49th New York Marathon – 3rd November 2019

There are many runners who run the NY marathon without having chronometric ambitions, but there are also many who, instead, want to take the opportunity of participating in this race with the aim of improving their primacy. However, the NY marathon route is not the easiest because, following the bridges along the route and the ascents of 1st Avenue and Central Park, the vertical height difference to be overcome is 253 meters, and the time that is lost during the uphill race, unfortunately it does not recover in the subsequent descent. So, in light of this situation, those who run the NY marathon must consider losing around 60-90 “compared to a flat route. But running the NY marathon also has its advantages, and the main one is the one resulting from the fact to be encouraged to do more thanks to the public’s incitement and the atmosphere you live in. As for the route, it can basically be divided into two parts: the first from the start to the start of the Queensborough Bridge (the bridge which connects the Queen’s neighborhood to Manhattan), and the second that starts right at the foot of the bridge’s climb up to the finish line, the first part being certainly the smoothest because, with the exception of the Verrazzano bridge, there are no other points challenging.In the second part instead you must first overcome the climb of the Queensborough Bridge, then the ups and downs of 1st Avenue and finally the fearsome climbs of Central Park.

The start and the Verrazzano bridge: from 0 to 3 km

The start is practically uphill, and you have to travel about 1 mile (1609 meters) to reach the top of the Verrazzano bridge; it is therefore necessary to consider losing around 15 “in the first kilometer but they are practically recovered in the descent that leads to the beginning of the Brooklyn district. Probably in the first 3km you risk losing even more time if you start trapped among the many participants. If you you find yourself in this situation you don’t have to worry over so and you don’t even have to think about having to recover this lost time from the first kilometers .. Surely in the descent of the Verrazzano bridge you can already regain a few seconds, but you don’t have to force too much the rhythm to avoid burning too many energies, which will certainly be precious in the final kilometers. I suggest instead that you distribute the effort to bring you back to the table at the 15th km, when you will hear the incitement of the public along the streets of Brooklyn, but do not exceed more than 2-3 ” at km the pace you had planned.

Through Brooklyn and the Queen: from 3rd to 24th km

At the NY marathon you don’t find much plain, but this is the smoothest part of the whole track, even if you find yourself facing some little uphill, but no longer than 200 meters. In this long stretch of run characterized by long stretches on a slight slope, you should be able to respect the passage times you had planned. In the middle of the race (at the Pulanski Bridge, just over 50 meters long and which I suggest you pass by running to the left where there is no iron grate), you can usually make a projection of the final time already. But at the NY marathon it is not enough to double the transition time to the half marathon because (with the exception of 2-3 top runners), I noticed that in the second part of the race all the marathon runners take a few tens of seconds more than the passage in the middle of the race. So, for example, if you want to finish the marathon in 3h30 ’, you need to travel halfway through in 1h42’30” -1h43’30 “; however no stronger.

From Queensborough to Central Park: from 24th to 38th km

This is the hardest stretch (6-7 km) of the whole marathon. Manhattan is an Indian word meaning “island of the hills”, and it is precisely from the First Avenue that the conformation of this island is noted. The climb up the Queensborough bridge is about 800 meters long and rises 42 meters above the river level. At this point we cross the East River and often there is a decent wind that blows diagonally with respect to the direction of travel, and this affects both physical performance (especially at a time when people begin to feel the first signs of fatigue muscle), and on morale (the feelings of fatigue are greater). The ascent of the bridge must therefore be faced calmly, and the same must be done in the downhill section, at the end of which there is the greatest concentration of spectators and the encouragement is so strong and warm as to make the adrenaline rise in the body. Then the 1st Avenue begins, a long straight stretch of 5km characterized (for 3km) by continuous ups and downs, although not very demanding but in any case tiring. It is from this moment (30-32km) that the runners’ legs show the first evident signs of fatigue and it is also easy to go into a mental crisis because the road never seems to end. If instead the effort and the energies have been well distributed, from this point on the “corpse collection” begins: by this I mean that it is easy to overcome, with negligible effort, dozens and dozens of runners in crisis for having dared too much in the first part. Overcoming the adversaries makes one feel the “wings on the feet” and it is easy that, taken by this euphoria, a rather sustained rhythm of race and with a reduced physical (and above all mental) effort is kept. When one is committed to overcoming the marathon runners in crisis, one’s attention is shifted to aspects external to one’s body, and this is useful because it helps not to think about one’s own tiredness and leg-ache. At the end of 1st Avenue you cross the Bronx district and the streets of Haarlem where the path is practically flat for 4-5km. From Haarlem continue towards the center of Manhattan to reach Central Park: even this part of the route of about 3 km does not present particular difficulties.

The Central Park: from 38th to 42.195km

Central Park is located in the central part of Manhattan. You enter from 5th Avenue, at 90th Street. In the previous route, the one in force until 2000, we entered Central Park at 103th street with the steepest slope of the track, 250 meters long. Fortunately, in the new route the climb was removed, and now we enter a 500-meter stretch of plain that runs along the Reservoir, after which we climb again for 120 meters (behind the Metropolitan Museum). Then, for 250 meters descend (Cat Hill), even with a steep slope, just to catch your breath before making a slight climb of about 200 meters which leads to the 40th km. A little further on you go down for about 400 meters, and exit Central Park at the Hotel Plaza. At the finish line, there is now less than a mile, but you have to travel 800 meters on slight slight slopes before turning right and returning to Central Park. From here there are 500 meters, of which the last 100 are slightly uphill, but they are the ones where the finish is placed. Just reading these lines contributes to causing sore legs, but the worst is living in the race, especially for those who come to Central Park already very tired. This final stretch of the marathon is a crucial point regarding performance. It is difficult to maintain a regular and constant gait, and therefore I suggest you take advantage of the descents to relax physically (loosen your arms along your body) and mentally before tackling the next climb. This is the only way to cope with the greater energy expenditure caused by the numerous climbs, and which is certainly aggravated by the fact that in the final run, following the general fatigue, the biomechanical action is less efficient and poorer.

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