30 Oct Tips for Racing NYC
The NYC Marathon is one of the most fun and rewarding races out there (in my humble opinion!). Here are some tips about making the day less stressful and more productive so you can have the best race for you.
1. Your best run will always involve a negative split. This means you should plan for the first half of your race to be SLOWER than the second. So if you plan on a 4 hour marathon, you should NOT hit the half way mark at or under 2 hours, it should be more like 2:05-2:10. Going out easy will help you conserve for the end.
2. Along the same lines, thinking you can ‘bank’ time is one of the biggest myths that can ruin your race. NEVER think if you are ahead of schedule that this is a good thing. Slow down, ease in and hold back until halfway through, and ideally around the 20th mile. You won’t have a good idea of what you are capable of until you are around 20….especially if its your first marathon.
2. Don’t feel bad about walking up the 59th Street bridge. If you aren’t feeling fantastic, its better to conserve some energy and walk it. You won’t lose a ton of time at the end of the day, but you could save yourself hitting the wall if you are not feelin’ it. Better to play it safe. You get a great downhill after to make up for the steep incline.
3. Visit your local dollar store to buy cheap sweats, a blanket or umbrella depending on the forecast. You can easily discard them at the start and along the way and they are given to homeless charities which is a great plus. Since you are going to be sitting around a long time, its best to stay warm until the last possible minute. To get your sweats off quick, you can cut a long slit on the bottom so you can pull them right over your sneakers.
4. The lines to pee are super long. It will kill some time to wait, but I would also suggest to run and pee right before your wave is about to go. Its a slow enough process that you wont miss your corral…you can jump back in. This helps you in two ways. 1. its the shortest line you will see since most runners are too nervous to miss the start, and 2. If you pee at the last minute there is less chance you will need to stop to pee along the way. Of course, you men have the chance to take part in the great tradition of peeing off the Verrazano!
5. Momentum is not your friend. With the crowds in the beginning its easy to get caught up in the momentum of it all and go out too fast. Hold back and watch your timing or your GPS to make sure you don’t get ahead of yourself.
6. Stopping for hydration is often tricky. Often the tables are on both sides of the streets causing a bottleneck every time there is a refreshment stand. Runners will come to a dead stop right in front of you or take a sharp turn to get there. The best bet if you need water or gatorade is to wait until the far end of the table. Run through the stop until you are towards the end, then head to the table. If you do it at the beginning of the table you will be with the masses and be held up even longer.
7. Tylenol is dispensed at the medical tents as well as ice, tape, sometimes foam rolls and usually a physician. If you need to, stop and ask a question.
8. Put an emergency (or semi-emergency) phone number on the back of your bib. Sounds stupid but should you not be entirely ‘with it’ and end up in a tent, this may be the only way to contact someone. I once did a race in another city and had heat stroke and did not have any contact phone numbers to call. I had to wait until I was well enough then had to walk a ton because I didn’t have my friends’ phone number to pick me up. You never know.
9. Bring more ‘food’ than you think. Whether you eat goo, drink your calories or eat blocks, bring extra. Sitting around for hours in Staten Island will make you super hungry. So will the nerves and the endorphins. You will always feel more hungry than you think.
10. Have fun! If you aren’t set on a certain time, stop and take pictures and see your friends. You will remember these longer than the time you came in. One of the greatest pictures to take is on the Verrazano. Climb up on a low pylon and have a friend (or take a selfie) take a perfect pic of Manhattan in the background!