Pre Race Prep

  • Gear – Set out your clothes, race number, nutrition, shoes, water, and prep breakfast the afternoon before the race. You are more likely to forget something or feel rushed if you do it the morning of your race

  • Sleep – We all know it’s Halloween the night before the marathon, but try not to get too spooky Saturday night. Halloween happens every year, and an opportunity to run the NYC marathon doesn’t. Two nights before the day of your race is the most important night of rest. If you can’t get a full night of sleep the night before because of nerves or excitement don’t worry too much. It shouldn’t really hurt your performance. Read more on “Why You Shouldn’t Freak Out About Bad Pre-Race Sleep” on Runner’s World.

When to Eat

  • Pre-Race – Carb load steadily over the days before the race with familiar foods. Eat your biggest meal for lunch the day before to allow for plenty of digestion before sleeping.

  • Race-Day – Whether or not you know it, you’ve been practicing this one for weeks. Stick with what you know works, and eat your planned food only. Beware of the ‘free’ food in the start village.

Packet pick-up
Be sure to pick up your race bib and bag full o’ goodies at the packet pick-up, which takes place at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, Hall 3B, Eleventh Avenue at West 36th Street (Map) at the dates and times in the table below.

Date: Thursday, Oct. 29

Hours: 10 AM – 8 PM

Last Time for Number Pickup: 7 PM

Date: Friday, Oct. 30

Hours: 10 AM – 8 PM

Last Time for Number Pickup: 7 PM

Date: Saturday, Oct. 31

Hours: 9 AM – 5 PM

Last Time for Number Pickup: 5 PM

For more information visit the TCS NYC Marathon Race Week Expo page.

As of right now it looks like it will be a pretty warm day in the mid 60’s, but make sure you check on the weather closer to race day.

  • Rain Gear – The forecast also mentions only a 10% chance of rain. Again, check the weather closer to race day. In any case, you should always prepare for rain. That way, if it rains on race day, you won’t panic. Make sure you have a poncho, or alternatively a large garbage bag, in which to warm-up. That way, you’ll stay dry throughout your warm up, and get wet only when necessary, while racing. It will also help to have some paper towels and/or newspaper to stuff into your running shoes after the race. Note: make sure you race in your designated race shoes. Also pack a towel.


Check (and double-check) your transport arrangements. Traffic will be heavy.


The NYC Marathon pre-start has 3 ‘stages’.

  • Stage 1 is the start village/staging area. There you will find plenty of port-a-potties, lots of free food, and you’ll have space to move around.

  • Stage 2 is the start corral. You will have a set time to be in the corral before your start, so you need to have your bag checked well in advance. There are also port-a-potties in the corrals.

  • Stage 3 is the start line. You will spend 10+ minutes here, so keep your cover (if cold) and sip water if needed until just before you start.

Warming Up

Because of the coral system, you won’t have much room to warm up. As you move to the start line, if you find space to warm up, you may also find yourself at the back of your wave. Plan in advance how much warm-up you need and how you can achieve it in limited space.


The bridges during the marathon can be awesome. Use the quiet to check on your strategy and form. Look around and enjoy the views. Each bridge represents a checkpoint, and an opportunity to focus on your strategy for the next segment. Check on your nutrition to make sure you feel energized.

Specific bridge focus points:

  • Verrazano – Calm your excitement, remember to run steady, be patient with the crowd.
  • Pulaski (entering Queens) – You’re halfway done here, so think about your strategy for the second half.
  • Queensboro Bridge – Run smart on the incline, enjoy the view.
  • Entering the Bronx – You’ve knocked out 20 miles down. Maintain a positive mindset.
  • Entering Manhattan – Let the energy and excitement of the crowd bring you home.

GPS Watches

Your GPS may lose satellites on the lower deck of Verrazano, on 59th St. bridge and in the crowds on 1st & 5th. Have a backup plan to use the mile markers with your ‘total time’ screen.

Passing Runners
Be patient as you move past slower runners. Running side-to-side wastes energy.

Aid Stations
If you hold out until the last third of the aid stations, you will find that your transitions will be much smoother in and out of them. Safety, of course, come first though, so if you feel you need to stop, do so.

Essential Items

  • Running socks – You may have already picked up some of these socks at your local running store. If you haven’t it helps to have them as they prevent blisters, and offer more comfort overall.

  • Anti-chafing lubricant – Even if you’ve never used it before, we recommend it. Chafing is real, and you don’t want race day to be the first time it happens to you. You should apply it in between your thighs, perhaps under your arms, or anywhere that you may have chafed before. We recommend Body Glide, but others should work just as well.

Somewhere to store your belongings.

If you decide to check a bag according to the TCS Post Finish Page “you’ll retrieve your Official UPS Bag at your designated UPS truck in Central Park. Trucks will be identified by bib range. After you retrieve your bag, you’ll exit Central Park at 81st Street or 85th Street; you’ll reach these exits up to 60 minutes after you cross the finish line. Family and friends will not be able to meet you at these exits.”

As you can see, it’s a bit complicated to retrieve your bag. So be sure to carefully follow directions on the TCS Post Finish Page.

Note: All baggage unclaimed by 6:00 p.m. will be moved to the West Drive and 72nd Street Cross Drive in Central Park and will be available until 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 1. After 7:00 PM, all unclaimed bags will be available on Monday, November 2, from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the finish line.


Your body is capable of going 50% longer than your longest run. If you can do 2.5 miles or more, you are capable of running a 5 miles! (USA Track and Field Guidebook). Think positively about your race. Negative thoughts cause stress which wastes energy that you need for race day.


Don’t forget to take in the energy and have fun!

Are you ready for the NYC Marathon? As the NYC Marathon approaches, make sure you’ve planned your race day strategy!


Coach Jose Miranda

Coach Jose Miranda is a USA Track and Field Level 1 certified coach. Since the age of 12 he has ran at a competitive level in events ranging from the 200 meters to 8000 meters.

He cofounded Educated Running with the intention of helping runners reach their full potential, and learn about their sport.

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