Hear From Past Ready to Run Participants!

Featuring a 10 Question Q&A with Arlyne Chin!

Ready to Run acts as a training tool to help runners gauge their progress and help runners realize what they need to concentrate on as they gear up for a full length marathon. To understand just how useful Ready to Run is for runners training for a fall marathon, we did a Q&A with CARA member Arlyne Chin.

Arlyne runs every Saturday at 6:30am out of Montrose Beach with her running group, the 10:30 Awesomes! She has competed in five marathons and used the Ready to Run 20 Miler as part of her training three times!

1) What was the biggest advantage of running the Ready to Run 20 Miler before running a marathon?

The biggest advantage of running the Ready to Run 20 Miler is that it simulates the marathon.  It’s a point to point run (just like the marathon) with the same aid that is offered at the Chicago Marathon.  It helps you prepare for the time, distance, and mental rigor that the race asks of a runner.

 2) When you ran the Ready to Run 20 Miler what did you realize you needed to work on before running a major marathon?

After running the Ready to Run 20 Miler, I realized I needed to prepare for the nutrition required during the race. By running the 20 miles, I realized that I needed a better strategy for my nutrition during the run. For example, I realized I didn’t need as many energy gels because, for me, I could get by with the Gatorade/water that would be along the route.

 3) Why would you recommend running the Ready to Run 20 Miler instead of running a 20 miler alone?

You’re going to have to run the marathon with over 40,000 runners so why not run the 20 miles with groups of other runners? The runners, along the course, are super helpful with one another and there will always be a group to run with (if you’d like) or other runners that will help you along the way. The running community in Chicago is friendly and you’ll find the camaraderie and support along the route that you’ll need to get through the distance.

 4) What was your greatest challenge while training for a marathon?

The time commitment put into the training. As a wife, mom, full-time-career-woman, and never ending volunteer, it’s hard to fit in all the runs and workouts. I’ve learned to not compromise on the “me” time despite all of my other personal/work commitments and if I had to miss a run/workout, I try not to let it get to me.

5) What was your greatest challenge while running a marathon?

The dreaded Wall. No matter how hard you train, most runners hit some type of “wall.” For me, it’s all mental. My legs seem to want to keep going but my mind starts to bring doubt – doubt about the distance, doubt about the race, doubt about the training…the list goes on. My greatest challenge has always been self-doubt despite the effort I put into the training -- that’s something that only the race and I can conquer. I’ve been successful finishing 5 marathons and I’m hopeful to have number 6 under my belt.

 6) What inspired you to run a marathon?

My first marathon is a funny story. It was the 1999 NYC Marathon and I signed up because I was jealous of all the runners that received those mylar blankets (embarrassingly true story). I ran a ton of 5Ks and, at the time, the Chicago Marathon hosted a 5K the day before the race. I always asked why I could never have one of those “fancy” blankets and was told they were reserved for the marathoners.  So… I signed up for the 1999 NYC marathon and got my mylar blanket (4 of them to be exact).

AFTER that experience, I thought I would never ever do another marathon again. In 2011, I turned 40 and I decided to participate in 40 races, in one year, and compete in all distances so I had to face the dreaded marathon again. I’m happy to report that I did both the NYC (2011) and the Chicago Marathon (2012) while I was 40. Running has been something that has been part of my life since 1995 and I’ve tried to keep at it to show my kids how rewarding it could be to live a healthy lifestyle and have goals.

7) Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to runners that are just starting out in marathon training?

Anyone can run a marathon. Anyone. I’ve been around some remarkable people who lived sedentary lives and put their mind into running their first 5K, their first half marathon, and even their first marathons. The physical aspect of running is only half the battle… your mind and attitude comprises the other half. I really feel that if you want to start running and you channel your mind to the commitment, you’ll reach your goal. Decide, commit, and train. And definitely train with a group – it’s more fun and you’ll meet some lifelong friends along the way.

8) What was the most useful part of running the Ready to Run 20 Miler?

Getting that week under my belt. It’s the peak of my training program and it’s a tough week to get through and running with my group at the Ready to Run 20 Miler is something I would not miss.

9) What was your favorite part of the Ready to Run 20 Miler?

Running with a group. I’ve been lucky to meet some great runners, who I now call my friends. We train all summer together and running the 20 mile week tests our running stamina and will. Our Ready to Run 20 Miler wave always includes additional runners and I feel that they benefit from running with our group. I really don’t know if I could ever get through marathon training without these remarkable people and this 20 mile run.

10) If you could do it all over again, would you change anything? If so, what any why? If not, why not?

If I could change one thing, I would have joined a running group much earlier in my recreational running career. They keep me accountable for my training runs and have been an integral part of my racing that I know I would have benefitted ftom earlier. But everything happens for a reason and I’m glad that I ran into the 10:30 Awesomes when I did.