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Category Archive: Chicago Half Marathon

Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K Athlete Guide Now Available

Get ready for the 2017 Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K taking place this Sunday, May 21st! We’ve been making preparations to make this year’s race the best one ever!

Whether you’ll be running the half marathon or the 10K distance, we can’t wait for you to see what you’ve got coming for you on race weekend; not to mention a brand new Spring Market Finish Festival venue out of gorgeous Maggie Daley Park.

Check out the Athlete Guide for detailed schedules, packet pick-up dates and times, course information and more!

> View the 2017 Athlete Guide here

Please keep an eye on our website, Facebook page and emails for any additional updates before the race. We’ll see you at the Start line!

Fit for Two: Exercising While Expecting

Olympic runner Alysia Montano competes in 2014 Track & Field Championship while 34 weeks pregnant

 

“Who Run the World?”

We have all heard the stories, passed down from generation to generation, of our sisters of old bearing children through everything from surviving the Ice Age and global epidemics, to colonization and traveling to new lands, to widespread industrialization and the chaotic modern career. Let’s face it, women are pretty resilient.

We understand, as with all things pregnancy, there are risks to placing exertion on growing life. Yet, pregnant women crossed the Wild West and spent weeks in jail for protesting for our right to vote (We see you, Emmeline Pankhurst.) So, why does there remain a stigma behind the contemporary fit and pregnant lifestyle?

The truth of the matter boils down to ill-informed word of mouth, misconceptions and outdated guidelines. There seems to have always been a dichotomy between what should or should not be done while carrying a child. “Pregnant women were traditionally told ‘don’t move’ and ‘eat for two,’” says Raul Artal, MD, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health at the St. Louis University School of Medicine.

Many myths and misconceptions about what is good and healthy for women and their unborn child have traditionally replaced information with trepidation: “There’s been a lot of fear, and that’s really been a disservice,” says Catherine Cram, MS, an exercise physiologist and coauthor with Tere Stouffer Drenth of Fit Pregnancy for Dummies (Wiley Publishing, 2004). Stories passed down from nosy neighbors to frantic, expectant mothers have perpetuated this cycle for years. Lack of accessible information coupled with archaic medicinal practices led to many misconceptions which have unfortunately carried over late into the 20th century.

New Age Information

Fast forwarding to the 1980’s, one forward thinking gentleman would embark on a journey whose work and studies continue to be analyzed and postulated to this day. James Clapp III, MD set out to study what he assumed would be the health risks associated with exercising during pregnancy. With his research many misconceptions, including the following, were put to rest:

  1. “Exercise can cause infertility, low birth weight, congenital abnormalities and preterm labor.”
  2. “Running and other forms of weight-bearing exercise can cause miscarriage.”
  3.  “Don’t exercise for more than 15 minutes at a time.”
  4. “Don’t start a new exercise regimen once you become pregnant.”

His work revolutionized the modern woman in a decade that was all about fitness (We see you Jane Fonda) and helped spread the word on a topic that had been, up until then, kept mum (pun intended).

With these misconceptions being put to rest, why do we continue to hear opposing advice from professionals? “Although the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) updated its guidelines in 2002, lifting most restrictions on exercise during pregnancy (including keeping your heart rate under 140), many healthcare providers still aren’t aware of the revisions” states Sheila Mulrooney Eldred for the Experience Life Magazine article, Fitness for 2.

Thanks to that other revolution of the 80’s (hello internet), this information became readily available and widespread. According to Clapp’s studies, which can be found in his book Exercising Through Your Pregnancy, there is a plethora of benefits to exercising while pregnant such as:

  • 50 percent less likely to need induced labor or to require Pitocin (synthetic oxytocin)
  • 50 percent less likely to need intervention because of abnormalities in the fetal heart rate
  • 75 percent less likely to need forceps or a cesarean section

Not to mention that these women tend to feel better about themselves during and after the pregnancy. In addition, Eldred continues: “Clapp discovered that the placentas of fit moms tend to function better, creating a better blood flow between mother and fetus. Exercising also increases blood volume in moms, preventing varicose veins and swelling.”

