Yesterday I attended “Marathon Training Prep with Bart Yasso” hosted by Fleet Feet Chicago.  I’ve met him a few times but yesterday was the first time I actually heard him talk about his running adventures and his job.

There was a fun run at 6pm followed by his presentation.  I did not run.  I was not planning to but left my house early and still got caught in downtown traffic.  I arrived at the store at 6:45 and took a few minutes to look around.  It is gorgeous.  There was a fire a few months ago and so the whole store had to be remodeled and it was reopened in February.

This was my go to store before a new one opened up in the South Loop (closer to my house).


I remember they were asking for bibs to put on the wall and now I can see they did a good job with them.  No, I did not donate mine.

Anyway, Bart and the runners came back.  A few minutes later, he give us his marathon training tips.


Points he mentioned are:

  • Set a reasonable goal. 
  • Follow a plan.  You will make adjustments.  Listen to your body.  Ask yourself “Can I maintain this pace for 26.2 miles?”
  • Long run should be about 1 minute slower than marathon pace.  You will also need to adjust based on weather (hot day in Chicago).
  • Marathon pace-Two mile warmup and then a few miles at marathon pace and then cool down.  It teaches your body to run at that pace on marathon day.
  • Key workouts are: Long run for endurance; speed work for leg turnover and to get faster; recovery days is to back off and let your body recover.  Make sure to easy, easy (he emphasized easy) on those recovery days.
  • Cross training.  “I love cross training.  I find the cross training that helps my running is running in deep water.  Also the elliptical.  I don’t hold on to it and I ‘run’ on it.”

Someone asked him about work commitments and what would you prioritize?  He said that the long run is key.  That’s the most important one.  Next to that is the recovery run.

Also, why not run your long run at marathon pace if you feel like you can?  He said that if you do that then you are basically racing every weekend and you will slow down on marathon day.  He reminded us that “Running slower will make you faster.”  <I’ve heard this various times but it is kind of hard to believe, right?

Later on he showed pictures of a few of his running adventures.  Wow, I was in awe and just basically absorbed it all.  He also talked about his job (he is Chief Running Officer) at Runner’s World.  Bart has run marathons, ultramarathons (including Badwater and Comrades), Ironmans and has cycled twice across the country.  

He ended the evening talking about his experience with the Comrades Marathon.  He pointed to a runner that heard him talk about it last year and was so intrigued by it that later that evening she signed up for it.  The Comrades Marathon is the world’s largest and oldest ultramarathon race and is approximately 56 miles and takes places in South Africa.  The time limit is 12 hours.  He said he finished the race with 20 minutes to spare.  The finish line is inside a stadium and the gates are locked at that 12 hour mark.  So, if you get to the stadium after 12 hours, you will not be allowed to go in and finish and you will not get a medal.  Wow!!!

Afterwards, you had a chance to purchase his book signed by the man himself.  I did not and now I regret it.

It was a GREAT evening listening to Bart Yasso.  I almost did not go but I am so glad I did.  I love hearing about others’ running experiences and you can never have too many marathon tips.  I am excited and looking forward to my training and running the Chicago Marathon.  Bart will be there as well.

5 Comments on An evening with Bart Yasso

  1. Very very interesting. Thanks for sharing. A lot of what he says resonates with Jeff Galloway, which is the training plan I use.
    I am going to check out his book.

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