Recent News and Events

Mary Arnold | Michael Conlon | April Cargill | Nicci Schock

Posted in Blog.

October 22nd, 2019

FLPT Course Strategy Session RECAP | NYC Marathon 2019

FLPT held our annual Course Strategy Session covering the NYC Marathon with panelists, (who collectively have run 127marathons!):


  • Mary Arnold – marathon & ultra runner, owner of Active Brand Consulting
  • Michael Conlon – owner of FLPT & Head Coach for Team for Kids
  • Nicci Shock – sports nutritionist & owner of ELEVATE Performance Services
  • April Cargill – running culture expert, Harlem Run, PS You Got This

R E C A P    V I D E O 


Below is a recap of some key spots in the course our panel highlighted. We went borough-by-borough, taking a few questions from runners along the way:



R A C E     M O R N I N G

  • take the ferry & bus you were assigned to, you do not want to chance rushing it last minute (lots of road closures, don’t bank on Uber or taxi)
  • nutrition: Have a plan.
    • Start the day with a regular, practiced, LARGE breakfast – what you normally eat + a little extra
    • bring a second smaller breakfast/large snack 2 hours before you start the race
  • Wear a lot of throw away clothes! It is always cold – wear layers & even bring blankets (April wears a big fuzzy robe)
    • all discarded clothing gets donated**
    • try to discard clothing off to the side as to not impede others running


S T A T E N   I S L A N D  +  S T A R T

  • 2 Miles + the highest elevation of the course at Mile 1
    • Verrazano Bridge: ok to be 30-40 seconds slower than your race pace
  • pacing: you will
    • going out too fast is a BIG MISTAKE
    • “not the day to PR in the half-marathon”
  • Crowded! Don’t weave in and out of people – huge energy waster & potential for injury. Also avoid taking selfies on the bridge (if you must, get over to the side!!)
  • nutrition: how fast you go will impact how quickly you use up your carbohydrate storage
    • to preserve your nutritional energy – you need to hold back on speed, this will pay off later in the race!
  • It would be wise to avoid the hot chocolate and free food at the start as to not upset your stomach.
  • portajohns – in the corrals! Get into the line right away – when you get out, get right back in line again. Bring toilet paper, hand sanitizer, etc
    • “pro tip for ladies: find the line that is mostly men and aim for it”
  • Garmin: will be going all wonky – manually split your watches!




  • nutrition: between 100-200 calories should serve most well
    • Between Mile 6 & Mile 8 is a good distance to feed for the first time
      • Listen to your body. If you don’t want to eat at 6 ok to hold till 8, but ABSOLUTELY consume something by Mile 8 (end barrier)
    • Think about CALORIES & HYDRATION (water + sodium)
      • generally, you should not use one thing to get both these needs met
      • calories (fuel) – gels, etc
      • hydration – liquid with sodium in it
  • Brooklyn offers a lot of energy! Be cognizant of the energy output in giving high fives, make sure you are conserving (but of course still enjoying).
    • don’t let the energy speed you up past your pacing plan
  • Brooklyn is not flat 🙂
    • gradual 1-2% inclines (4th ave)
    • be consistent up and down these hills, same effort level
    • be the person who gets passed on the uphills & passes on the downhills
  • note how you are feeling – MAKE THESE ADJUSTMENTS EARLY
    • slow down if you need it
    • switch sides of the road if one side of your body is hurting/aching
  • spectators – pick spots for your spectators (exact locations so you don’t waste energy searching) and you need to find them as its hard for them to find you!
  • Mile 8 (by BAM): this is where the 3 separate starts of the marathon come together
    • gets thick but will thin out about a half-mile down
    • expect Garmin to get wonky again, it will sync back up
  • Mile 7 – Mile 9: try to run in the center of the road, this area there tends to be a lot of kids running into the street playing/etc. Just be mindful!


Q U E E N S  +  M A N H A T T A N

  • 2.5 Miles
  • Queensborough Bridge
    • enter at Mile 15 – on this for just under a mile (.8-ish) UPHILL
    • give up 60-90 seconds and SLOW DOWN
    • Don’t look at your watch. Split your watch at Mile 16 but don’t look at your watch. If you have hit your pacing you went too fast.
    • be easy on the downhill
  • nutrition: take your fuel before you hit the bridge!
    • between Mile 13 – Mile 15 take in your nutrition otherwise you can easily get distracted once you get over the bridge into Manhattan
  • 1st Avenue is a long stretch. This is where it can get mentally tough, be mindful.
    • good to have family and friends farther down (not right off bridge because so many people are already there – farther down where its quiet)
  • This is where you will start to feel it if you went out too fast
    • now take it mile-by-mile (not by blocks)
  • pacing: depending on your plan you hit it at Mile 18 or Mile 20
  • nutrition: take a salt tab & bite into it – let it go onto your tongue
    • taste salty: you need sodium
    • tastes nitter: spit it out, you are hydrating well
    • when you take in sodium – take in liquid with it
    • gels usually do not contain enough sodium



