NOTE: NBC Chicago will offer a live stream with complete race coverage beginning at 7 a.m. Oct. 13 right here.
As the city prepares to rally and celebrate at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, remember one thing runners - the difficult part is over. You survived training. Bravo.
Seasoned runners know that's an extremely exhausting but incredibly rewarding feat. If you're new to this, you are a conqueror.
But even with all that training, there are some things you should prepare for on Sunday. This list of advice and tips is important and will be very helpful as you approach race day.
• Gear. Stick to what you’ve trained in. If you’re in between choices always choose compression. Compression tights, socks or/and arm sleeves. The material is built to help reduce muscle strain, fatigue and to increase blood circulation. If it’s chilly out, wear an old pair of clothes over your race gear that you wouldn’t mind throwing out during the race.
• Shoes. Stick to the shoe you have already broken in. Introducing anything new at this point is not an option. Treat yourself to a new pair after you finish the race.
• Nutrition. The next few days stick to what you know. Eat vegetables, whole foods, fruit and drink plenty of water.
• Electrolytes. If you haven’t found something to give you a quick boost of energy and you’re looking, try dropping a Nuun tablet in your water. You can purchase them at Whole Foods, local vitamin shops or Target. CLIF BLOKS energy chews are another favorite of mine. If this is your first time trying either one of these this close to marathon, I’d pick Nuun tablet.
• Rest. Hit the sheets early. Make sure you’re getting an adequate amount of sleep over the next few days. You want to feel well-rested and strong on race day. How you treat your body the days leading up to the big day matter.
• Recovery. A key component. Book an appointment for pre and post marathon recovery right now. Look for special marathon deals or treat yourself to the recovery services.
• Stretch. STRETCH. STRETCH. Hamstrings, hip flexors, calves, glutes, quads and IT bands.
• Dashed blue line. If you need a simple guide, along the marathon route is a dashed blue line. Marathon organizers say, this is a quick, efficient and measured route to finish the race.
• On the course. Don’t start the race fast. Take it all in and embrace the crowd. Build up to speed. Jog or power walk, when necessary.
• The wind. It's the Windy City. While it might not be where the city got this nickname, the wind can still be tricky. If the race wind is too much, run with a pack of people. Runners will block the wind.
• Spectators. The crowd cheering for you is a huge part of the race. Throughout each neighborhood slap high-fives, dance to the live music, grab oranges, bananas, Swedish fish, Jell-O shots or chocolate.
• Chafing. Race organizers will have Vaseline for you to slap onto areas to help relieve the burning sensation. Pack body glide to put on right after the race.
Marquita Anderson is a 3-time finisher of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. She has traveled from San Francisco to Austin to New York and several other cities to complete 11 half marathons. She spent three years as a Pacer for the Nike Chicago Run Club and despite the program's ending, you can still find her pacing at special events.