Let’s preview the TCSNYCMARATHON

Every year thousands of runners (50,530 last year) run the New York City Marathon. It’s truly one of the world’s biggest and most popular marathons drawing runners from around the globe and locally. Last year I went to the marathon preview panel (prior to when I first ran this course) hosted by Coach Simon—and this year I did the same.

panelOur panel consisted of David Roeske, Daniela Alvarado and Jay Brown. During this time, they discuss mile-by-mile what will occur while running the NYC Marathon.
  • Daniela is a pacer for NYRR a personal record (PR) of 3:58 on the NYC marathon
  • David ran NYC 4 times PR of 2:42
  • Jay has ran NYC 5 times, has gotten into Boston by qualifying on NYC.
If you’ve ran a few marathons, you’ll notice that NYC’s course isn’t the easiest. Although not the most difficult, it’s certainly challenging. The energy of the crowd is the most talked about when runners recall their experience. It’s easy to lose yourself in the energy and forget your time goal if you have one. If you don’t have a time goal, the experience will most likely be intoxicating. Whether it’s the first marathon, or you’re seasoned, NYC will be one to remember.
The following tips were summarized while being discussed at the panel. Please view the PowerPoint when it’s posted later (this will be announced in the Dashing Whippets Facebook Group).

The Expo

– The bib pickup is from 10am-7pm at The Javits Center on Thursday and Friday. On Saturday it’s 9am-5pm.
– Bring your ID  and printed registration form (find that on MyNYRR.org). The only way things can be fixed with your registration is there. It’s too late to change transportation but, the ferry can be boarded at any time (but give it ample time or you will start in a later wave).

Your bibs tell you

The start color, start wave, corral, transportation, baggage (or not) and runner details.
Try to go Thursday if possible because it gets really crowded on Saturday. Check the expo schedule and get swag and throwaway clothes for race morning. DONT GET ANYTHING NEW FOR RACE DAY—but feel free to pick up deals for future races.

Some race week smarts

– Taper, sleep, foam roll, then taper again. Exactly what it says. Enjoy the taper, I know I do. If you’ve worked hard and trained hard, it all comes down to this week. 
– Eat and drink smartly. Don’t try new things, don’t skip meals, avoid the crazy pasta parties (although some runners tend to love these). It’s actually better to start carbing parts of your meals starting days 4 out until the race.
– Plan your race strategy. “Go to the expo with a game plan,” according to Daniela.
MyMarathonpace.com will help plan your strategy

The night before

– Double check everything twice: Check your corral, start time, baggage option, transportation.
– Charge GPS and cellphone, lay out all your running gear, bibs, etc.
– Set two alarms. This is also the time that time changes for an hour (DST) so pay attention to this.

Morning of the race

Have a schedule ahead of time. Check the MTA schedule, they change things unexpectedly (this year, the number 1 train isn’t running).
Your apartment is warmer than Staten Island and you’ll be outside for several hours at the starting village. Take more warm clothing than you think you will need. Bring throw away clothes and a heat sheet (~$7 here) to keep you warm. Some runners end up using painters tyvek suits (they might be at the expo again).
Some suggestions: Gloves, toilet paper (personally I like wet wipes just in case I need hand sanitizer), heat sheet, plastic bags for wearing over your shoes, bring a bagel, keep hydrating, bandaid (for guys nips), Vaseline, salt pills, etc. I use a ziplock to store my ID, metrocard, cellphone, cash, bank/credit card that I use in a spibelt. Be sure to check the list of prohibited items.

Staten Island 

TheVillageThe race starts off in Staten Island where there’s a refugee-like setting. Last year what I observed reckons it to be the likes of a scene of the Hunger Games. There were loudspeakers everywhere giving instructions in various languages. The temperature was cold and windy. This year, for every runner, I hope for the weather to be in your favor. However, since Staten Island is surrounded by water, and the race starts near the water—it’ll be cold so as mentioned before, layer up!
TheCourseWhen you make your way to the start, all colors from your bibs start on different courses.
Orange starts on the north side of the bridge which will lead to left of 4th avenue in Brooklyn. Green will be on the right of 4th avenue, green has a very different 3rd mile. They run under the bridge to start. Blue start is at the right of the bridge above the bridge like orange. All the courses are USAFT certified so you’re running the same distances so don’t worry too much about it. It’s not a good idea to try to make your way into another color’s course, at some points you can and some runners do, but this means you might run more than 26.2 miles in the end.

Mile 1 to the Verrazzano 

This mile should be ran with reserves but there’s usually excitement. Your GPS will go nuts so don’t rely on it for pacing yourself. It’s a deceptively uphill. Run by feel, it should feel easy. Stay in the middle of the bridge and enjoy the view. Some runners try to pass each other here, but there is much more time for that. Last year the bridge was very windy. If this year’s the same, try to use some runners to block that (lol I’m tall so I wasn’t that lucky last year).

