Tips for running an iconic race

In case it has gone unnoticed with all the positive reviews I have given these guys, my favorite podcast is Running Rogue out of Austin, Texas. Recently they shared their tips on running the NYC marathon, and why it is so different from other races as far as the preparation and logistics. Erica and I ran this race, and Erica has also run the Chicago marathon. These two, in addition to Boston, London, Tokyo, and Berlin, are in the series of six races called the Abbott World Marathon Majors. Going into these races, Erica and I realized we did a few things well and a few things not so well to prepare. We offer the following tips when going into an iconic marathon:

  • If possible, go with a friend who is also racing, or have a friend come as race support. Generally this is a great idea for all races, but for a race with 50,000 runners, you will be glad to have someone to travel with or race with.
  • Book your hotel strategically, location is key. In NYC, it can take a few HOURS to leave your hotel and get to the start line. Cut time where you can. Book flights and hotels in advance for the best choices.
  • Practice race day nutrition in advance, because it will be completely different, as far as timing, than any other race you have experienced. Chances are you will be getting up at 4am for a 10:15 race start. You will need to have breakfast! There is plenty of time to digest, not to mention, if you start at 10am and finish by 2pm, by the time you get back to your hotel and shower, it’s nearly dinnertime. You will be glad you have had one real meal that day.
  • Feel zero guilt for the amount of race gear or race shirts you buy! You may only do this once.
  • No matter how much fun you are having walking around experiencing the city, try to save your legs for race day. Take the subway, taxi, or uber/lyft. (Erica and I may have accidentally learned this the hard way).
  • Research the restaurants you hope to eat at for dinner the night before, as well as post-race dinner. Book a reservation if possible. Get the most out of your visit to an amazing city.
  • If you run with music during training, it may not work for these races. There will be thousands of people lined up along the streets from start to finish, and you won’t be able to hear a thing in your earbuds. Just take it all in, look around at the beautiful city you are privileged to run in!
  • As with all marathons, be familiar with the course, visualize the race, talk to as many people as you can to prepare. You may expend more energy that you anticipate just getting to the start corral, accidentally weaving in and out of the crowds of runners, not running tangents, not to mention the extra excitement and over-stimulation from the crowds, music, and once in a lifetime views. Save as much of that energy as you can!
  • Lastly: HAVE FUN. These races are extremely difficult to get into by lottery, not to mention qualifying time. This is your time to enjoy even if the race is not your best! I have some regrets about NYC, and may do it again one day so I can approach it differently next time!

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