Now that you have the green light, what now?

We are not suggesting that you enroll in Extreme CrossFit with spiked boulders (please don’t) but you do have options on various exercise regimes from running to swimming in order to keep you active and fit while carrying your little bun in the oven. Release the fear of the past and embrace the possibility of the future. Eldred notes these following general guidelines:

  • Fuel up. Eat enough to satiate hunger, Clapp says – preferably in small, frequent meals balanced with proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats, and preferably from whole-food sources.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink enough to keep your urine relatively clear (that’ll require approximately 91 ounces a day).
  • Be gentle with yourself. Expect to ease up here and there. Pregnancy, after all, will cause more dramatic changes in your body in a short period of time than anything else in your life. Your body is also putting a lot of energy and resources into making another body – not a trifling effort!
  • Rest as much as possible. Clapp suggests spending an extra hour at leisure for each hour you work out (in addition to your regular rest), and avoiding exercising to the point that you feel stressed out about it.
  • Adjust your athletic expectations. Regardless of your activity or fitness proficiency, it’s important to monitor the intensity of your exertion.

Pregnancy is a beautiful and cherished moment in a woman’s life. “I like to see women trusting their own bodies, and that’s what I generally advise them to do. There’s no reason to let everyone around you make you feel tentative about this really wonderful experience.” says Cram when asked for his best advice. While there are some changes that are forced upon us (until next time, Malbec…hello maternity clothes), exercise shouldn’t be one of them.

For the full article, please visit Experience Life, Fitness for 2 (Eldred, 2005).

Photo: Andy Lyons for Getty Images

2017 Chicagoland Series Medals

This past weekend, we unveiled the 2017 Chicago Spring Half Marathon and Chicago Half Marathon medals on their respective social media platforms to an uproar response! We are thrilled to see that you are just as excited for these events as we are. But, did you know that these medals are pieces of a whole? Check out the video below as we officially introduce the 2017 Chicagoland Series Challenge medal and see how they all come together to highlight the beauty and splendor of our beautiful city of Chicago! Will you take the challenge?

 

Official Medal Reveal Video

 

Chicago Spring Half Marathon

 

May 21, 2017

 

Chicago Half Marathon

September 24, 2017

 

2017 Chicagoland Series Challenge

The 2017 Chicagoland Series Medals

 

 

Saying No to the Plateau!

Don’t let the plateau get you down. Keep your head up!

For those of you training for the upcoming Chicago Spring Half Marathon in 2 weeks (or any race in general), there comes a time in your training when you hit that “blah wall.”  You know the one we’re talking about- the point in your training where you no longer find any excitement or challenge in your routine. Or even worse, where it seems that you are not making any progress whether its gains or losses. Ladies and gentleman, we have with us here today: The dreaded plateau.

Now, you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. This is a good thing and it is absolutely normal. In fact, you should be proud that you have stuck through your training and put in 100% day in and day out to even get to this plateau. The truth is, there are many reasons why we reach a plateau; it can be anything from boredom to an unbalanced diet. Your body is constantly changing and while training, we put it through a rigorous path of exertion. Let’s look at some reasons why we hit a plateau and the best ways to shake some life back into our routine.

Mind Games

First and foremost- do not get discouraged! Most people will hit a plateau, believe they are not making any progress and give up. Don’t you dare! You’ve made it thus far and you should not give up on the progress you have made. Running is all mental. Sure it takes stamina and endurance but we all know it is a persistent ’84 year old couple bickering’ between you and that annoying voice in your head. Don’t let it get to you. Often times, our discouragement comes from not achieving the ‘X results’ we thought we would see by ‘X time’. Please remember that everyone is different and while Stacy from the gym was running at a 9:30 pace by Week 10, that doesn’t mean you will be too – and that’s perfectly ok. Focus on you. Take encouragement from your own personal victories. How far have you come in the past couple of weeks? Think of where you were when you started your training and where you are now. Reminding yourself of your own small victories will help clear the cloud of discouragement that overwhelms the spirit during a plateau.

