Tag Archives: nycm

Tips for running the NYC Marathon.

A week or so ago, a friend of mine from middle school asked for tips for running the NYC marathon and I happily wrote him a monster of an e-mail all about my favorite race. As a lifetime New Yorker and a four-time NYC Marathon finisher (2009-2011, 2014), I know this race. I have actually had very detailed dreams of running this race (not exaggerating, I was once told I was talking in my sleep and calling out the mile markers). This race is a part of me. 

nyc-marathons2014 NYCM Recap

2011 NYCM Recap

2010 NYCM Recap

Because my friend is probably not the only person looking for some advice this week (it’s marathon week, baby!), I’m taking that e-mail and putting it out on the interwebs. 

Tips for Running the NYC Marathon


  • If you haven’t already done so, put your name on your shirt. People will call your name out and it will be all sorts of amazing. Because people will be screaming your first name all day, it may be hard to recognize when it’s someone you know screaming your name. Ask friends/family to call you by your last name if they can’t get your attention.
  • On that note, know where your friends/family will be ahead of time and most importantly, know which side of the street they will be on. I cannot stress the importance of the side of the street more.
  • If you don’t already have throwaway clothes for the start line, get them now. Ask friends/family for old sweats/hats/gloves/whatever. Everything at the start line gets donated. If you want, use old baseball socks as throwaway arm sleeves. Cut the feet off and put them on your arms until you feel warmed up and then drop them along the course. This has helped me during marathons that are in-between weather.
  • For the start, it’s a good idea to bring something like a garbage bag to sit on, even if you’ll be in a tent area. If it rained the day or days before, it will be muddy, so bring extra garbage bags to sit on, wear old sneakers that you won’t mind parting with and then switch into your race sneakers last minute or cover your sneakers with bags so they don’t get muddy and wet prior to the start. Also, bring yourself some toilet paper. It’s not uncommon to see people standing on the port-a-potty line with their own roll of TP.
  • Come up with a plan/strategy for when things got rough, I’m thinking specifically for 5th Avenue before the park. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, this is the worst part of that course. My first NYCM, this is where I told a random stranger that I wanted to quit. My coach for the 2014 NYCM told me to come up with my strategy for this section early and it helped. I focused on who I had tracking me and who was waiting for me in the bleachers and I literally repeated their names in my head for the entire mile. My good friend last year tried to focus on her husband but it wasn’t working for her so she switched to mentally baking cookies in her head and spent the mile working out the recipe. Figure out a plan for this spot and then figure out a back-up plan.
  • Come up with a meeting spot with your friends/family for after the race. Do not count on cell service being good at the finish line. If you can, avoid the family reunion area and pick another part of the UWS or UES (I heard from a NYRR staff member that they will have East side access for the first time this year). In 2014, I met my family in front of the Jack Rabbit on 72nd near Broadway. Pick a street corner, pick anything, as long as it is a specific location


  • Start slow – holy hell just go so damn slow. Don’t weave on the bridge. If you do this right, your first two miles should be your slowest.
  • When you get into Brooklyn and the crowds start to thicken, it may get emotional. It’s okay, just don’t speed up because of it.
  • You don’t want to add any extra mileage by weaving. The course is measured exactly 26.2 miles from the middle of the street (marked by a blue line that may be faded by the time you start). Unless you’re super familiar with the course, running the tangents isn’t a good strategy here. When in doubt, run in the middle of the street. Run only to the side when you know you have a family/friends on that side.
  • These miles are generally flat with some rolling hills and the crowds are good. Enjoy them. No lie, this is probably the best you’ll feel (physically) all day. Be smart and run slow. Your legs will thank you.
  • This area is typically not so crowded so it’s a good place to see people.
  • Be careful to conserve your energy here because you’ve got the 59th street bridge ahead of you.
  • People walk on the bridge and/or slow down significantly, try not to get frustrated and definitely do not weave. Get around slower folks by moving just the bare minimum amount to get by them.
  • Forget your pace and focus on exerting the same amount of effort that you were before the bridge. Having people on 1st Avenue is good because it gives you something to look forward to on the bridge. I’ve used the bridge to focus on who is waiting for me and that if they’ve been tracking, they know I’m getting close.
  • It’s exciting and too easy to pick up the pace on 1st Ave. Try to keep yourself in check and maintain pace. There is a steady incline and lots of miles ahead.
  • You’re only here a short time but the Bronx typically has good crowds so enjoy the atmosphere.
  • Concentrate on the fact that you’ve only got one more bridge and then you are in the final borough!
Manhattan/5th Ave
  • There’s no way around it, the closer you get to Engineer’s Gate (where the course turns into Central Park), the more everything is going to suck.
  • Having people here is good (it’s where I always stand to cheer!)
  • It is a nasty, no-good, horrible, slow incline up 5th and into Central Park. Use your strategy to get through this little rough patch. If it doesn’t work, use your back up. If that doesn’t work, come up with a new one. Anything. Focus on the person’s feet in front of you and count their steps. Think of the finish line as being the turn into Central Park. You just need to get to the park.
Central Park
  • THIS. I could cry just thinking about this. You are in the most famous park in the world, running the best marathon in the world. You have people waiting for you at the finish line or people at home following your every step and waiting to see that you have finished.  This is a huge fcuking deal.
  • When you get to the bottom of the park, you exit out and run along Central Park South. I’ve made the mistake of trying to pick it up here thinking I was close. I was an idiot. The finish is still far enough away. Soak up the crowds and focus on that turn back into the park.
  • When you get to the 800m mark in the park, that’s your time. Pick it up, leave nothing out there. You will feel like you’re barely going anywhere. Last NYCM, I picked up my pace and had you asked me then, I felt like I was running 12 minute miles. Turns out, I was at an 8:30. Nothing feels normal at this point. Just move your damn legs as fast as they can. You can do anything for 5 more minutes.


