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Training Programs

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About

As Chicago's premier group training program, CARA has 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.​

CARA offers six group training programs for marathon and half-marathon goals, along with corresponding virtual program options.

Marathon Training Programs

CARA Summer Training logo

Summer Marathon

Training Program

June 5 to Oct. 8, 2023

CARA winter training logo

Winter Marathon

Training Program

Dec. 26, 2022 to April 29, 2023

Boston Performance training logo

Boston Performance

Training Program

Dec. 26, 2022 to April 17, 2023

Half-Marathon Training Programs

CARA spring training logo

Spring Half-Marathon
Training Program

March 13 to June 4, 2023

CARA winter training logo

Winter Half-Marathon
Training Program

Nov. 13th- Feb. 4th

Our Locations

CARA training programs are offered at locations throughout the city and suburbs. Options at each location vary by program.

google map of Chicago Downtown

Chicago - Downtown
Monroe Harbor

Programs Offered
Summer Marathon Training
Google map of Chicago Lincoln Park

Chicago - Lincoln Park

Diversey Harbor

Programs Offered
Summer Marathon Training
Winter Half-Marathon Training
Winter Marathon Training
Spring Half-Marathon Training
Boston Performance
Google map of Chicago Montrose Beach

Chicago - Montrose

Montrose Beach

Programs Offered
Summer Marathon Training
Google map of Darien Illinois

Darien

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve

Programs Offered
Summer Marathon Training
Google map of Libertyville, Illinois

Libertyville
Old School Forest Preserve

Programs Offered
Summer Marathon Training
Google map of Lisle, Illinois

Lisle

Morton Arboretum

Programs Offered
Winter Marathon Training
Spring Half-Marathon Training
Boston Performance
Google map of Niles, Illinois

Niles

Bunker Hill Forest Preserve

Programs Offered
Summer Marathon Training
Google map of Oak Forest

Oak Forest

Yankee Woods

Programs Offered
Summer Marathon Training
Google map of Schaumburg, Illinois

Schaumburg

Busse Woods Forest Preserve

Programs Offered
Summer Marathon Training
Google map of Wheaton, Illinois

Wheaton

IL Prairie Path

Programs Offered
Summer Marathon Training

Volunteer

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.

Program Site Coordinators

CARA training programs led by expert site coordinators, as well as coaches, and CARA staff.

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Betsy Balgooyen-Keller
CARA Downtown 
Man in green jersey and hat running
Darren DeMatoff
CARA Montrose (Sunday)
Man in a CARA, blue hat smiling big
Jacob Gaddie
CARA Montrose (6:30)
Man in a CARA, blue hat and wearing a medal
Brett Geschke
CARA Lincoln Park
Wes Iller headshot
Wes Iller
CARA Schaumburg
Keith Kijek headshot
Keith Kijek
CARA Niles
Jim Laubsted headshot
Jim Laubsted
CARA Wheaton
Beth Levy headshot
Beth Levy
CARA Niles
Tera O'Malley headshot
Tera O'Malley
CARA Morton Arboretum
Ann Marie Phaneuf headshot
Ann Marie Phaneuf
CARA Darien
David Rovani headshot
David Rovani
CARA Montrose (6am)
Christine Stearns-Muender headshot
Christine Stearns-Muender
CARA Libertyville
Joe Werner headshot

Joe Werner
CARA Oak Forest 

Lori Wright headshot

Lori Wright
CARA Morton Arboretum

Program Coaches

CARA coaches lead training program track workouts.

Coaches
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James Diamond
Head Coach
Manager of Training

Heather Zeigler running

Heather Zeigler
Coach

David Mauger running headshot

David Mauger
Coach

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