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

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Summer Marathon

Training Program

June 7 to Oct. 10, 2021

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Winter Marathon

Training Program

Dec. 28, 2020 to May 1, 2021

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Boston Performance

Training Program

June 7 to October 11, 2021

Half-Marathon Training Programs

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Spring Half-Marathon

Training Program

Dec. 28, 2020 to May 1, 2021

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Summer Half-Marathon

Training Program

July 5 to Sept. 26, 2021

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Winter Half-Marathon

Training Program

Nov. 1, 2021 to Jan. 22, 2022

Note: Winter Half-Marathon and Spring Half-Marathon programs were merged into a single 18 week program for 2021.

Our Locations

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

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Chicago - Downtown

Monroe Harbor

Programs Offered

Summer Marathon Training

Summer Half-Marathon Training

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Chicago - Lincoln Park

Diversey Harbor

Programs Offered

Summer Marathon Training

Winter Half-Marathon Training

Winter Marathon Training

Spring Half-Marathon Training

Boston Performance

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Chicago - Montrose

Montrose Beach

Programs Offered

Summer Marathon Training

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Darien

Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve

Programs Offered

Summer Marathon Training

Summer Half-Marathon Training

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Libertyville

Old School Forest Preserve

Programs Offered

Summer Marathon Training

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Lisle

Morton Arboretum

Programs Offered

Winter Marathon Training

Spring Half-Marathon Training

Boston Performance

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Niles

Bunker Hill Forest Preserve

Programs Offered

Summer Marathon Training

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Oak Forest

Yankee Woods

Programs Offered

Summer Marathon Training

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Schaumburg

Busse Woods Forest Preserve

Programs Offered

Summer Marathon Training

Wheaton

IL Prairie Path

Programs Offered

Summer Marathon Training

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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.

Betsy Balgooyen-Keller
CARA Downtown 
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Darren DeMatoff
CARA Montrose (Sunday)
Jacob Gaddie
CARA Montrose (6:30)
Brett Geschke
CARA Lincoln Park
Tera O'Malley
CARA Morton Arboretum
Ann Marie Phaneuf
CARA Darien
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David Rovani
CARA Montrose (6am)
Christine Stearns-Muender
CARA Libertyville
Wes Iller
CARA Schaumburg
Keith Kijek
CARA Niles
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Jim Laubsted
CARA Wheaton
Beth Levy
CARA Niles
Joe Werner
CARA Oak Forest 
Lori Wright
CARA Morton Arboretum

Program Coaches

CARA coaches lead training program track workouts.

Tim Bradley
Head Coach
Director of Training
Tori Capozziello
Coach
Ashley Lucas
Coach
David Mauger
Coach
Heather Zeigler
Coach