For everyone running, ENJOY THIS RACE BECAUSE THIS IS AS GOOD AS IT DAMN WELL GETS. Love every second of this day and of this city. It’s a 26.2 mile party and you’ve got a VIP pass.

As for me, I’ll be out there next year running my heart out. This year, I’ll be on the sidelines cheering my heart out. Happy running, NYC 🙂

Comments Off on Tips for running the NYC Marathon.

Filed under marathon, marathon tips, new york city, running, tcs new york city marathon

I didn’t put my name in for the NYC Marathon…

First up, workouts from last week:


Also, a big CONGRATS to Jill who won my giveaway for a FREE Spartan Race!


I always use a random number generator to pick giveaway winners so I never know who is going to win.. and it made me really happy how excited Jill was about winning. She has already used her free code to register for a Spartan Race in Ohio this spring! Good luck, Jill!

I didn’t put my name in for the New York City Marathon…

It was hard not to register. It was so difficult to let Sunday pass me by and know that I was giving up the NYCM this coming November.

you dont even know

I love this race. I’ve run it 4x. I threw a temper tantrum and cried in a bagel store in 2013 when I didn’t run it.

i just want to runnn

But I also know that I’m unsure if I want to train for a marathon this summer.

seriously unsure

And I know that I want to train hard for a fall half-marathon.

in this outfit too

And I know that if I change my mind about a fall marathon (I am going to try not to!), there are countless other amazing marathons on the east coast that I’ve yet to run.

no criticizing if i hit register on a fall marathon

I’ll just have to find a way to numb my pain on November 1st.

total nycm denial

I love you, NYCM. And I’ll be back for you. But this year, I’ll see you at Mile 23… with a sign in one hand… and very likely, a drink in the other.


Did you enter the NYCM lottery? Do you have guaranteed entry?

Who watched the SNL 40 episode on Sunday?! SO GOOD! Read about my first and second times at SNL with Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon.


Filed under giveaway, marathon, new york city, tcs new york city marathon, weekly workout wrap-up

Not my recap but we gotta talk 2014 NYC Marathon!

Not so spoiler alert (especially if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram): a huge PR happened in NYC yesterday!

nycm finish

4:11:09 (9:35 pace) – 13 minute PR

Some quick things about yesterday’s NYC Marathon:

  • Don’t believe the media. It wasn’t that cold and it wasn’t that windy. Sure, there were a few crazy gusts (like cups flying all over the street crazy) but it wasn’t a consistent wind. Also, temperature wise, the weather was pretty amazing. I wore crops, a thin long sleeve, a singlet, a hat, and a thin headband to cover my ears. I dropped my gloves by mile 3, rolled up my sleeves by mile 5, and pulled the headband off my ears quickly after that.
  • The crowds were INSANE! You’d think with the weather (and the media making it out like it was a tornado out there), that there might have been a reduction in the amount of spectators along the course. NOPE! NYC came out hard and made it a 26.2 mile block party.
  • I watched thousands of runners in front of me do the YMCA in Brooklyn. Perfection.
  • I cried at the start, I cried in Brooklyn (the crowds were ridiculously loud in one spot and I overheard a tourist scream “this is ze best city in ze world!”), and I cried at the finish line.
  • I felt good the whole marathon. Obviously, those later miles hurt and my legs and hips were tight but I most definitely did not hit a “wall.”
  • I found what works for me on 5th avenue… with each step- “Mom, Dad, John. Mom, Dad, John.” Repeat until Central Park.
  • Fleece-lined ponchos are awesome.
  • I live in the greatest city in the world.

nycm finish family reunion

A huge THANK YOU to my cheerleaders who traveled all over the city to see me in various spots, to my friends and family stationed along the course, to the strangers cheering my name, to the volunteers who had a longer day than most of the runners, and to everyone else who called, texted, tweeted, or sent messages. YOU ARE THE GREATEST.

CONGRATS to every NYC Marathon finisher! Enjoy a day of rest today!

Stay tuned for a full NYC Marathon recap 🙂


Filed under marathon, marathon tips, new york city, PR, running, tcs new york city marathon

ready for a week at the beach!

My first week of NYCM training:

marathon training week 1

And now, I’m all packed and ready for a week full of sun and sand! Follow me on Twitter and Instagram for updates from the beach!

Beach week!

Beach week!

Also, last Friday I chatted with  TheActiveTimes–  if you haven’t yet, go ahead and read the interview here!

Happy running, everyone!

Comments Off on ready for a week at the beach!

Filed under weekly workout wrap-up