Eat, Sleep, Run, Repeat

Our bodies, like machines, are a finely tuned and oiled machine; we get what we put into it.  A big reason behind a plateau is our lack of adjusting our eating and sleeping patterns to match our training patterns. We won’t get into how many calories you burn while running as this varies immensely depending on distance, terrain, weight, etc. What we will focus on is the fact that the calories burned running should be compensated with your daily calorie intake. Do not make the mistake of cutting back on calories while training. Your body will not perform at optimum level if its running on vapors. This will lead to lack of energy, decreased endurance and you called it- the plateau. In addition, make sure that the calories you intake are good, healthy calories. Protein and vegetables will take you a lot further than a night out at the local pizza joint.

Lackluster and stalled performance can also be a sign that you are not getting enough ZZZ’s at night. Let’s be real. It is the sweet embrace of soft sheets and the tender peace of counting sheep that we look forward to after a long day of adulting. Yet, sleep is the first thing that we shove headfirst to the backseat as we go through our non-stop and chaotic daily lives. Sleeping is essential when training. Just as a machine gets routine maintenance, your body needs routine rest. The key word being routine. Depending on your schedule, the optimal 7 hours a night may not be possible. Keeping your sleep amount consistent will allow your body to get the most from your rest.

Cross Training

Hitting a training plateau is the equivalent of hearing your significant other say “we don’t do fun stuff anymore.” It is your body telling you that it is time to spice things up! This is a great time to incorporate cross training as it helps immensely to refresh what may seem like a stagnant routine in addition to helping those who feel like they are getting “stuck” – whether it be physically, emotionally or mentally.

Why cross train?  Well, it can improve your aerobic fitness level, increase power, improve performance, help with injury prevention or even rehabilitation, and certainly help with any boredom factors.  When you incorporate cross training, you focus on other muscles and moves that aren’t usually dominant during running.

Recommended Cross Training Activities

  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Stretching
  • Plyometrics
  • Strength Training
  • Swimming
  • Biking
  • Water aerobics or water jogging

You want to avoid activities that put a lot of strain on your knees or that are overly weight bearing.  As always, if you try something new, be careful and monitor your body’s response!

AT

NEW! Chicagoland Run Club Challenge

Friends celebrate their finish at the 2016 Chicago Spring Half Marathon

What better feeling is there than running and completing a half marathon? Running it with your crew! What would make running a scenic lakefront course on a gorgeous spring day surrounded by your best mates even better? (Yeah I know, how could this possibly get better?!) How about some cash prizes and mad bragging rights?

If you are still reading then have we got the perfect challenge for you! We are happy to announce the 2017 Chicagoland Run Club Challenge! This club incentive program was created with the goal of building more meaningful relationships with the local run community. This program rewards club participation through special marketing opportunities, coaching outreach, complimentary race weekend amenities and prize purses.

Let’s face it, running is always 10x better with company and good ol’ competition! Whether it’s your best friend, your running partner from the gym or all your favorite people from your local run club, we’d love to officially invite them all to register and participate. Check out the challenge page for more information on incentives, participation and cash prizes.

Does YOUR team have what it takes?

The 2017 Participant Shirts are Here!

Each May, Chicago rolls out the tulip carpet signaling the arrival of Spring to the entire city. During his term in office, Mayor Richard Daley made the beautification of this city a main priority; citing the need to attract and enthrall tourists and residents alike.

The tradition of planting tulips was made in honor of his late former wife, Maggie Daley, who was known for her love of the flower. In fact, the pink hued bulbs found on Michigan Avenue are unique to Chicago and named “Tulipa Maggie Daley”

This year as Chicago emerges from the icy tendrils of winter passing, the #ChiSpringHalf & 10K participant shirt honors this tradition not only with our new Spring Market Finish Festival venue at Maggie Daley Park but with our blooming participant shirts. Participants will randomly receive 1 of 2 colors when collecting their race packet.

