Pro Tips For First-Time NYC Marathoners

New to the New York City Marathon route? Pro marathoners Des Linden, Mary Keitany and Allie Kieffer have some tips for you.

Pro Tips For The NYC Marathon

There’s a reason so many professional runners turn out for the New York City Marathon every year: It’s a fun course with tons of crowd support, but it has its tricky moments, too. Before the time comes to line up at the start on November 4, read through these tips from NYC Marathon pros Mary Keitany, Desiree Linden and Allie Kieffer—all of whom will be competing this year.

Photo courtesy of New York Road Runners.

“It’s not an easy course. Fifth Avenue is very long and kind of a hill—when you pass that, you are okay. You have to be ready and have to believe in yourself.” —three-time NYC Marathon champion Mary Keitany

Photo provided by Brooks Running.

“If you have a time goal, it’s definitely a course where you have to be super patient. You start the race on a big uphill, so you look at your watch and feel like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m already behind.’ My advice is, don’t even tune in until you’re about 5K into the race. That’s when things kind of settle and you can dial into your race pace. There are really great ways to break up the race. As you go through each borough and each neighborhood, you feel this shift in where you’re at. It’s a great way to break it up, like, ‘Once I get over the next bridge, I can start thinking about my next set of goals.’ There are the five boroughs, which makes it easy to put that into place.” —2018 Boston Marathon champion Desiree Linden

Photo provided by Oiselle.

“You have to be patient. The crowds in New York City are pretty amazing, and they can make you run a bit faster than you want to go in the beginning. Everyone talks about First Avenue; you go over the bridge, it’s really quiet and then you come into this huge mob of people that are screaming for you. It’s so exciting. But Brooklyn is really underrated and quite wonderful when you’re racing. The streets are lined with people. It’s really easy to get ahead of yourself. Since the course is harder in the second half in New York, if you don’t go out conservatively you can pay for it big time at the end. There’s no banking time in a marathon—especially not at a course like New York. My advice is to go out conservatively.” —2017 NYC Marathon fifth-place finisher Allie Kieffer