2022 details coming soon!

Spring Half Marathon Training

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Dec. 28, 2020 to May 1, 2021

  • Saturday's - Long Runs

  • Wednesday's - Track Workouts


Group training targeting spring half-marathons, with an opportunity for an inter-program timed run.


Chicago and Lisle

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Winter months can be challenging, but CARA's "Power of the Group" will provide you the support, community, and accountability you need to successfully run through the winter, and reach your spring race start line ready for success.

As Chicago's premier group training program, we have helped tens of thousands of runners successfully complete their goals. Whether you're a newcomer or experienced runner, our program provides training plans that meet you where you're at.

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 led CARA runners to the finish line more than any other program in Chicagoland running.

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.​

With winter and spring races uncertain, CARA training program runners will have the opportunity to run a 13.1 mile time-run at the end of the season.

Program Details

Program Benefits

  • 18-week training plan with three options (Novice, Novice II, and Advanced)

  • Additional 6-Week pre-season plan to help you get ready for the training season

  • Training guide and weekly education newsletters

  • Group training long Runs (Saturday's) led by group leaders for 7:30 to 11:30 pace/per mile run, and 12:00 to 13:00 pace/per mile run/walk

  • Coach led track workouts (Wednesday's)

  • Hydration support at training runs, including water and Gatorade Endurance

  • RushPT Injury Hotline

  • High-quality CARA winter training hat

Target Race/s

  • Spring half-marathon races, and other spring races 10 miles and longer


End of Season Run

CARA training will support you as you train for the target race of your choice, but with so many races being uncertain at this time, CARA will provide training program runners with an end of season timed 13.1-mile run opportunity for you to accomplish the program goal no matter what! 


Each training site will have their own end of season run with an accurate course, course support, medical support, hydration, and timed results. Each training site will complete their end of season run on a separate date to allow for each to receive full-support.

  • Lincoln Park / Diversey Harbor (Chicago) - Saturday, May 1

  • Morton Arboretum (Lisle) - Sunday, May 2

Details may be adjusted as the end of season approaches. CARA reserves the right to combine training groups to a single location for end of season runs if participation levels are at a level where one location would provide the best experience.

Group Long Run Locations

CARA training group long runs are offered at locations throughout the city and suburbs. Participants have access to all locations through the season and are not restricted to only their primary registration choice. (Click location maps for google map)

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Chicago - Lincoln Park

Diversey Harbor

Saturday's 7:30 a.m.

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Morton Arboretum

Saturday's 7:30 a.m.

Group Track Workout Locations

CARA training group track workouts are offered at locations throughout the city and suburbs. Participants have access to all locations through the season. Locations marked with (*) use a greenway/trail for workouts.


Program Fees & Registration

Group Training: $160

  • Save 15% ($24 Discount) - 2021 CARA Supporter Level Members

Members receive discount by logging in with membership username/password during registration.

Online registration payments are subject to a service fee by our registration provider. To avoid online payment 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 spring half-marathon training program fees. CARA will then contact to complete registration.


FAQ / Policies

When and where is packet pick-up?

Packet pick-up will be provided at locations throughout the city and suburbs. A packet mailing option will be available during registration. Fleet Feet Old Town: December 19, 2020 to January 9, 2021 (All Business Hours) Fleet Feet Elmhurst: December 19, 2020 to January 9, 2021 (All Business Hours)

Can my packet be mailed?

Yes, you may select packet mailing for a fee during registration. Or, after regristration, packet mailing can be added at https://www.cararuns.info/product-page/packet-mailing-fee.

What training level is needed to participate?

CARA has a proven record of serving beginning runners, and long-time runners alike. Before starting our Novice Plan, we recommend that you can complete 3-4 runs per week, including at least one run of 4 miles at a pace of at least 13 minutes per mile. A 6-week pre-season training guide will be provided to assist in your preparations for the beginning of the training program.

What is the program's weather policy?

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

Can I cancel my registration?

Participants may choose to voluntarily exit the program. Participants who exit the program by the date two weeks prior to the start date of the program, may receive a full credit of fees paid towards any single CARA program or event of any kind of equal or lesser value. Credit valid through the end of the following calendar year. To exit the program, e-mail training@cararuns.org. No refunds will be issued for any reason, including injury.

Can I enter the program after the start date?

Yes, participants are welcomed to enter the program late. The deadline for registration is 4 weeks prior to the program's end date. Fees are not prorated for late entry.

Is there a CARA member discount?

Yes, a member discount is applicable to CARA Supporter Level members (Individual, Family or Student packages) with an active membership for the program year. Registrations without a member discount includes a CARA Friend Level membership. Learn more about CARA Supporter Level member benefits HERE.

How old do I need to be to participate?

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

May I run with a pet at training runs?

No, participants may not run with pets at training runs.

May I run with a stroller at training runs?

No, participants may not run with strollers at training runs?

Are there discounts for charity runners?

Yes. Members of CARA's charity team receive free training through CARA when fundraising for the target race or other pre-approved race. CARA's charity team leader will provide a special discount code to team members. Learn more HERE. CARA partners with nearly 50 different local and national charities. 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.



CARA training programs rely on dedicated volunteer site coordinators, group leaders, and coaches to support program participants, and provide a safe and enjoyable experience for all.


Site coordinators are recruited from experienced program group leaders. Those interested in becoming a site coordinator now, or in the future as openings are available, should contact CARA Director of Training Tim Bradley (tim@cararuns.org).

Group leaders are the backbone of CARA training programs. Group leaders keep runners safe, organized, on-pace, and motivated during training runs. Those interested becoming a group leader can learn more HERE.

Coaches are needed to support CARA track workouts. Experienced coaches may be tabbed with leading a workout, where others can assist with workout organization and timing while learning. Those interested in becoming a coach or assistant coach should contact CARA Director of Training Tim Bradley (tim@cararuns.org).​

Hydration Volunteers are needed to support hydration stations at training locations. Volunteers may volunteer for a single date, or a season. Interested volunteers can check out opportunities on our volunteer page.

COVID-19 Safety

CARA has extensive operational preparedness plans to meet all safety and gathering guidelines provided by state and local authorities. Our plans have been widely accepted and were adopted by the Road Runners Clubs of America as a national framework for a return to group running during COVID-19.

Participation expectations will be as follows:

  • 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 (handshakes, 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 while gathering pre- or post-run, and anytime they are within six feet of others. Runners may remove their face cover while running when they can maintain social distance.

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

  • Participants must abide by local travel quarantine orders should they travel out-of-state during the program.

  • 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.