Visit Us at the Shamrock Shuffle 8K

Life Time Fitness joins the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K in kicking off Chicago’s endurance season at the Shamrock Shuffle Health & Fitness Expo this weekend. Join us at McCormick Place, Hall C Friday, March 31 from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m or Saturday, April 1 from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Along with other healthy lifestyle vendors, Life Time will present the Transamerica Chicago Triathlon, Chicago Half Marathon & 5K, and the Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K.

Live from the expo, the Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10K will unveil the NEW race venue, NEW course and the newest partnership making this year’s Chicago Spring Half Marathon the best yet!

In addition to exclusive on-site expo offerings you’ll have the opportunity to speak with our local triathlon and run staff to set up your race season or take on an additional personal challenge.

How Women Took Over Running

Women now outnumber men at the finish line of organized races, and women’s-only races are starting to seem unnecessary.

By RACHEL BACHMAN
Originally published by the Wall Street Journal
May 16, 2016 12:26 p.m. ET

Women and girls, not long ago an afterthought in distance running, now own it.

They made up 57% of the 17 million U.S. race finishers in 2015, according to industry-backed tracker Running USA. That includes everything from 3.1-mile trots before Thanksgiving dinner to 26.2-mile marathons.

Many women run to win prize money or medals. Millions more have taken to treadmills, sidewalks and running trails to achieve personal bests, socialize and improve overall health.

Mary Wittenberg, CEO of Virgin Sport, is a longtime runner and the former CEO of New York Road Runners, which operates the New York City Marathon. She notes that there are fewer women-only events than there used to be because at most races, women are the majority.

“It’s amazing growth,” she says. Running appeals to women because “if you put the work in, you can do it. Completing the distance has become as big a goal as your time. That makes it far more accessible.”

Women were still a small minority of overall race finishers in 1984, when American Joan Benoit Samuelson won the first women’s Olympic marathon, 88 years after the first men’s Olympic marathon. A trickle of female amateurs followed her into running.

A decade later, Oprah Winfrey finished the 1994 Marine Corps Marathon in the Washington, D.C., area in just under 4½ hours, wearing bib No. 40 to reflect her age. Thousands of people cheered her on along the course and at least three reporters ran the race with her to cover her feat. One of them was Amby Burfoot of Runner’s World magazine.

About a year after that, Mr. Burfoot, who also won the 1968 Boston Marathon, took a surprising phone call. He says it was someone from Race for the Cure, a relatively new series of road races for women to raise money for breast-cancer research. Organizers said they had more than 10,000 women registered for a race in the Midwest.

“It was the funniest thing we’d heard in the world,” recalls Mr. Burfoot, now an editor emeritus who recently wrote a book about female pioneers called “First Ladies of Running.”

“We were Runner’s World, and we were completely unaware that there was this tidal wave,” he says.

Men made up 68% of U.S. road-race finishers at the time. After Ms. Winfrey’s finish and with a rapidly expanding number of women’s races, their participation surged. Women surpassed male finishers by 2010.

Women have flocked to running more than other endurance sports. Less than 15% of USA Cycling’s 62,000 members are women, a spokesman says. The group oversees all major disciplines of competitive cycling. About 47% of the 63,000 members of U.S. Masters Swimming, a nationwide training group for swimmers age 18 and above, are women, according to the organization.

Tracey Russell was a competitive swimmer in college but says running has an advantage in helping women form bonds. Although it’s common for people to chat while they run, “it’s hard to do that during [swimming] intervals,” she says.

Ms. Russell is CEO of Conqur Endurance Group, which owns the Los Angeles Marathon. She says the surge in charitable organizations forming training groups and raising money through road races has largely been driven by women.

 In this year’s L.A. Marathon, women made up 46% of runners but 59% of entrants through charities, which give runners a discount or free race entry in exchange for fundraising certain amounts.

Nationwide, women made up 44% of marathoners and 61% of half-marathoners in 2015, according to Running USA.

One surprising influence in the rise of women’s running: improved gear. For decades, athletic-apparel manufacturers paid little attention to women’s needs. Many women ran in one-style-fits-all running shorts and ill-fitting sports bras.

