Yesterday I had the great fortune of attending the Chicago Area Runners Association (hereafter abbreviated as CARA because that’s what everyone calls it and who wants to type out Chicago Area Runners Association every time?) Super Clinic.

Brief back story: I joined CARA after raising $250 for DetermiNation last month (thanks, Mom and Dad!). Crossing that fundraising threshold allowed me free membership to CARA, which I definitely wanted to take full advantage of. Running can be a very individual sport, which I like, but I was also looking for the support of a group, which is why DetermiNation and CARA were both so appealing to me. I got an e-mail about the clinic about a week ago and had been looking forward to it ever since. C made a little fun of me for being so excited because in his words, “You just run.” Maybe so, but for me, it’s not that simple. 26.2 miles is a big deal and there’s a certain amount of preparation that has to be put into it otherwise it’s just not going to go well.


(L: Carey Pinkowski, executive race director- Chicago Marathon, R: Tom Moran, CARA board member)

The clinic was designed for novice and advanced marathoners alike and split up so that the novice runners would be in one group and the advanced in the other. We had a jam packed agenda that covered the basics of CARA marathon training, an overview of the Chicago Marathon, training methods, running injuries, injury prevention, strength training, nutrition, and running form and efficiency. Sound like a lot? It was.

I’m really glad I took the time to go because I feel like I came away with some really valuable information, including ideas I have never thought of before- things I will definitely be incorporating into my own training. Plus, I got to hear this guy speak:

Hal Higdon has run 111 marathons and has written a few editions of a guide to marathon training. It makes me shudder to think of even running half the amount of marathons he has, but I think he’s incredible.

Overall, the clinic was a great experience (even if it did take me 25 minutes just to get out of the parking garage and another 40 to get home). Although it didn’t really make me any less nervous about this whole thing, it got me really excited for what lies ahead. The 18 week training program officially starts this week!