, as long as they can manage to stay under a 2:18 (men) and 2:43 (women), which is a few seconds lower than the 2:19 and 2:46 qualifications needed to run at the 2012 trials. Half-marathon times will still be acceptable; men can compete with a 1:05 and women with a 1:15. USATF official and director of events, Jim Estes, told Newswire that, “The main thing in revising the standards is to continue to ‘raise the bar.’”

There’s no doubt a large amount of hopefuls will manage to make the times and head toward Los Angeles for either the Olympic Trials, or the Los Angeles Marathon. The most popular courses to yield Olympic Marathon Trials qualifying times are the Boston Marathon in April, and the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in October. The course that sent the most qualifiers, in 2012, however, was the California International Marathon, which had 47 qualifiers.

Elizabeth Eckhart is a news and entertainment writer that was born and bred in Chicago. She began running cross country and track in middle school, and hasn't stopped yet! She can be reached or followed on Twitter at @elizeckhart.

Interview With a Runner

Stephanie Baker, is our featured runner this week.  We have known her for over 10 years, since our days at Hamilton College. Steph lives in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood in Washington DC. She's an international policy analyst with a federal agency who loves both running and lifting heavy weights. She's a force to be reckon with - both on the race course and off!

How do you know us - Hot Bird Running?
I went to college with both Meghan and Jessica.

What are your current running goals? Are you training for anything? 
I'm currently recovering from an injury, so my main goal is to get back to running pain free!  I'm currently signed up for the Cherry Blossom 10-miler and DC Nike Women's Half Marathon and am focused on staying healthy so I can cross both of those finish lines!

Who or what inspires you to run?
Just being able to be outside, exploring new and familiar places inspires me to hit the pavement as much as I can.  and moving my body motivates me to hit the pavement.  10 years ago you never would have been able to convince me that I would run a mile, let alone 2 marathons.

What is your favorite running route/place to run?
In DC, I have a great 10-mile loop that takes me around the Capitol, National Mall, Lincoln Memorial and Rock Creek Parkway.  It is such a refreshing and inspiring run.

I also travel a lot to Paris for work, so when I'm there I run along the Seine and just take in the beauty of the City of Lights. I always pinch myself on those runs - it doesn't get better than that.

Who is your favorite person to run with and why? 
My best friend.  I convinced her to run the Chicago Marathon with me last fall, but got injured during training.  Fortunately I was able to run the last 5 miles of the race with her and had such a blast.  I don't have many friends that run and now that she's caught the bug, we're constantly planning our next races.

What is the best piece of running advice you ever received and who was it from?
Well it came from the Hot Birds of course!  They told me to focus on quality not quantity.  That advice helped me to economize my training runs and gain speed.

What is your favorite running gear/piece of clothing?
My boyfriend got me a Garmin Forerunner 610 for Christmas and now I can't live with out it.

Fall Marathon Training Tips

 Training for a fall half-marathon or marathon? You'll have some long runs ahead of you and we want you to look forward to them (instead of dreading them!) Here are our top tips for getting through it with a smile and injury free.

1. Get up early and run. It's hot out and heat will affect your run and how you feel. Take advantage of empty streets (in NYC) and enjoy a long run. To know how heat affects your pace, see this nifty calculator from Runners Connect.

2. Water. Drink lots of it throughout your day. Bring water with you on your runs over 1 hour or know where water fountains are along your route. 

3. Find a buddy. Run with a friend or meet up with a group. Those long runs are well, long and having someone to talk to or to help push you through to the end is awesome. Jessica and I became such good friends because of running! 

4. Bring Money. Just in case! You might need extra water, a coconut water, food or a subway ride home. 

5. New Routes. Pick new routes and/or place to run. A change of scenery might be just what you need to put some pep back into your runs. Need some help with routes? Check out MapMyFitness for routes.

6. Ice. Buy ice packs (bags of frozen peas work great)! They will become your best friend during training. Your muscles swell and might be inflammed after long or strenous workouts. Ice helps reduce the swelling by constricting the blood vessels and the cold from an ice pack provides pain relief.  For those who want the real deal, we love our Nortech Labs Reusable Hot/Cold Pack (size 8'x10')

7. Train Smart. Marathon training is a challenging, long term, phsyically demanding commitment.  Enter into it wisely and listen to what your body tells you throughout your training.  Remember, you are training not just for the finish line, but also to arrive at the start injury free on race day.  Treat your body to an extra rest day or a sports massage every once and a while. If you are in NYC, schedule a massage with the best massage therapist in town, Jennifer Mayer

8. All runners are not created equal.  Follow your own training plan adjusted to your phsyical needs, abilities and schedule.  Just because the other people you in marathon training are running 40 miles a week or not doing any speedwork, doesn't mean that's right for you. Personalize your training and understand what workouts YOU should do and how much is appropriate for YOUR body.  If you would like to learn how to implement tempo runs, interval workouts, hill training properly contact us to schedule a private coaching session.  We are offering a Fall Marathon program. Start anytime. Click here to read more about the program. 

There are so many great races this fall: NYC Marathon, Chicago Marathon, the Marine Corp Marathon, and the Portland Marathon to name a few. Comment below and tell us which race you are running.