Everything I Wish I Knew About the NYC Marathon

To kick off a series of marathon-related posts here’s the first one telling you about some must-knows if you’re preparing for the NYC Marathon. I include everything I wish I had known about the event before the first time I ran it back in 2015. This information is based on my experience running in the NYC Marathon three times and running in it as a coach for one of them!

If this is your first or tenth year running the race, I think you’ll get something out of this Q&A below!

Q&A – The 2022 TCS New York City Marathon

Can you describe the NYC Marathon and how the course feels for you?

The NYC marathon is exhilarating. If anyone is going to run a world major, NYC is BY far the most energetic and vibrant of the three in the USA. It’s a net uphill, but the energy throughout the course from the end of the Verrazano bridge through Central Park is just something else. Please take advantage of the long journey to the start line because it’s an adventure. You hop on the ferry, then you’re escorted to buses that take you to the actual starting line of the marathon with all of the Dunkin Donuts Tents and endless time waiting to start your race. It’s somewhat of a zoo at the start, so if you can bring extra layers, I’d highly recommend doing so. Eat breakfast, such as a plain bagel with peanut butter, 2 hours before the race. Carbs are fuel. Bring warm throw-away clothes, food (crackers, anything carbs and not a protein you’ve trained with, and tissue/wipes). Don’t count on those porta-potties having TP! Sorry if TMI, but it is essential! Let everyone pass you on the Verrazano bridge as you settle into your race pace. Don’t blow through Mile 1! Trust your training. The first mile is uphill. Many people get excited at the start and go out too fast! Don’t be one of them! Don’t go to the first water table. Pass a couple of tables that aren’t as crowded. They usually have different color cups for Gatorade. Grab your water and go! Be careful not to go out too fast on the Verrazano bridge, and it’s hard to anyways because it’s slightly uphill, and then downhill into Brooklyn on Mile 2. Have the discipline to stay in the mile you’re in, and pace yourself through Brooklyn into Long Island City, which takes you past the 13.1-mile marker. Take advantage of the flat course and energy in the race’s first half. The Queensboro Bridge feels almost like the start of a different race. All you can hear are footsteps stomping on the bridge, and no spectators are allowed. Get in your zone on the bridge and remember your training – check your form – I like this bridge because I can check in with myself and have less of a focus on the crowd. Master your pace, and you master your race!

The crowds are ROARING when heading into Manhattan and coming off left onto first avenue from the Queensboro bridge. And nothing beats running down the bridge after the slight uphill running up it! If you have ever seen Brittany Runs A Marathon and run the NYC Marathon, YOU WILL BREAK OUT IN TEARS. It’s the best thing I’ve seen to prep you and get you amped for what this moment is like in the NYC Marathon. Mile 17 is where my old apartment is on 71st and 1st and about the place to mentally prepare yourself for the most challenging part of the race to come, not just because of the nature of the end of any marathon, but the net uphill part of it. First avenue takes you into the Bronx, looping around onto 5th Avenue which is slightly uphill the entire way heading into Central Park. The crowds are incredible; let the energy carry you, but just focus on putting one step in front of another, especially heading into Central park during the last 10K of the Marathon. Mile 25 takes you up to Columbus Circle, and it hurts, but you have your sights at that point basically set on the finishing line, a slight right-hand turn at Columbus Circle into Central Park to cross the 26.2-mile marker. Think about how lucky you are to be running the NYC marathon – enjoy the day – YOU WILL BE TALKING ABOUT IT FOR YEARS! Your life will never be the same once you run the NYC Marathon!

What iconic NYC places do you recommend? 

Where are the best places to run in NYC?

What running stores/ athletic stores are you getting your gear from in NYC?

If you meant NYC, I would recommend Fleet Feet since they’re everywhere, especially Columbus Circle – super easy, and Brooklyn Running Co. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, or Park Slope, Brooklyn. The specialists that work in both stores are qualified for the job and take the time to learn about you as a runner, especially while getting fitted for a new pair of running shoes 🙂 Super important for injury prevention, just to add!

What are the best places to get a healthy meal or best place to eat/treat yourself after the race?

Carnegie Deli is my top favorite. Tompkins Square Bagels is delish; It’s NYC; don’t worry about anything but bagels, pasta, and pizza before and after a marathon. You can get these staples at any restaurant in Manhattan or Brooklyn. I know that for a FACT. Most importantly, have fun out there, and have a GREAT race 🙂

If you’re curious to learn more about my experience coaching a runner to a sub-4-hour marathon while running alongside him during the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon, check out the video below!

Learn More On The RUNWITHALLI LIVE Podcast!

Listen to one of my most recent episodes on the RUNWITHALLI LIVE Podcast, where I, Coach Denise (the Marathon Whisperer), Erica Agran, and Emily Durgin chat about everything related to the 2023 TCS NYC Marathon quickly approaching on 11/6! Please SUBSCRIBE to the show, so you never miss a new weekly episode with a very new special guest!

If you don’t have a cheer squad and need one, you can find us at mile 19 of the race on 5th avenue!  

JOIN US on Saturday, 11/5, For A Shakeout RUN!

If you are looking for a fun, community 3-mile shakeout run. In that case, Coach Denise (aka the Marathon Whispherer) and I will lead one from Prehab on Saturday, 11/5, at 7:30 am, where we will be ending back at Prehab afterward to enjoy complimentary use of their recovery tools and recovery fuel from our friends at Core Power! ALL fitness levels are welcome to join us, even if you’re not running the marathon on 11/6! The more, the merrier. The registration link is right HERE!

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