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New York City Marathon Tip 2: The Course, Divide and Conquer

Posted Nov 02 2011 10:19am

I recommend dividing the course into 4 sections. First, because the compartmentalizing will help you psychologically. It is better to think in 4′s than in 2. Second, because there really are 4 sections that are distinct beginnings and endings.

1. Miles 0-8: The warm-up

The first 8 miles should be at a nice, comfortable, steady pace. Starting out slower will help you achieve a negative split, and thus a faster and more comfortable day!

2. Miles 8-16: To the bridge

At mile 8 all of the 3 colors combine to form one big track of marathoners! Whether you are green, orange or blue, you will all meet up at mile 8. From here the party starts!

From here to the bridge, you still won’t know what kind of day you have ahead of you…so don’t get crazy! Pick up the pace a bit if possible, but remain level-headed. Now is not the time to turn it on.

The Queensboro bridge marks the end of this phase. Go easy and steady. If you find you are tired, WALK. It is better not to increase your heart rate to high and risk burning out than lose a few minutes of walking. This is the toughest part and a turning point…on to Manhattan!

3. Miles 16-21: Back in Manhattan

If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere, so what’s it gonna be? Here is where you can decide what kind of race you will have. Wait until the best part, when you run down the bridge and around the corner onto the crowds of 1st Avenue! Once your heart rate settles, make a move. Not a huge one, but make it. Can you speed up? Can you hit your goal? Here is where you can start to decide.

4. Miles 21-26.2: To Central Park and the Finish!

Now its time to let loose! Either choose to go for it, sit back and cruise or be forced to slow down. Its 6 miles…10K…you will definitely know what you’ve got. Don’t forget the section of 5th ave and Central Park South that are false flats…they are uphill, so keep that in mind. So pick your speed wisely and do it…it will all be worth it. The quicker you run, the quicker that line and rest comes!

What race strategy do you use? Do you try to run a negative split? Even pace? What NYC Course advice can you share?

- Marisa

(Marisa, a MS PT SCS ATC, is a member of  iRunnerBlog’s team and writes the Runner Therapy column, she is a physical therapist in private practice in midtown NYC called Dash Physical Therapy .  She one of only a dozen or so physical therapists  in the state of NY to be board certified in sports.)

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