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October 27th, 2016

Race IQ Recap: Tips to Tackling NYC

We had an incredible discussion at the Race IQ: New York City Marathon edition. A HUGE thank you to the panel — John Honerkamp, Mike Cassidy and Jessie Zapo (see some articles on these fine folks below) — and hosts at Finish Line PT and Tailwind Endurance (see some special offers from them below).

The experience and insights can be wrapped up in one phrase: “Race Day is the celebration of your incredible accomplishments to date — the hard work, the long miles and the great fitness you have gained over the months of training.”

Congratulations! Now let’s get out there and celebrate on November 6th. (P.S. Look for Mike and John out on the course on race day!)

The Highlights: In Race-Day Chronological Order (sort of)

1. The Week Before: Trust Your Training and Trust Yourself

  • Don’t try to “cap off your fitness” with a hard run or extra crosstraining. It’s over, you’re as fit as you are going to be, so ease in and get to the start line fresh.
  • Eat what you normally eat (unless you normally eat 2 pizzas and 3 beers for every meal). Your body knows your routine, so try to stick with what you know.
  • Make a plan and write it down. Being on a schedule for everything from the expo to your meals to what you’re doing with your cheer squad can help reduce your stress levels on race day.

2. Staten Island: Be Prepared for Anything

  • Go with a friend who has raced before. Staten Island can be cold, overwhelming and confusing for first-time athletes.
  • Bring OLD clothes that can be thrown away, specifically an old pair of shoes to keep your racing kicks fresh and dry. These things all get donated to charity.
  • Garbage bags serve many purposes. Those big black ones are actually pretty effective in blocking the wind.
  • Bring your own roll (of TP). No need to leave anything up to chance!
  • Know your timing. If you are going to be on the Island for a few hours, make sure you have food to fuel you so you are not starving before you hit the start line.

3. Race Start: What Goes Up Must Come Down

  • The Verrazano Narrows Bridge is the steepest hill on the course. Run it like you will any hill on the course (more on that later).
  • Don’t sprint the start and don’t panic if that first mile is “off pace,” then blow your quads out running down the span of the bridge.
  • The fist “real” mile of this race is Mile 3.

4. GPS Watches and Other Technology

  • GPS Watches: switch it to manual lap split and read the mile markers. 50,000 people and 1 million cell phones sending your picture to Instagram and Facebook can wreak havoc on the signal.
  • Headphones: if you absolutely must have Lady Gaga in your ear, put her in one ear. Leave the other one free to take in the spectacle and hear your name called as you run the 5 Boroughs!

5. Pacing: Your Pace is the Right Pace

  • Trust yourself to “feel” the race and don’t be OCD about the numbers on your watch. If you want to break 4 hours, every mile will not be a 9:09 split. Remember that “what goes up must come down.”
  • A conservative start will lead to a strong finish!
  • Pacers work — but pacers are not perfect.
  • Weather can affect your desired pace. In the wind, tuck in behind a group or behind another runner to shield yourself from the wind; it works for cyclists, and it can work for you.

6. The Wall: And If Your Pace Was Not the Right Pace…

  • Find a friend on the course and work together.
  • Recognize that the pain in your legs is right, but the voice in your head may be wrong. If you are losing mental momentum, then you need to check your fueling, get something in your belly and give yourself 10 minutes to come back around.
  • Mantras are powerful. 1,2,3,4 is the easiest, but maybe you’ve got another reason for running. Repeat your power phrase for 5 minutes and think of nothing else — your legs know what to do!

7. The Hills are Alive and Full of People!

  • Hills are your friends. They change your pace and vary the distribution of effort, so ease up and look forward to the break.
  • Mile 23 is the hardest hill on the course — and luckily, it’s only 3 miles from the finish line! Use the crowd support to get you up 5th Ave and let it carry you to the finish.
  • Energize yourself for the hills. A well-placed gel about 15 minutes before the hills can give you a mental and physical boost as you enter into the challenge.

8. The Finish Line: Where All of the Pain Goes Away (kind of)

  • Be proud of the courage you had to sign up for this race, the discipline and hard work you put into the training and the accomplishments that await you after the finish line!


Tailwind Endurance is your first stop for your next goal!
Tailwind Endurance is the leading Endurance Sports Coaching and Training Facility in NYC. Offering indoor riding, clinics and camps for athletes of every level. Keep an eye out for our March Swim Camp early registration, our cycling skills clinics and our indoor riding throughout the winter. Check out our website or just email ( if you have any questions about your next adventure.

Finish Line PT is here to help you get across that finish line at the NYC Marathon!

  • Cheer Zone: look for our crew at 105th & 5th Avenue (runner’s left), just before the mile 23 marker. You know you’ll need a pick-me-up at that point!
  • Recovery: we’ve got you covered with all things recovery to help you bounce back after the race. Read more about the recovery services we offer, and give us a call at (212) 486-8573 to schedule.
  • Free Gait & Movement Analysis: understand your movement patterns to avoid injury and improve performance. If you are new to Finish Line PT, give us a call after the marathon to schedule (there’s not much that’s worth adjusting now, so it’s best to wait until after).

Sweat Test at the NYC Marathon Expo
ELEVATE Performance Services will be offering Sweat Tests at the NYC Marathon Expo. No exercise is necessary for this test, so it won’t impact your marathon performance! Why get a Sweat Test? Advanced sweat testing is a non-invasive, no-exercise test to determine the sodium concentration of your sweat, which is genetically determined and won’t change during your lifetime. It’s a crucial piece of the puzzle in putting together your appropriate hydration strategy for training, racing, and recovery. Sodium concentrations in individuals can vary from 200mg/liter of sweat to 2200mg/liter of sweat, so finding where you lie within this spectrum can greatly improve the effectiveness of your strategy.

Read More About the Panelists

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