Meet Robert Hoffman

Robert Hoffman is a life-long runner, running his first race at the age of 9! After college he took a brief break from running but found himself missing the activity. Robert moved to Chicago in 2013 and became a CARA member the very same year.

1) What first inspired you to want to run a marathon? How capable did you feel you were of running a marathon?

I signed up for the CARA training program primarily for the group runs. I figured it would be a good way to get me out of bed early Saturday morning to run. I had never run a marathon before and had no desire to do so. After about 6 weeks of the training program, I realized I had to (because I wanted to) complete a marathon at the end of the training program.

2) How did marathon training change your outlook on life?

It sounds cliché, but it was a great way to remind me that anything is possible.

3) What is your go to running song and why?

I’ve never listened to music while running. But if I had to, I’d go with Depeche Mode, Just Can’t Get Enough

4) Why did you choose to participate in the program again and what are you most looking forward to?

I joined the winter program so I would not layoff for the winter. It’s too cold and too easy to skip out on a Saturday morning run. With the CARA program, I know there are other runners expecting me to be there. I’ll be joining the summer program as well. There is no better way to prepare for a marathon.  

5) What marathon are you running in the fall? What are your expectations for it, and how will training with CARA help you meet those expectations?

I’ve got two planned for October. First, Chicago and then Naperville. With the CARA training, I know I’ll be ready. The only expectation I have is to finish. I do this because I like it; I don’t have to hit a “PR” at every event. I don’t put that kind of pressure on myself.

6) What most surprised you during this marathon journey?

The fantastic people I’ve met through CARA.

7) During the training process there comes a point where almost every runner hits a wall. How did you keep yourself going? What did you tell yourself?

I never really hit a wall during the training. Sure, some days were tougher than others, but the program is designed to prepare you with a gradual increase in mileage and intensity. When things do get tough, I do two things: 1. Focus on breathing, and take deep breaths. Get some more oxygen in the blood 2. The little voice in my head says, “put one foot in front of the other and repeat.” The pace group I trained with had two fantastic leaders, Joon Park and Lindsey Schultz. They were great at providing training tips, assistance, motivation and support during the program.

8) How did marathon training enhance the already amazing Chicago summer experience?

Chicago is a great city and the summers are terrific. I got to see the city from the lake front path in areas that I would not have seen otherwise.

9) What was the hardest thing for you to overcome during training or running the marathon? Time commitment? Doubt?

The time commitment was a challenge, especially as the mileage increased.

10) If there was someone sitting on the couch right now, thinking about doing what you did, what advice would you give them?

If they are thinking about running a marathon, then get a piece of paper and a pen and write down your goal. Just don’t write “my goal is to run a marathon.” List your goal and the steps and actions you need to take to achieve that goal. One of the steps should be to join the CARA training program. Once this is written down, keep it by your bed, on the refrigerator door or at your desk. Read this out loud at least once a week.


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