NYCM Advice

Everyone has their own opinion (heres mine) of the ING New York City Marathon.  If you have ran it, chances are we share both similar opinions but also differ in other parts.  Here are brief tips that I have created:

  1. It’s not an easy marathon course.  If this course was not the most spectated race course, it would be the most miserable.  To prepare you should run every bridge you can find.  Twice. The bridges aren’t what took their tolls on my body but the gradual uphills. It may seem like running through the boroughs is your break.  After all there are thousands of people lined the street and it seems flat.  In reality most of that stretch are long gradual uphills.
  2. Don’t worry about being on pace the first mile.  It is uphill and crowded.  It is completely unnecessary to make it 1.1 miles because of weaving.  It will thin out.  As everyone told me make it your slowest mile…Since my marathon was pretty regressive that didn’t happen.  I didn’t weave though and didn’t take it out hard.
  3. Be prepared for the Queensboro Bridge.  Mile 15 will hurt.  Coming down into mile 16 is the most exciting part besides finishing the race.  The people at mile 16 know how painful that bridge is and the roar of the crowds is beat by none.
  4. They don’t check your ferry time slot.  I signed up for the 5:45 ferry and took the 6.  As long as you have your race number, board whichever you would like.  That being said, the later ones became far more crowded.  I had my own row on the 6 am ferry.
  5. If your friends or family is coming to watch let them know what side of the road you are running.  If you are running on the right and they are standing on the left…you don’t see them.
  6. My best advice is have your friends and family stand somewhere around mile 8 and then again in Central Park.  Nothing beat the moment I saw my friends and family in Central Park.  (except when I could finally sit down after the race roughly 4 hours later).
  7. Be prepared for the two mile walk out of Central Park.  I did not check a bag and if I do the race, I probably won’t if I have someone with me.  I would rather get out of there as soon as possible versus standing in line.  Granted I was in rougher shape than most, I still recommend not checking a bag.
  8. The alphabetical family reunion places are perfect.  Despite the amount of people, I easily located my family.  It goes backwords from Z-A.  Since we met at H it was a much longer walk for me but I had no problems finding my family and friends.  I would probably tell them to meet at Z next time.

Here is a lump of things I was not expecting for my first marathon either.  I love reading other people’s race recaps but for anyone thinking of running a marathon here you go.

  1. When I carb loaded I held 9 pounds of water weight.  I felt bloated on the race day.  You should feel like this.
  2. You probably will have to stop to pee or use the restroom.  Don’t worry about that extra minute because you will probably make it up.
  3. Your quads will burn.  I never expected my quads to burn as much as they did.
  4. I never felt enlightened or that the marathon distance was the way to be.  I never had a running high and I didn’t immediately finish and think to myself…my I want to sign up for 5 more marathons.  You don’t have to finish loving the marathon.
  5. You must fuel.  I can 100% say if I did not take Gatorade at close to every mile and did not take 3 gels I would not have finished.  (This is coming from someone who took 1 gel on a 20 mile run and no Gatorade).  In fact next time I might take more.

**Incase you wondered, yes I would do the marathon again.  

Questions for you:

Did you or have you run NYC?  Do you have any advice?

What did you learn the hard way from your first marathon? 


  1. I couldn’t agree more with these tips except I thought the course had more downhill than uphill aside from that last stretch near/in the park. I guess when it only hurts to run downhill your perception gets distorted. I think I was surprised the most by the elevation changes outside of the bridges. I assumed the boroughs would be flat. Wrong

  2. Also important to note, family/friends needed a special pass to get into the meeting area. Found that out the hard way.
    Every time I read “Queensboro Bridge”, I get the King of Queens theme song stuck in my head.
    Your advice is pretty spot on, based on everything I’ve ever heard about the marathon.

  3. I think this is some good advice that could be generalized to marathon running. There are always going to be unexpected things out on the course. The hardest thing for me was hitting the point where I knew I had never run that far before. It was a mental game. Funny thing is I thought I would run more marathons, but here I am four years later and I know now I will not.

  4. The climb up 5th avenue broke me just a little bit. Had it not been for having my name shirt and people cheering for me there would have been walking. A lot.
    First marathon I learned to begin drinking and fueling before you think you need it. By the time you need it you are too far gone and you won’t recover. Also spot on about bathroom breaks although I admire every person who can get through without stopping.

