NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Friday, October 23, 2015, 2:11 PM
More than 50,000 people crossed the New York City Marathon finish line last year.
With the New York City Marathon just around the corner, close to 50,000 runners are preparing for the world’s biggest race of the year.
For runners nearing the end of their training, the Daily News has compiled a list of tips from marathoners, health and fitness experts to help both newbie and veteran runners:
1. Take it easy
Avoid long-distance running six days before the race, fitness expert Michelle Goldberg said. Keep your runs between 3 and 5 miles.
The day before the race take a 30 minute walk. That’s it.
2. Don’t carb binge
Turns out binging on carbs the night before the marathon isn’t a good idea.
This is especially important if you aren’t used to overloading on carbs, according Goldberg. Doing so might make you bloated and lethargic the next day.
Goldberg recommended upping your carbohydrate intake 10 grams per day during the week leading to the race.
She said your biggest meal should be three days before the race — a 500 to 600 calorie meal heavy in fats and carbs.
After that, you want to have small and consistent meals every three hours — about 250 to 300 calories each.
Goldberg said you should avoid sports drinks unless you’re running more than 1.5 hours. Instead stick to coconut water, which is rich in electrolytes without the processed dyes and sugars.
You should be drinking 60 to 80 ounces of water a day the week leading to the race. If your urine is completely clear, you’re overdoing it.
Don’t drink more than 24 ounces of water the morning of the race. Going overboard will make you cramp up, Goldberg said.
Don’t try any new gear, food or drinks before the marathon. Race-day is not the time to experiment.
4. Don’t try anything new. Really.
Experts were unanimous on this advice — don’t experiment.
Don’t eat, drink or wear anything you haven’t tried before the race. Stay away from ANYTHING that hasn’t been part of your training.
Save any shiny new gear you bought at the expo for after the marathon. And don’t change anything in your pre-race dinner or pre-race breakfast.
5. Plan away the nerves
Goldberg recommended fighting the pre-race jitters by planning everything out.
Avoid feeling anxious and rushed by working on your game plan — whether it’s packing your bag or looking up directions — at least a few days before the race.
That way you can relax the night before.
If people are coming to watch you, make sure you know exactly where they are. It’s a lot easier for you to find the spectators than for the spectators to find you.
6. Get there early
The Health and Wellness Expo will be hosted at the Jacob K. Javits Center on 11th Ave. and W. 35th St. and will be open from Thursday, Oct. 29 to Saturday, Oct. 31.
Try to get there Thursday morning if you can, in order to avoid long lines picking up your race bib and packet. The expo is open to the public and it will only get busier as race-day nears.
There will be more than 100 vendors, and the earlier you get there the better the chances of products being in stock.
7. Visit the New York Road Runners Running Lab
There will be a group of experts at the expo who can offer individualized advice on everything from course strategy to your best running pace.
You can also pick up your NYRR pace band there.
8. Carry little, avoid lines, listen to instructions
Carry at least a MetroCard, an ID and some cash.
Chris Zuccaro, a 33-time marathoner who’s run the New York race three times, likes to bring bananas and a bagel with peanut butter to munch on while waiting to go in the corral.
There are snacks sold at Athlete’s Village, but be prepared for long lines.
Same goes for the porta potties. Lines get particularly long 30 minutes before start-time.
Stay close to your corral leading up to the race — you don’t want to miss any instructions or queues and get locked out. It happens.
9. Bring clothes you can throw away
New York City weather is erratic.
Prepare for a cold morning by wearing cheap or old layers you won’t mind throwing away once you start warming up.
“You wanna focus on running,” Zuccaro said. “Not on tying your expensive sweatshirt around your waist because you don’t want to throw it out.”
NYRR donates the discarded clothes to Goodwill.
Don’t waste energy trying to run past people on the crowded Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
10. Start the race off calm and steady
“Believe it or not, mile 1 is the longest hill during the TCS New York City Marathon,” John Honerkamp, New York Road Runner’s chief coach and senior manager of runner products and services, said in an email.
Because of nerves and excitement, runners don’t realize how steep the hill is and think they’re going too slow. Don’t worry and don’t sprint. You’ll make up for lost time during the second mile, which is the longest downhill stretch of the race.
“Mile 3 is really when runners should start paying attention to their splits,” Honerkamp said.
11. Don’t mind the crowded Verrazano-Narrows Bridge
There are so many runners on the bridge that your first instinct will be to get around them, said Victoria Rodriguez, a three-time New York marathon runner.
Don’t. Even the slightest unnecessary movement will waste energy you’ll desperately need down the line.
“Pace yourself,” Rodriguez said. “Don’t swerve around other people.”
The road will clear up a few miles in.
