Ready to Run – Prepping for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Body Gears physical therapists (PTs) know the ins and outs of running. Many of their patients are avid runners and several PTs, including Dr. Erica Burhop, PT, DPT, throw running into the mix of their active lifestyles. As Chicagoans and world-class runners across the globe prep for the upcoming Bank of America Chicago Marathon, held on October 9, 2016, many will kick training into high gear after learning of their spot in the lottery.

Whether you are a well-seasoned runner with multiple medals or someone crossing your fingers and toes hoping to get into this year’s lottery, Burhop has some tips to get you through the next few months of training and to get you to the finish line!

Pick the right shoes…and socks!

Find your nearest specialty running store to purchase a good pair of running shoes. Plan to wear them during your 10 plus mileage days and until you have crossed the 200-mile lifespan on your shoes.  If the shoes do not cause blisters, plan to buy more for the duration of your training. Also, a great pair of running socks makes a huge difference. Spend more on the double-layered socks for improved moisture control and decreased risk of blistering.


While you are out there logging miles on the pavement, it is important to complement your stride with cross-training.  This not only reduces your risk of injury, but helps limit mid-training burnout. So, be sure to pick something you enjoy like swimming, yoga, cycling, or even a mixture of them all!

Spend time building core and overall body strength

“As a physical therapist, I often find that many people do a decent job cross-training; however, they tend to leave core and body strengthening out in fear of being too sore for the next day’s run,” said Burhop. “The idea is to build your leg, arm and trunk strength in order to make your run more efficient and faster.”

Have your running gait assessed

This needs to be done very early in your training, so you can use the tips you acquire and have time to effectively adhere them to your running stride.

“At Body Gears, we can assess your gait and guide you through corrections using the LightSpeed Body Weight Support System,” said Burhop. “This allows you to feel yourself adapt to changes in your body at a fraction of your weight, so you do not need to worry about falling. We also streamline your body and core strengthening to work on what your body needs most.”

Plan time for your pre and post-run routine

Training for a marathon is a huge time commitment. When planning out your weekly runs, be sure to plan for your pre-run dynamic warm-up and a cool-down worthy of the effort you just put in. This is critical for injury prevention and to limit the amount of awkward waddling you do the next day.

Hydration and nutrition is key 

Many runners are devoting more time to researching what they should eat the night before and the morning of race day. While this will help greatly with the energy you have during your run, this won’t help when you are going through the grueling training in the months prior to the marathon. Feed your body nutritiously throughout the entire training process. This goes along with hydration – don’t forget to hydrate throughout the day during your training months, instead of cramming it all in during and after your runs.

For more information on how Body Gears’ PTs can help you prep for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon or another big race, call 877-709-1090.

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