Recent years have brought an avalanche of apparel for women, from boutique designers to major manufacturers such as Under Armour and Adidas.

Much of it is worn lounging on the couch. But it was women’s rising interest in health and fitness that stirred companies to focus on them. Nike forecasts that sales of its women’s products will roughly double by 2020.

Years ago, “you always didn’t feel good going out for a run,” says Toni Carey, who lives in Atlanta. “Now I can go to whatever brand that’s going to make me feel good, look good and support the activity I’m doing.”

Ms. Carey and a college friend, Ashley Hicks-Rocha, five years ago turned their running blog into Black Girls Run!, a nationwide organization to promote running among African-American women. (“ ‘Girls’ is used as a term of endearment,” she says.)

Black Girls Run! has about 70 groups nationwide and 200,000 participants. Some run “virtual” races, where runners register for a 5K or 10K distance, complete it on the honor system and receive a medal in the mail. The option appeals to new runners intimidated by formal races, Ms. Carey says.

Women’s groups like Ms. Carey’s are helping further diversify running, Ms. Wittenberg says. Participation of racial minorities has climbed in recent years, according to Running USA.

“It would just be great to see the men’s side see growth, too,” she says.

Instead of running, some younger men especially have joined the trend toward weightlifting and high-intensity interval training. Overall participation in road races has dropped in the past two yearsas millennials have shown less interest in running than older adults. Average finishing times for men and women also have slowed down as race fields have gotten older and grown to include more recreational runners.

For many women, running is less a competition than a social experience.

Five years ago Pam Burrus, a 35-year-old mother of two who lives outside Atlanta, founded Moms Run This Town, a training and social group that now has about 700 chapters, most of them in the U.S.

Members can join group runs or organize their own runs via the group’s Facebook pages. The group also goes by the name She Runs This Town, after attracting daughters and nonmothers. “It’s become our ‘us’ time,” she says.

Running might especially benefit the mental health of women, who suffer from more depression than men do. Studies have shown that both aerobic exercise and sunlight can improve mood in people with mild to moderate depression.

Ashley Lauretta, a 29-year-old freelance journalist in Austin, Texas, says she started running after a college counselor suggested it could help her anxiety disorder by helping her control her breathing. It did.

“I like how uncomplicated it is compared to other sports,” she wrote in an email. “You just need the right pair of shoes and you can get out and go.”

JOIN OUR CHICAGO EVENT TEAM – SPORTS MARKETING INTERNSHIP

img6290Are you an active, passionate, athletic-minded individual looking for a fun and flexible job that will allow you to interact with athletes, prospective athletes and those needing a little encouragement to start their athletic career? Sound like you in a nutshell?  Life Time Fitness may have the opportunity you’ve been looking for as part of the Life Time Athletic Events Staff.

Life Time Athletic Events is actively recruiting Sports Marketing Interns as part of the Life Time Street Team supporting our companies marketing presence in and around Chicagoland. The Street Team is a promotions squad representing not only Life Time Fitness, but also a broad range of athletic events. This part-time position involves working on a team and requires a flexible schedule. Team members will promote Life Time Athletic Events at Life Time locations, other athletic and non-athletic events, health & fitness expos, retail partner locations and more. This will require heavy interaction with all types of people, which may include data collection of email and phone numbers for email campaigns, on-site event registration, promotion and give-away opportunities, and capturing photos of those you interact with as a member of the Life Time Street Team.  Interns will also get hands on experience as members of the events team at our Chicago area races.

Follow this link for a complete description and details on how to apply.

All the Awesome To-Dos in the New Year

Reprinted with permission from Experience Life

·

Do you set too-big goals and resolutions? What I’ve learned from life coaches on how to get real.

My New Year’s–resolution lists looked the same for years: Lose weight! Save more money! Take a trip! Spend more time with friends and family! Read more books!

They were broad, overarching ideas that seemed like the right things to aim for — the goals we all tend to set our sights on.

It wasn’t until I met with a life coach that I started to understand why these goals remained on my wish list each year, with little progress made toward completion.

