The Brooklyn Half Marathon takes you from Eastern Parkway to the finish line on the boardwalk at Coney Island. It’s an iconic 13.1-mile journey through the amazing borough of Brooklyn. The Popular Brooklyn Half is a fun race and a good one to pr since it’s just a bit hilly in the beginning and then entirely flat for the rest of the race. A smart Brooklyn Half race strategy will help you to finish your half marathon strong and hopefully in a much faster time than expected.
Brooklyn Half Race Strategy
It’s good to know that the Popular Brooklyn Half is very similar to the NYC Half, but faster. You don’t have to run as many hills, there is literally no wind in the second part of the race and your last mile will be much faster because you won’t have to finish in Central Park.
The weather is much nicer as well. If you’re lucky we will be in the lower 60’s which is perfect for a race like that. Also be prepared for crowds in the beginning of the race. The Brooklyn Half is a big race with almost 25.000 runners who will all follow their own Brooklyn Half race strategy. If you haven’t found yours yet, let me share my tricks, tips, and advice on the Brooklyn Half:
The first part of the race: Race Strategy
The race starts with awesome sights of the Brooklyn Museum and an easy downhill for the first half mile following by another half mile which takes you uphill towards the Grand Army Plaza, then up and down again. Nothing crazy. The second mile is so much fun because you are running a turnaround. Inhale the energy of the other runners you’re facing and exhale your fears. You can do this. The crowds in Brooklyn are intense.
I always recommend to turn your headphones off once in a while and just listen to them. Have your own party on the road – Brooklyn is awesome. You might need that extra boost when you hit mile 4.5 and the long (yes it’s a super long) hill in Prospect Park. A beautiful park by the way but the hill is no joke. For those of you who know the Harlem Hill in Central Park, that one might be his twin in Prospect Park. After the intense hill, you’re good to go and nothing can stop you. Remember everything from here is downhill or flat. Make sure to pace yourself within that first part of the race. Don’t go all out. Save that energy for later when you’re running on entirely flat terrain.
Brooklyn Half Race Strategy: The second part
Leaving mile 6 behind that’s when your “race” should actually start. You have so much room and time to play with. If you’re following my advice and you’re running the first part carefully and a bit slower, the second part is when you are going to fuel the fire. Once you leave the park around mile 7, you will be on the Ocean Parkway literally until you reach the finish line. This is also where your mind should work hand in hand with your body.
Don’t forget that there is a little ramp right before the Ocean Parkway. After that, you’re really done with the hills.
Running straight long can be super boring. I felt so pumped leaving the park and the crowds in Brooklyn but then I had to run this super long stretch towards Coney Island. Tough one, that’s for sure. A plus though is the space you’re having on the road. If you can, go/run crazy.
If you want to, zone out, go all in and run your personal best. The avenues are lettered and you could count them down if you want to. That totally depends on your type – I did it last year and it freaked me out. The second part of the race is super quiet – the crowds are far less packed than in the park and there are tons of dead zones. My tip: If it’s sunny out try to run as much in the shade as you possibly can (Left side of the parkway).
Finally like half a mile before the finish you make a right and another left and there you are: Hello Coney Island! Turn your headphones off again – breathe in the smell of the ocean and feel like a champion, because you made it. Enjoy the last 200 meters on the boardwalk straight to the finish line. Oh and, boardwalk running can be a little bit tricky so please watch your step and pick your feet up a bit more than usual.
Check out the Brooklyn Half course map and have an amazing race! If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments.