Winter Half Marathon Training

We are conquering the winter months with CARA's Power of the Group. Prepare for the F3 Half Marathon, and other winter races, through CARA's group training program that offers you the support, community and resources you need to successfully reach your winter running goal. 

Program Registration

Program Dates:

November 4, 2019 to January 25, 2020 (12 Weeks)

Meeting Days / Times / Locations:

Program Benefits:

  • 12-Week Training Plan: CARA Director of Training Coach Tim Bradley provides a 12-week training plan with our Novice, Novice-II and Advanced options so you can train at the level right for your fitness and lifestyle. You will have confidence knowing your training program is led by coaches who have national certifications and years of proven coaching success.

  • Training Guide: CARA's hardcopy training booklet packed full of training program info, training schedules, pace chart, and more!

  • Social Media Community: Access to the CARA training program social media group where you can interact with coaches and fellow training program runners.

  • Group Training: Group long runs and speed training. Gain support, security, and camaraderie with the support of a group!

  • Pacer Led Runs: Experienced and supportive CARA member pace group leaders who are committed to guiding you every step of the way. The weekend long runs will be led by friendly, knowledgeable, and experienced CARA group leaders - we offer pacers at each 30-second pace interval, from 7:30 to 12:00 min/mile, run/walk and "12:00+".

  • Coached Speedwork: Mid-week speedwork on the track led by nationally certified coaches.

  • NovaCare Hotline: Gain access to CARA's 24/7 Injury Hotline with Novacare Physical Therapist ready to support your injury questions.

  • Expertise: An info-packed weekly newsletter from CARA Director of Training Coach Tim Bradley.

  • Hydration Support: Stations serving Gatorade Endurance and water at your group runs.

  • SWAG: Runners receive a unique, high quality, embroidered CARA winter hat.

  • Target Race - F3 Half Marathon: Special $45 race registration rate opportunity for training program runners.

One of Chicago’s few remaining independently-owned large races, the 11th Annual F^3 Lake Half Marathon & 5k is Chicago’s Original Winter Half Marathon. Each year thousands of runners flock to this community-built event, gathering in the warmth of Soldier Field’s United Club before tackling wind & weather along a lakefront course which features splits every 5km. A must for anyone preparing for a spring marathon, or just resolving to stay fit in 2020

Training Program Registration Fees
Group Program Registration - $160 (CARA Supporter Level Members Save 15% / $24)
Virtual Program Registration - $80 (CARA Supporter Level Members Save 15% / $12)

Program Registration

Important Dates:

  • Oct. 26: Packet Pickup Begins (Fleet Feet Sports Old Town). Participants may pick-up their packet from Fleet Feet Sports Old Town during all business hours through 11/17.

  • Nov. 4: Training Plans Begin

  • Nov. 6: Group Speed Workouts Begin

  • Nov. 9: Group Long Runs Begin

  • Nov. 17: Packet Pickup Ends

  • Nov. 26: Speedwork Moves to Tuesday (from Wednesday) due to Holiday

  • Dec. 25: No Speedwork this week due to Holiday

  • Jan. 2: Speedwork Moves to Thursday (from Wednesday) due to Holiday

  • Jan. 18: Final Group Long Run

  • Jan. 25: Target Race - F3 Half Marathon

Terms / Details:

  • Program registration does not include entry or registration fees for half marathon race.

  • Program registration for non-CARA members includes a 2020 CARA "Friend Level" membership. Participants can upgrade to CARA "Supporter Level" membership within the registration form and immediately receive a 15% program discount and all CARA Supporter Level member benefits.

  • Fees are not prorated for late entry.

  • Refunds: No refunds will be issued for any reason.

  • Credits / Deferrals: Group program participants may withdraw from the program prior to picking up training program packet and prior to the first day of training (Monday, week of first group session) for any reasons and receive a credit to any CARA program or event of equal or lesser value. Credit expires at the end of the next calendar year. Complete terms and conditions will be provided upon request. No credits or deferrals for the virtual program after the training guide has been sent.

  • Winter Half-Marathon program runners will be able to register for CARA Winter Marathon Training Program and or Spring Half Marathon program at a reduced rate of $80. Discount code to be provided in program newsletters. Participants using this discount will not receive a second participant winter hat but will receive all other program amenities.

  • Virtual program runners do not receive access to group long runs, group speedwork, hard copy training guide, or winter hat. There is no packet pick-up for the virtual program. All deliverables are provided digitally.

Indoor Space:

  • Group long runs in Chicago will gather at Amita Health St. Joseph Hospital Chicago.  If you arrive prior to 7:20 a.m., you may gather in the Cafe (to the left through Location “1”). If you are in the cafe, at 7:20 a.m. please depart for the Medical Office Building Patio for the run start. If you arrive after 7:20 a.m., please go directly to the patio. Post-run, you are welcome to finish up and gather at the Cafe. 


  • Discounted parking during group long runs is available ($5) at 2900 N Lakeshore Dr; the parking garage is just North of the main entrance and can be accessed via Inner Lake Shore Drive or Oakdale Ave. Metered lots are available at the Diversey Driving Range. Free street parking is available nearby on Cannon Drive. During group speedwork, free street parking is available on Wilson Drive.

Group Leaders:

  • Volunteer to be a group leader? You are encouraged to apply. Group leaders must be active CARA members to access the application. Learn more about group leading HERE.

Weather Policy:

  • Please review CARA's weather policy HERE.