T H E    B R O N X

  • Mile 20 – Willis Avenue Bridge
  • Fun Fact: Housing projects on the left is the birthplace of Hip Hop
  • P. Diddy is not responsible for  🙂
  • Madison Ave Bridge (overpass, nothing to be fearful of)
  • pacing: start running by feel
    • if you feel good and are going faster than your race pace, go with it!
  • nutrition:
    • “help feel-good chemicals flood your brain”- has a positive effect on your whole system
    • Mile 20 or Mile 21 –> “Bronx Treat” candy, etc



M A N H A T T A N   +   T H E   W A L L

  • There is a little voice in your head that’s going to tell you walk. Whether you break 3 hours or run sexy pace, be ready for it. Be ready to push through it. Slow down, yes – try not to walk if you can. Mental strength.
  • Challenge the term “the wall” you can get over it, don’t let it drag you down
  • Be proactive during these low points (they will happen)
    • do something about it!
      • e.g. your energy levels are low – what can you do for nutrition? try 20-30 second pickups
    • have a plan to fight off the negative – do not let it keep you down
  • Around Mile 20-Mile 21 – 5+ hours can start to feel heavy & stomach doesn’t want to take in nutrition/hydration
    • nutrition: you may not want to take in fuel because of hydration issues
      • for 5+ hour folks, don’t start your fueling with gels (fast-digesting sugars), try a whole food or something less heavy (fruit, fig newton, baby food, UCAN, etc). Starting with gels can leave upset stomach/feeling not so good.
    • Right before Mile 23! – runners left!



T H E    F I N I S H

  • 5th Avenue (110th & 90th) = 2% incline to Mile 23 & Mile 24 is going to hurt.
    • respect the long climb
    • if you ran it on a training run it may seem ok, be prepared for the challenge it will bring after 21+ miles
    • be proud of yourself here 🙂
  • Right-hand turn with Columbus Circle in the distance – yes it looks far away, divert your attention to the crowds
  • pacing: last 5K, give what you can yes, but make sure you are feeling good, this is the final 3 miles of your journey
    • Right before Mile 23! – runners left!
  • nutrition:
    • last 10K = buffet time 🙂 Take what you need off of the free food tables, anything that you need to get you to the end of this race
    • post-race: IMPORTANT you must take food in to allow you to recover. Even if you feel like you absolutely can’t, force yourself. Maybe have something in your checked bag that you know you will want to eat
      • for Michael Conlon: Meatball hero + a Blood Mary 😮
  • Make a plan for where you will meet people post-race –> have a “catcher” ready to meet you at an exact location (restaurant…bar) EXACT location, do not hope you can find cab or get an Uber, have someone ready to help you and take you where you need to go.



K E Y   T I P S

  • and we cannot stress this enough: GO OUT SLOW
  • If it’s your first marathon – you are going to PR! So work on running smart, and taking in the whole experience vs getting over
  • Put your name on your shirt! Let the crowds help you along the way!
  • WALKING: Tricky. For some, walking is the end of the mental battle. If you have practiced this and have a run/walk strategy great, otherwise be wary and if mental, try to overcome it.
  • There will be MANY portajohns in the corrals and about every mile along the course 🙂 Empty as needed. On both sides of the road, pro-tip: go left (most people go right because they are right-handed)
  • nutrition:
    • for 5+ hour folks, don’t start your fueling with gels (fast-digesting sugars), try a whole food or something less heavy (fruit, fig newton, baby food, UCAN, etc). Starting with gels can leave upset stomach/feeling not so good.
    • What were you craving after your long runs? Salt? Note what your body’s needs are after long runs – this will likely happen on race day. Make an adjustment to include this in your nutrition/hydration plan on race day.
    • Cramps: try to stay on top of sodium intake
      • If you do cramp (not to be used preventatively): HotShot
  • pacing: start first 10 Miles with a 10-second window on either side.
    • e.g. if race pace is 9:00mm ok to go 8:50mm or 9:10mm
      • with the knowledge, bridges will be SLOWER (its okay)
    • Mile 11 –  Mile 20- hit your pace (9:00mm)
    • Mile 20: at pace or faster (9:00mm or faster)
  • “Training is hard, you made it through. Race day is your party, enjoy your party.”
Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.
Subscribe to our newsletter: