SUMMER MARATHON TRAINING PROGRAM

The Chicago Area Runners Association, CARA, is a non-profit organization committed to serving and advocating for the local running community. We are Chicagoland’s running club, providing accessible opportunities for all runners to train, race, learn, be social and volunteer. 

CARA, with over 10,000 members, is the nation’s third-largest running club, serving as the voice of local runners, as well as providing over 1,300 dates of programming and events per year. Learn more at www.cararuns.org.

ABOUT CARA TRAINING

Experience CARA's "Power of the Group" on your marathon journey!

CARA group training will provide you the support, community, and accountability you need to successfully reach the start line ready to race your fall marathon. 

The CARA program has helped tens of thousands of runners complete 26.2. Our popular 18-week program has long been Chicago's premier group training program, serving newcomers and experienced runners alike.

CARA runners enjoy access to training sites across the city and suburbs. With CARA training you will never have to go it alone. Your pace group leaders and fellow participants will give you the Power of the Group that has gotten CARA runners to the finish line more than any other program in Chicagoland running. 

PROGRAM BENEFITS

 

  • 18-Week Training Plan: CARA Director of Training and Coach Tim Bradley provides an 18-week training plan with novice, novice-II, intermediate, advanced and run/walk options so you can train at the level right for your fitness and lifestyle. You will have confidence knowing your training program is led by CARA coaches who have national certifications and years of proven coaching success long before we bring them into CARA.

  • Group Training: Group long runs and speed training. Gain security and camaraderie with the support of your pace group and group leaders.

  • Pacer Led Runs: Weekend long runs will be led by friendly, knowledgeable, and experienced CARA Group Leaders, providing you pacing, and so much more! We offer groups at each 30-second pace interval, from 7:00 to 11:30 mins/mile, plus 12:00 Run/Walk, 12:30 Run/Walk and 13:00 Run/Walk.

  • Location: Train where you want and have the flexibility to train at different sites in the city and suburbs throughout the season. You are never locked into a single location.

  • NovaCare Hotline: Gain access to CARA's exclusive 24/7 Injury Hotline with Novacare Physical Therapist ready to support your injury questions.

  • Expertise: A weekly info-packed newsletter from CARA Director of Training Coach Bradley.

  • Training Guide: A hard-copy training guide with your training schedule, and the information, education, and tips you need to successfully complete the program.

  • Hydration Support: Stations serving Gatorade Endurance and water during your group runs.

  • Gear: CARA runners receive a training tech shirt, plus Ready to Run 20 Miler finishers will receive an additional shirt to celebrate completing the program.

TRAINING LOCATIONS

Group Long Runs:

  • Saturdays @ 6:00 a.m. at Downtown / Monroe & Lake Shore Dr. (Chicago)

  • Saturdays @ 6:00 a.m. at Montrose Beach (Chicago) [Relocated to green space on the Northwest corner of Wilson Ave. and Lake Shore Dr.)

  • Saturdays @ 6:00 a.m. at Lincoln Park (Chicago)

  • Saturdays @ 6:15 a.m. at Wheaton Mariano's / Prairie Path (Wheaton)

  • Saturdays @ 6:30 a.m. at Montrose Beach (Chicago) [Relocated to green space on the Northwest corner of Wilson Ave. and Lake Shore Dr.)

  • Saturdays @ 6:30 a.m. at Busse Woods Forest Preserve (Schaumburg)

  • Saturdays @ 6:45 a.m. at Old School Forest Preserve (Libertyville)

  • Saturdays @ 6:50 a.m. at Yankee Woods (Oak Forest) [6:30 am beginning 7/25/20]

  • Saturdays @ 7:00 a.m. at Bunker Hill Forest Preserve (Niles)

  • Saturdays @ 6:30 a.m. at Christ Church Oakbrook / Bemis Woods (Darien*)

  • Sundays @ 6:30 a.m. at Montrose Beach (Chicago) [Relocated to green space on the Northwest corner of Wilson Ave. and Lake Shore Dr.)

 

Track Workouts:

  • Wednesdays @ 6:00 a.m. at Lake Shore Park Track (Chicago)

  • Wednesdays @ 6:00 p.m. at Trinity Christian College Track (Palos Heights)

  • Wednesdays @ 6:00 p.m. at Gene Leonard Park (Oak Forest)

  • Wednesdays @ 6:30 p.m. at Downers Grove South High School (Downers Grove)

  • Wednesdays @ 6:30 p.m. at Ost Field Park Track (Palatine)

  • Wednesdays @ 6:30 p.m. at Montrose Beach Wilson Track (Chicago

VIRTUAL TRAINING

CARA provides runners around the world the opportunity enjoy the CARA training program through its virtual program. 

Learn more HERE.

i-XXNP54s-X2 (1).jpg

GROUP TRAINING REGISTRATION

Due to changes in the program, program fees have been reduced for 2020, as follows:

 

Group Training: $160 (Previously $219)

  • Save $35 - 2020 CARA Supporter Level Members

  • Save $20 - Returner Discount*

  • Member and returner discounts may be combined.

  • Free / Discounted - Charity Runners (CARA partner charity team runners receive free or discounted training. Runners must request their team's code from their team leader.)

*Returners discount is for participants who have completed the program any of the following years - 2017, 2018, 2019. Please e-mail info@cararuns.org for a program returner discount.

i-Hm7QLFM-X2 (1).jpg

COVID-19 GUIDELINES

CARA has extensive operational preparedness plans to meet all safety and gathering guidelines provided by state and local authorities. Please review our participant guide for complete details and expectations. ​

Participation advisements and expectations:

  • Do not participate if you are feeling sick or ill, and or have a fever, or if you have been in contact with someone unrecovered from COVID-19.

  • Persons from high risk groups for COVID-19 complications should consult their physician before participating.

