Training Tips

Training Programs

Team Red Cross offers two complimentary Marathon training programs for our runners: Chicago Area Runner’s Association and Coach Mark Buciak. Each training program offers unique benefits and is completely free for you to use. If you would like to take advantage of one of these programs, please email to select the program that is right for you.
Starting as a local running club, CARA has grown into the organization that championed the running movement across Chicagoland. With over 2,000 runners annually taking part in CARA training, you will never have to go it alone. Gain support, security and camaraderie with the support of a training program nearly three-times larger than any other Chicagoland training group. Over 240 pace group leaders made up of experienced CARA marathoners are committed to guiding you every step of the way.

  • CARA provides both in-person training and virtual training if you live outside Chicago
  • To learn more about the Chicago Area Runners’ Association, visit:
  • If you did not join CARA when you first registered with Team Red Cross, but are interested in joining now, please email
Coach Mark Buciak

Coach Mark Buciak (PB 2:30:25) has over 40 years of coaching and running experience, having run 57 career marathons -- including 34 consecutive Boston Marathons and 7 Chicago Marathons. Mark has successfully coached runners of all abilities, from first time marathoners to sub 3 hour marathoners. His coaching style consists of the 4 "E's": Education, Encouragement, Empowerment, and Entertainment. Coach Mark's program is the only marathon training program that can boast a 100% success rate for completion of the 2007-2013 Chicago and Boston Marathons, including a number of Personal Bests.

To learn more about running with Coach Mark, visit:

Nike Training
NBC Training Tips
In 2016, NBC produced a series of training tips specifically for Chicago Marathon runners. Check them out below!