  5. I can only imagine going up at huge incline at mile 15 when you’re legs are already sore. Yikes. Thankfully, NYC is one of the most populous cities and easy for people to come and support; otherwise, there would probably be a lot of people to drop dead at mile 16. Lol

  6. I genuinely don’t mean to sound rude, but you have run ONE marathon and suddenly you’re an expert? I’ve run four marathons and have never needed to stop to use the bathroom. I realize that training for this marathon has been your main focus in life for months, but maybe get a few more marathons under your belt and then you’ll have gained enough “wisdom” to justify two weeks’ worth of posts on a single race.

    1. I was just referring to the NYCM marathon. I’m not an expert in running marathons or any distance and far from it. I didn’t mean to come across as that.

      I did have a lot to say regarding my personal marathon experience and this is a 75% running blog so that is my general focus. Since the marathon I’ve posted 7 times and this was the last post. I had a few other posts spread in throughout there though. I understand not everyone cares for 2 weeks of posts on a single topic. My personal style is I would rather have more shorter posts then one long post but we all have our differences.

      That is impressive about not stopping in the marathon! Since we were in our corral an hour before (with no access to a bathroom) I really had to go. I have a small bladder as well so even if I had access to a rest room up until the race start, I’m not sure I wouldn’t have to stop at some point and go. I simply meant that holding it any longer (for me personally) would have caused me to slow down and it was more beneficial to just stop for a minute in the bathroom.

      Thank you for your feedback.

      1. When you gotta go . . . 😉 I just don’t know whether it’s good advice to tell people to PLAN to stop. But I could be wrong. I did pee myself once during a track race in high school, but that’s a totally different story. 😉 congrats on your first marathon, I don’t doubt you are capable of going sub-3, especially on a faster course. I’ve never done NYC, but have done Boston and Nike Women’s in San Fran, and I don’t recommend either if the goal is a fast time.

      2. I think I worded that really poorly. I guess I didn’t mean you should plan to use the rest room during a race but rather you shouldn’t be surprised if you had to go. (For me personally I will probably always have to go…).

        Thank you so much. I’ve heard the Nike womens on the west coast is surprisingly hilly as well!

    2. I recently ran Marine Corps marathon as my first and if I was a blogger I would have two weeks worth of posts too! Sour grapes, Sara. Shame on you. I think Hollie has been brutally honest about her experience, which is refreshing and may be useful for others wanting to run their first one.

  7. Yes yes and yes! It’s most definitely NOT an easy course, so I am so incredibly proud of achieving a PR on this course- but I do wish those slow upgrades hadn’t slowed me down at the end. Next time! Which marathon are you eyeing next?

  8. That is pretty good advice for this race. I don’t know if I have much to add, but I did have a much different experience. I set a PR at the time (since have broken it). For some reason, the bridges and long uphills (wasn’t all of Brooklyn uphill?!) did not affect me, even though I live in arguable the absolute flattest city in America (Houston) and did not train on hills/inclines/bridges/parking garages).

    I would highly recommend NOT checking a bag at this race because of the long slow exit. In the same vein, I would recommend everyone take water and even some food while exiting. I saw multiple “casualties” on the way out (ie. people vomiting and/or passing out).

    As far as the restroom, I thought there were actually restrooms in the corrals, I am almost certain of it. They just weren’t available once the corral started moving forward to the actual start line because they were near the back of the corral, at least the year I ran.

    Oh, and don’t miss your alarm clock due to the time change. I did, but it kind of worked out. I got one of the last cabs out of the city and got dropped off at like 7-7:30am, which was awesome….less waiting around, which I hate!

    1. I saw a lot of people peeled over too. It was pretty scary. I ran in Houston in a park last month and loved it. I cannot quite remember what the park was called though.

      What a great idea regarding taking a taxi. If I run again (which I would love too at some point), I might try and do that!

  9. I like that you mentioned the bathroom! I have to pee on almost every run I do, no matter what (even 3 miles). I get stressed about needing to use the restroom and even though I’m months away from even running a half marathon, I like hearing about people actually needing to pee too, because I ALWAYS have to pee! Even if I don’t drink anything, I pee probably ever 2-3 hours. So if I hydrated for a marathon, I’d be peeing nonstop.

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