  • Do not engage in traditional forms of physical contact (hand shakes, high-fives, hugs, partner stretching, etc.).

  • Do not engage in close group pictures/selfies.

  • Do not spit or blow nose while running in the group. Must be away from others, and at least six feet away from others.

  • Do not share personal items, such as hydration, energy gels, towels, etc.

  • Participants must wear a mask or face covering anytime they are within six feet of others.

  • Participants are expected to self carry personal hydration (bottles/packs), and to use hydration stations for refill only.

  • Participants may be required to exit the group temporarily or permanently should their actions not meet expectations and or they are creating risk for themselves or others.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Weather Policy

We will run/wak rain or shine. However, if there is lightning or other hazardous weather we will cancel or postpone. Our full weather policy is HERE.

 

Weather-related announcements will be made through the twitter feed www.twitter.com/cararuns and in the twitter box at www.cararuns.org.

 

Packet Pick-Up

Packet pick-up is now closed. ​Participants who did not pick up their packet may come to the CARA office, or may pay to have their packet mailed HERE.

 

CARA Office Location / Hours:

  • 1100 W. Cermak Rd. Chicago

  • Late Pick-Up Only - July 21st to July 24th

  • Tuesday to Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Terms / Cancellation Policy

Should the start of group runs be delayed past July 11, and CARA is not able to provide a confirmed approved start date before August 1, the program will be canceled.

If the program is canceled, CARA will provide the following options to paid registered participants to choose from:

  • Option 1: Full credit of fees paid towards any future CARA training program through the end of 2021, and extension of CARA Supporter Level membership to the end of 2021, or

  • Option 2: Full credit of fees paid towards choice of one CARA program or event of any kind of equal or lesser value. Must be used by the end of 2021. And extension of CARA Supporter Level membership to the end of 2021, or

  • Option 3: Refund 2020 training program registration fee, minus $50.

 

Participants may voluntarily exit the program prior to June 8 and receive a full credit of fees paid towards any one CARA program or event of any kind of equal or lesser value. Must be used by the end of 2021.

 

Other Terms / Details:

  • Program registration does not include entry or registration fees for marathon race.

  • Fees are not prorated for late entry.

  • No refunds will be issued for any reason, except where described in the cancellation policy.

 

General FAQ

Member discount is applicable to 2020 CARA Supporter Level memberships (Individual, Family or Student package). 2019 members must renew to receive the discount.

 

Registrations for group training without a member discount includes a 2020 CARA Supporter Level membership (Individual). Learn more about CARA Supporter Level member benefits.

 

The program returner discount is for past participants of the previous three seasons (2017, 2018, and 2019). E-mail info@cararuns.org to request your returners discount code.

 

Members of CARA's charity team receive free training through CARA. CARA's charity team leader will provide a special discount code to team members. Learn more HERE.

 

Members of any charity team should contact their charity's team leader to see if their charity has partnered with CARA to receive free or discounted training program fees and if so, to receive instruction to register for free or discounted training rates. As part of our mission, CARA provides over $65,000 in subsidized training for charity team runners each year. A special discount code is needed for charity team discounts.

Credit Card Fees:

 

Online registrations paid with credit card are subject to a service fee by our registration provider. To avoid online credit card fees, send a check for the amount owed to CARA, 1100 W. Cermak Rd. #231, Chicago, IL 60608. Provide full name, e-mail, phone number and note that check is for summer marathon training program fees. CARA will then contact to complete registration.

 

Age Minimum

Runners must be 18 years or older to participate in group training.

 

Volunteer Information

Volunteer to be a group leader? You are encouraged to apply. Group leaders must be active CARA members to access the application. Learn more about group leading HERE.

Volunteer to serve at a hydration station. Email jillian@cararuns.org.

 

Volunteer to assist at track workouts. Email training@cararuns.org.

Questions / Contact

General: info@cararuns.org

 

Training Questions: training@cararuns.org

 

Phone: 312-666-9836

VIRTUAL PROGRAM

Virtual Training Local Option: $145 (REGISTER)

  • Save 15% - 2020 CARA Supporter Level Members

  • Free / Discounted - Charity Runners (CARA partner charity teams receive free or discounted training. Runners must request their teams code from their team leader.)

 

Virtual Training Out-of-Area Option: $105 (REGISTER)

  • Save 15% - 2020 CARA Supporter Level Members

  • Free / Discounted - Charity Runners (CARA partner charity teams receive free or discounted training. Runners must request their teams code from their team leader.)

 

The program offers two options: Virtual Local and Virtual Out-of-Area.

  • 18-Week Training Plan: CARA Director of Training and Coach Tim Bradley provides an 18-week training plan with novice, novice-II, intermediate, and advanced options so you can train at the level right for your fitness and lifestyle. You will have confidence knowing your training program is led by CARA coaches who have national certifications and years of proven coaching success long before we bring them into CARA.

  • Private STRAVA Club: Enjoy access to CARA's private club, just for the training program, on STRAVA. There you can receive daily training, and interact with fellow training program runners.

  • NovaCare Hotline: Gain access to CARA's exclusive 24/7 Injury Hotline with Novacare Physical Therapist ready to support your injury questions.

  • Expertise: A weekly info-packed newsletter from CARA Director of Training Coach Bradley.

  • Ready to Run 20-Miler: "Local Option" Virtual Program runners may join CARA training groups for their 20 Miler on 9/20. See details above for the Ready to Run 20 Miler.

  • Marathon Day: All virtual program runners can take part in CARA's marathon weekend plans. Please see our target race information and contigency information above.

 

© 2020 Chicago Area Runners Association.  For Questions /  Contact us at info@cararuns.org

Registered 501(c)(3). EIN: 36-3054942

  • Grey Facebook Icon
  • Instagram