STEP 1

First, I had to ask myself: Why were these goals important to me? Were these my goals, or other people’s consensus on the goals we should set for our resolutions? So I took stock of each one.

  • Lose weight: I’d like to feel good in my body and move freely without pain. I’d like to be strong so I can accomplish other fitness feats.
  • Save more money: Because why not? Someday my car is sure to need replacement, or we could use the money for an excursion, and it’s always nice to have a security blanket.
  • Take a trip: I love to travel, and there are so many places I’d like to visit. But the biggest barrier always ends up being: How to afford it?
  • Spend more time with friends and family: Is it really about more time or making that time we have feel like more quality time? I bet we’d all wish for more time for visits, but we all have demanding schedules, so really, it’s about setting plans that allow for deeper connections.
  • Read more books: Always worthwhile, but I do read a lot. Maybe I can skip this one?

STEP 2

Next, my life coach and other experts would say I need to make these goals more specific and doable. What actual steps will I take to accomplish them — each day, each week, and each month? What are my mini milestones to celebrate along the way?

  • Lose weight: Specifically, I’d like to lose 30 pounds in six months. It can be a very doable goal when I will: plan meals and pack healthy food for the week on Sundays; lift weights two to three times a week and walk three to four; set a timer to get up from my desk every hour; drink eight 8-oz. glasses of water each day; go to bed by 10 p.m. each night. Reevaluate my plan each month based on my progress, and decide on additional resources I may need to acquire, such as a workout buddy, personal trainer, nutritionist, etc.
  • Save more money: I will set an auto-deduction from my checking to my savings account for $50 per month, and will reassess in six months to see if I can increase the amount.
  • Take a trip: The savings will help with this, but instead of setting my sights on Fuji, how about a shorter, smaller, and cheaper trip to San Diego?
  • Spend more quality time with friends and family: Call up my loved ones and set up a fun adventure where we can make some great memories.
  • Read more books. Nix this goal and stay focused on the others.

STEP 3

This tip I found the most helpful for the big one we all talk about: lose weight.

When we think of this goal, one life coach told me, it’s all about deprivation. It’s about what we’ll force our bodies to do and what we’ll restrict instead of what we’ll gain and how our bodies will improve.

Instead of “losing weight,” she told me, say, “I want to get stronger.” By recasting this goal as one that will build on where you’re starting from versus what you’ll strip away, it makes it more desirable for your brain. It’s one of power — “I’m just going to get better in this body!”

Now, I will admit that it was hard for me to embrace: As a woman, I feel like society has long encouraged us to get smaller, slighter, more delicate. More recently, as we have been emboldened to love our curves and muscles, and to stand in a place of power, it’s become easier for me to go for that goal. And a surprising fact I learned from weightlifting, which you can read more about in “Lift to Lose Weight”: Building muscles helps you lose weight. Double win!

This excellent — and FREE! — six-month workout plan for our “Strong, Fast, and Fit” program offers a simple format for success with support.

STEP 4

Set mini goals and celebrations along the way, and for crying out loud, cut yourself some slack!

This bit of advice was the nicest any coach ever told me, the ever-crazed perfectionist. We’re all trying our best, and we should get an A for effort. As we move forward toward reaching our goals, they may evolve, or we may decide they weren’t crucial to our values after all. Once we get there, we may find our vision is different than we imagined, whether good or bad in our eyes.

Know that it’s your vision and your dream, and you can dictate what that looks like at any point, whether you’re setting New Year’s resolutions or revising a 10-year plan.

During my interview with author Danielle LaPorte, she shared this refreshing take on balance: It doesn’t exist. (Hear more from her in the video below.)

Really, I realized that this concept of “balance” was some magical ideal that we all shared, like the typical New Year’s resolutions. There’s been a mutual agreement that “balance” is desirable and amazing, and we think we know what it looks like, but really, it varies for everyone. It can’t be defined because it’s your own interpretation.

So as you consider your New Year’s resolutions, think about your own values that guide your vision.

Happy dreaming!