Mile 2 

Don’t run more than 20 seconds than your goal pace. It’s downhill so you get it all back.

Mile 3, 4, 5 will be Bay ridge to sunset park 

At 4th ave the crowds will appear, the cheerers start there. At mile 5 you should be at your goal pace. You can be approximately 10 seconds slower than goal pace, you can make it up later. Use 5 miles as your long warm-up. Hydrate before you feel dehydrated. You might not feel thirsty in the first few miles.

Mile 6, 7 & 8

Settle into your goal pace and rhythm. Now is the time to pick up the pace to your goal marathon pace. The crowds will help you here to drive you along. Avoid unnecessary uphill battles. There’s a steady uphill at 4th ave, keep efforts steady and keep focus on bank tower in the distance. At the end of 4th ave, the Lanes merge this will be around mile 8 when all runners come together and the road will unfortunately narrow. Don’t be alarmed if the course feels more crowded.

Mile 9-13 Williamsburg 

Keep a level head. This section will be relatively flat with a few turns. Keep the pace steady and don’t go faster than your pace yet. Make sure you fuel (take a gel every 4 or so miles after this point). Keep your form running efficiently because this saves precious energy.

Miles 13-14 into Queens

This will essentially be bridge to bridge. Pulaski bridge indicates that you’re halfway there. Start to pick up the pace to the 59th street bridge. Your overall pace should be 30 seconds off the cumulative goal pace. Be smart with tangents. Run with your head and aim for the corners to not run more. While on the bridge use other runners for protection if you can (might be windy again).

Mile 15-16 Queensboro bridge

This is the section that most runners talk about. It’s eerily quiet run so enjoy the silence. Run smart it’s a hill go easy on the downhill for your quads. Don’t worry about your GPS focus on your breath and others around you might help you pace.

Miles 17-20 first avenue

As you come off the bridge, the crowd comes back in a big way but don’t get caught up in the atmosphere! Enjoy it but break it up into chucks. For example, think “Just get to 70th, 80th, etc.” This will also be a key time to fuel up.

Mile 21 the Bronx 

The 5th borough comes with lots of turns although it’s less than a mile. There’s an easy bridge, Wills ave. Watch for the banana peels at the fluid station! The DWRT cheering section will be around here as well so SMILE!

Miles 22-24 Harlem and 5th ave 

Take these in bite size pieces. Focus on singlets ahead to pull you along. You’ll get to what most runners call Sh!@#ty hill… Mile 23 is deceptive and uphill so you will need to be in a strong mental place to get up to it. Don’t let the slow mile get you down stay focused and keep your legs moving (try to plant a friend there if you can to perk you up).

Miles 24-26 Central Park

You’re home! If you’ve paced well, you will have a slight time cushion. Pick up some time on cat hill at 24.5. Push the pace if you feel you have the strength and energy. If you run in Central Park, this is your home so you know this route! When you get to Central Park South focus on the Time Warner Center to draw you towards the end. Feed off the energy of the crowd!

Mile 26.2

There’s a slight uphill. It has broken lots of runners—even the elites! Be ready for it!
Crossing the finish line: finish with your hands in the air! Not stopping your GPS watch (unless you don’t care about this photo).
You’re done! BUT it will be the longest walk of your life!
Up to a mile long walk … At least to 72nd street.
Everyone you’re meeting should be west of Columbus so it’s best to meet at a bar.

Post 27th

Try not to use family reunion (it could be worse than the start line). There’s a tracking app however cellphones are also overloaded in that area. Don’t forget to say thanks to the volunteers!
Replenish (carbs and protein) and recover.
Check the Dashing Whippets Meetup for whippets afterparty!
Hope this was helpful. Thanks so much Coach Simon for this!

Some other tips:

– Have your name on your singlet so random people can cheer you on. If you’re like me though, after mile 20 I wondered why people knew my name when I wasn’t processing info anymore.
(T Gallery Corp can print it for you (Thanks Jim!), or try Michael’s for iron-ons).
– Remember why you’re running while running
– No matter what, enjoy the course.
Are you running the NYC marathon? What are you looking forward to?
Did you run the NYC marathon? What are some tips?
Did you know that majority of the volunteers (over 90%) aren’t runners, or interested in running, at the NYC marathon? It’s one of the most inspirational marathons—many people have started running after seeing others experience it.

More about Dashing Whippets Running Team

The Dashing Whippets Running Team is a New York based running team that is founded on, and driven by, the diversity of our team members. With team members from all over the city, the country and the world, and with greatly different running goals, we find unity in recognizing and appreciating each others differences and our mutual enjoyment of running and participating in the New York running community and beyond.

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