Whippet Wisdom: NYC Marathon Mental Prep

A Wisdom piece back in late July discussed race strategy for Team Champs – course specifics on navigating turns, hills, tangents, etc. For the next week-and-a-half, think about your NYC Marathon race strategy during the easy miles of your recovery runs/ easy bike rides/ stretch and foam rolling sessions/ riding on the subway to work, etc. Saturday’s Manhattan run will feature the final 10 miles of the course which provides an added benefit to this race strategy implementation. As we said back in July, you can only achieve success if you envision success.

The NYC Marathon is a much longer course with its own nuances but each person has their own way of breaking things down – from minute details to broad strokes:

  • If you’re a mile-by-mile person, check out this link and search for “NYC Marathon Pace Sheet” which is a suggested tool for calculating splits. The calculator does not simply take your finish time and divide it evenly but takes into account the NYC Marathon course to provide mile-by-mile, 5K, half marathon and other important splits. Some folks create wristbands using this information which may be helpful to remember come race day.
  • Some prefer to break down the course down into bigger pieces eight 5K segments (instead of 26 individual miles) or main areas: Verrazano Bridge, long straightaway of 4th Ave Brooklyn, Atlantic Terminal/ North Brooklyn, Queens/ Queensborough Bridge, long straightaway of 1st Ave Manhattan, solitude of the Bronx (except for the Whippets cheering station!), 5th Ave Manhattan, Central Park/ the finish. Our Strategies for Success seminar held two weeks ago focused more on this aspect as well as providing info on week-of, the expo, and pre- and post- race planning so check it out

Regardless of your method, I recommend going into the race with three goals: good, better, best. “Good” represents a time which you feel confident in achieving based on your training. “Better” is a time which begs you to come for it; while the time is not easily achieved and will take some work. “Best” is a stretch time which might only happen under perfect conditions but still possible. For most people, these times should be no more than 10-15 minutes apart. For example, good of 3:40, better of 3:35, best of 3:30. While the difference does not seem like much, we all know that 5 minutes is eternity in a marathon so, while the range is large, it is reasonable. Each of these times should be plugged into the calculator so you are mentally prepared when you see those times at the given checkpoints.

To help your chances of success on race day, it’s best to find a partner or two. We created this google doc survey to fill out your race day goals. This survey will be published late next week with the idea of finding someone in your wave and in/ nearby corral to run with in the first part of the race and people to look for as the race progresses.

As always, we’re here to help so let us know if you have any questions. Time to get excited!
Chris 40

More about Chris Forti

Chris grew up just outside of Boston where he competed at the high school and collegiate level. In Boston, he coached athletes with varying objectives - from youth to high school to adults - and went so far as to marry his favorite athlete. He joined the Whippets in 2013 and is excited to be coaching for this highly motivated group. He works at siggi's yogurt in New York City as a demand planner and can be found playing "catch the red laser dot" with his favorite kitty, post-run. He calls himself "40" because "Forti" is evidently too many typeface characters to handle and can be found on Facebook, Twitter (@chris40runs), and Instagram (@chris40runs)

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