It's Superbowl weekend, aka New York City Marathon, and you know we're here for you with expert racing advice so you can perform your best on the day you've been training for. Without further adieu, tips from expert coach, Steve Finley:
The New York City Marathon, like the city itself, is a monster. If you’re feeling intimidated or scared, good, you should. From the outset, and each step after for the first 12 miles, the race will beckon to you to throw your race plan in the trash, convincing you that today’s the day for glory, the day you’ve dreamt of where everything goes right and that the immortality you felt standing in your shoes at the start or coming off the Verrazano Bridge will stay with you each step of 26.2 miles. Don’t be fooled by the monster.
On marathon week there are hundreds of coaches and an equal number of strategies for how to run this race. This coach’s suggestion is just this:
Plan a negative split
A negative split is defined as running the second half of your race faster than the first half. When thinking about the NYCM course I would encourage you to think about the first half as before the crest of the Queensboro Bridge (Mile 15.5) and the second half as after you’ve hit the top of the Queensboro Bridge. With this in mind the strategy is to aim for a faster average mile pace over the last 9.7 Miles, than the first 15.5 Miles.
Execute the negative split
Even harder than planning is executing. Remember to fight back against any and every desire that tells you to go faster those first 8-10 miles. Fight back against thinking that you’re all good skipping a water stop or accelerating recklessly by a group of friends. Keep the goal in mind and conserve your energy for the back half of the race.
Know where your people are
Plan ahead and know where you’re going to see people. Whether it’s your parents, teammates, club or crew members or your friend Jeff who’s still out form the night before, hold those locations in your head and do your best not to give them too much of your energy as you pass by.
Finish like a champion
You’ve put a lot into this training cycle, regardless of the time on the clock or how it went, try not to lose sight of the accomplishment it is to sign up, plan, prepare, train, sacrifice, line up and run a marathon. The life changing nature of marathoning is not limited to the “success” or “failure” on race day. As you turn back into the park for the final .2 take stock of how far you’ve come and soak in each step.