Squeezing the top of the paper cup creates a funnel that makes it easier to drink water, New York Road Runner’s John Honerkamp said.
12. “Squeeze the cup.”
Staring at mile 3, there will be stations serving water and Gatorade every mile.
Honerkamp recommended squeezing the top of the paper cup after grabbing it from a volunteer. This keeps the liquid from spilling while you run and forms a funnel that makes drinking easier.
13. Don’t stop at the aid stations
Slow down to grab a cup of water, but don’t stop.
Zuccaro explained that every time you stop your muscles shorten. Do it enough times and your legs will start going numb. You don’t want that.
14. Keep your core cool
You don’t need to drink water at every aid station, but take a cup and pour it over your head and neck — this will help regulate your body temperature.
15. Pick good music
Pick songs you know will get you uphill, will keep your pace steady and will distract you from the pain during the quiet parts of the course.
16. Tell you friends and family where to stand
If people are coming to watch you, make sure you know exactly where they are.
It’s a lot easier for you to find the spectators than for the spectators to find you, Rayvid said.
Seven-time NYC Marathon runner Eric Rayvid recommends writing your name on your shirt. “Nothing gets you up Fifth Ave. like having someone chanting your name,” he said.
17. Keep a steady pace on the Queensboro Bridge
More than one million people are expected to line the city’s streets, Honerkamp said.
Don’t let the excitement screw up your pace.
Keep this in mind during mile 16 while crossing the Queensboro Bridge, which Honerkamp described as a “steep, calm mile” followed by an eruption of cheers on First Ave.
“Runners know this surge of cheers is coming, and pick up their pace, which is not a good move,” he said.
“They need to remember to slow down a bit to account for the excitement, and also enjoy those amazing cheers.”
18. Write your name on your shirt
While you don’t want the crowd to distract you, Rayvid said their chants of encouragement can help you get through the rough patches – especially if the spectators are shouting your name.
“The crowds are abundant and supportive,” he said. “They’re all out there to help you get to the finish line.”
19. Use your fellow runners
“Find someone a little bit quicker than you and focus on their back or an item of clothing,” Zuccaro said. “This will help you a lot with pacing.”
Feeding off other runners’ energy is particularly helpful around Harlem and the Bronx, where cheering crowds thin out and runners tend to get distracted.
20. Stick to your training
Expect to see other runners doing all sorts of weird things on the course, Zuccaro said.
Don’t imitate them. Stick to what you’ve done the months leading to the race.
Feed off of the energy of your fellow runners, marathoner Chris Zuccaro said. Especially in places where the cheering crowds thin out.
21. Pick up the pace at mile 13
Even if it’s just four to five seconds per mile quicker, make sure you run the second half a little bit faster than the first half, Zuccaro said.
22. Don’t let mile 23 get the best of you
It runs from 110th street to Central Park and it’s the “toughest mile on the course,” according to Honerkamp.
There’s a slight hill that catches runners off guard and fools them in into thinking they’ve hit their limit.
“It’s time to dig deep and push on through,” Honerkamp said. “Central Park and the finish line are just ahead and the crowds will bring you home!”
You might not feel like it, but a good 15 to 20 minute stretch after the race will go a long way, Zuccaro said.
Stretch out your lower back, hip flexors, glutes, quads and shins — your body will thank you.
24. Enjoy the city
There’s no better post-race recovery than a walk. So, after stretching, try to take a leisurely, 30-minute stroll around the city.
“Public transit is a nightmare (after the race) so it’s a good opportunity to walk,” Zuccaro said.
25. Have a hearty meal
You might not be hungry right after the marathon, but try to have a dinner rich in protein and carbohydrates to replenish those lost nutrients.
26. Take a break
Don’t run for at least two or three days after the race. Because running affects your mobility, Golberg recommended massage therapy and restorative yoga to recover.
You might be too sore for a deep tissue massage or might not want to spend money, so give yourself a trigger point massage using a foam roller and some tennis balls. Just like when you stretch, make sure to get your glutes, calves, quads and shins.
Mile 23 is the “toughest mile of the course,” according to John Honerkamp. “It’s time to dig deep and push on through,” he said. “Central Park and the finish line are just ahead and the crowds will bring you home!”
26.1 No shame in walking to the finish line
While you need to make sure you keep the same pace throughout the race, “all bets are off” past mile 23, Zuccaro said.
If those Central Park hills feel like mountains (which, based on Rayvin, Rodriguez and Zuccaro’s experience, they probably will) just walk.
You won’t be alone.
26.2 For those not running
The marathon will air live on Sunday, Nov. 1, on WABC-TV and Channel 7 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for the New York Tri-state area.
The rest of the country can watch it on ESPN2 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., eastern time.
You can live stream the race on ABC7NY.com and with the WatchABC app from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.