The New York City Marathon is finally in our sights! After weeks, months or even years of preparations for many, it may seem a little surreal to be in the last few days with only a few miles of running remaining until you’re on the way to the Verrazano for the start. Naturally it’s around this moment that the nerves start to kick in at the mention of the race, but we hope that’s accompanied by a healthy dose of excitement too!

With things culminating with the race on Sunday, we thought it would be useful to share some last-minute tips and advice to make sure you’re huddled in your corral ready and confident to attack the day.

Don’t panic! 

Your training plans have most likely (we hope!) been backing off on the volume and intensity of training over the last couple of weeks, aka the Taper Phase. 

After many weeks of high volumes and tough days, your mind and body may not know quite how to feel. Runs may seem uncoordinated or feel harder than they should, leaving you to question everything; just know that’s totally normal! 

Think about this as your body ‘absorbing’ the training from the build-up. Trust the training you have put behind you, the final few runs are no indication to race-day performance.

Plan your race-week essentials

This one is pretty obvious, but take care of all of your logistics early! 

  • Know when you’re going to the expo to collect your bib-number (Try to avoid crowds by going early in the week if you can)
  • Check and finalize your transport options to get to the start buses
  • Plan a rendezvous spot for after the finish with your friends and family
  • Check the weather – plan accordingly!
  • Read up on the bag drop policy and what to expect at the start and finish

Dial Up Your Nutrition

Carbohydrate loading is a classic method that has been established to increase your stores of vital fuel for going the distance. Coach and nutritionist Amy Stephens recommends progressively increasing the amount of carbs you are consuming throughout the week of the race.

She also suggests limiting alcohol intake during race week. Instead, save it for your post-race celebrations!

Organize your race kit and gels

Another obvious one, but get your kit together. Know what you’re wearing for the race and plan for contingency options for different weather conditions. 

On the same note, know what you’re wearing BEFORE the start in the corral. These should be things you’re willing to discard before you set off – an old sweater and pants is ideal since these are collected by volunteers at the start and donated to non-profits in the city.

The same goes for your fuel out on the course. Have everything laid out according to your fuel strategy, plus an extra gel, just in case. This can be crucial to making the race a successful one!

Johannes Motschmann taking fuel by Florian Kurrasch (IG: @fln.krs)

Don’t change anything drastically!

This one goes hand-in-hand with kit, but also goes for training too. Don’t try anything new on race day/week. 

You may see some fresh new race shoes at the expo, don’t be tempted! Ideally, you’ll have tried and tested all of your kit and nutrition in training.

The same goes for training. Your friends may be doing something different to you for their final week of training, but stick to your plan and trust your training. 

And finally, don’t go and try a new recipe the night before the race. Stick to your classics that you know aren’t going (or are unlikely) to cause any GI upset.

Know the course 

Some of you have likely run the NYC Marathon course many times. Others maybe have run a marathon, but not NY. Others, it may be your first marathon.

Regardless, take a look at the course map and profile. It is useful to familiarise yourself with it to know when to expect hills, water stops, bathrooms, large crowds, and everything else. An unexpected climb can be demoralizing! 

PT, Coach, Co-Founder and NYC Marathon finisher Aubrey recommends studying the second half in particular where a few tough challenges like the Queensborough Bridge can start to really impact those not ready for them.

people running
Photo by RUN 4 FFWPU on Pexels.com

Know your race plan.

If you have a coach, you have probably chatted about your best plan to execute your ideal race. Is that running even splits? Does finishing the second half faster make more sense? Chat with your coach to make sure you have a realistic way of tackling the race.

Similarly, understand how you should adjust for factors like weather, how you’re feeling, or if things change in the race. Having these can really help shift your perspective on the race to come away feeling accomplished regardless of the result.

It can be tough to stick to with people surrounding you at all times, but discipline will pay off!

Get excited and HAVE FUN!

Happy race week! Share your bib numbers and we’ll be sure to cheer for you out on the course!

-NY Run Academy Team