Marathon Tips from the Life Fitness Employees Who've Run One

The Chicago Marathon (taking place on Sunday, October 13) is an amazing event and one of the best marathons in the world. The fact that the headquarters of Life Fitness is located just outside of Chicago might make us biased, but we’re fine with that. Being active is part of the culture at Life Fitness, and dozens of our employees have crossed the Chicago Marathon finish line over the years. A few of them offer tips on how to make any marathon experience memorable.

Marathon Training-Related Tips

Mentally break the race into two "halves", the first 20 miles, then the remaining 10k. If you start too fast, you’ll pay the price…with interest. Cory Hofmann, Biomechanics Engineer

Drink as much water as you can—to full hydration, without going overboard—the day and night before the marathon up to and including the morning of with a hard stop 2 to 2-1/2 hours before start time. If the forecast calls for temperatures significantly higher than what you've trained in then all bets are off. Hydrate as much as you can, and stay alive. Adam Cohen, Senior Manager, Operations & Innovation

Contrary to what people think. The big carb load is better to do a couple nights before the race. The night before, eat a smaller portion. You don’t want to feel heavy. And most importantly this is not the time to try a new restaurant or go to a friend’s potluck. Don’t take the risk on something your stomach is not used to. Erica Barlow, Segment Development Manager

I scrawl my name in huge letters on the front of my shirt so that spectators will cheer for me by name when I run by them. There’s nothing more motivating at the 20-mile mark than someone cheering you on.
- Kelly Kaiser, General Counsel

Amanda Zubricki after running a marathonRandom Insights

Don’t try anything brand new on race day (shoes, clothing, foods, drinks) that you haven’t already practiced with or used. Hofmann

I scrawl my name in huge letters on the front of my shirt so that spectators will cheer for me by name when I run by them. There’s nothing more motivating at the 20-mile mark than someone cheering you on. Kelly Kaiser, General Counsel

The week before the race choose your non-running shoes wisely. I advise you put away your heels and wear comfy, supported shoes. Also, wear compression socks while at work or traveling for an added boost of positive circulation. Amanda Zubricki, Cost Accountant

Grab a few $5 gift cards and put them in ziplock baggies with a thank you note to hand out to a few of the volunteers giving out water. It just adds to the overall awesome feeling and atmosphere. Pay it forward and all that. Lindsey Breh, Art Director

No weird rituals, but I always needed to run with my green hat and after every long run I drank a Coke Zero. Jackie Ortiz, Associate UX/UI Designer

Plan your meeting point with your friends and family ahead of time. You don’t want to be wandering and looking for your people after running 26.2 miles. Ortiz

Make sure to take a second and think about the fact that you are running a freakin’ marathon!
- Lindsey Breh, Art Director

Jackie Ortiz after the marathonEnjoying the Marathon Moment

Get to the start corral early, take it in. There’s nothing like standing in the sea full of runners (especially in Chicago) and realizing it’s “go time.” Hearing the National Anthem will give you chills. It’s OK to be quiet, put your headphones in, and just focus. Barlow

Trust your training and enjoy yourself! Chicago is an amazing course with amazing spectators, so if you are planning on running with music make sure to press pause every once in a while and just listen to the crowds cheer you on. Zubricki

There’s nothing like the feeling of crossing that finish line after running 26.2 miles. You feel as high as the clouds and stronger than anyone or anything. Enjoy every minute of it and #runhappy. Anna Carbonara, Creative Project Manager

Talk to yourself if you need it. At mile 24 of my second marathon, my feet started hurting and I started to doubt myself a little. I literally had to talk out loud and say, “You're almost there, Jackie – you will finish." It works! Ortiz

While crossing that finish line is the most amazing feeling (both physically and mentally), remember that running the marathon is not only about the finish. Take time to appreciate the journey. Take joy in the race, the spectators' cheers, the sights and sounds, and the pride that you feel with every step. When you cross that finish line, savor not only that moment, but all the steps that got you there. Julie Daly, Senior Manager, Biomechanics Engineering

The very best tip that was given to me and I always pass on to others is when you’re in the middle of running, make sure to take a second and think about the fact that you are running a freakin’ marathon! It’s something less than 1% of the population can say they’ve done. Don’t forget to breathe and reflect on what you’re doing because that moment is something you’ll want to remember forever. Breh