Are you running the New York City Marathon 2020 and are wondering about the NYC Marathon route and the perfect New York City Marathon course strategy? The TCS New York City Marathon is one of the greatest in the world. Not only because of the crowds but also because it’s the scenic course you will probably never forget.
The New York City Marathon course is challenging because of it’s hills and bridges. So as a general NYC Marathon tip, make sure to tackle them wisely by conserving energy. It’s okay to run the hills slower. Run the hills with effort rather than keeping your regular pace. But now: let’s talk about course strategy!
Where does the NYC Marathon start and finish?
The NYC Marathon route starts in Staten Island while the NYC Marathon course takes runners across the Verrazano Bridge to finish in Central Park in Manhattan.
NYC Marathon route map
The NYC Marathon route is challenging and has an elevation that you should not underestimate. The NYC Marathon 2020 course difficulty is definitely moderate. If you’re not used to running hills or bridges the NYC Marathon route will be even more challenging for you.
Here is an overview from the NYC Marathon start in Staten Island to the NYC Marathon finish line in Central Park.
New York City Marathon 2020 Course Strategy
No matter how much time is left until the TCS NYC Marathon it’s never too early to learn about the New York City Marathon 2020 course: After running the race in 2017, 2018 and 2019 I thought it makes sense to divide the TCS New York City Marathon into 4 parts. Let’s go over every single one of them in detail.
New York City Marathon 2020 Course: Part one
Welcome to Staten Island. After hours of waiting at the start and the race finally starts the Verrazano Bridge will be the first bite you have to chew. I will never forget this feeling, standing at the start waiting for the gunshot of this mayor marathon.
Mile 1-2 will take you up a giant hill and it’s actually also the highest incline you’ll have to run during the marathon. Good thing is that you won’t really feel it. The excitement is too big and the crowds will make you fly over the bridge. The New York City Marathon is famous first by its people (the crowds of support), its hills and the bridges. Now it is time to focus, relax and inhale the energy you are surrounded by.
Relax, focus on your breath, and be patient as it will take some time to get moving in the crowds. People stop to take pictures, film or cry. I saw it all. You’ll hit the highest point on the course about .8 mile in and will be able to enjoy the most spectacular view of the New York Harbor, city skyline (Statue of Liberty) and the other runners who have the same goal: Crossing that finish line in Central Park.
Part two of the NYC Marathon route
Part two of the New York City Marathon 2020 course will take you to Brooklyn and Queens [Miles 3-15]. My advice is to pace yourself from within rather than follow your predetermined pace. Don’t let the crazy crowds in Brooklyn get to you (yet). Run your best effort but don’t go out too fast. You will need the energy later in the race once you crossed mile 20. The key to run a great race in New York is to finish strong in Central Park and wait for it. Make your way through Brooklyn at the moderate effort and don’t let the crowds push you too much. Brooklyn especially is a huge block party, which feels amazing to see, make sure to soak it all in and save that for times when you’ll need it.
A very common error while running the New York City Marathon course is to waste your energy too early in Brooklyn and Queens. Tell yourself: “Save it. Save it.” Focus on your body and not too much on the crowds. Run at conversational effort until you reach the Queensboro Bridge. Don’t panic – if you paced yourself correctly this bridge won’t break you.
New York City Marathon 2020 Course: Part 3
First Avenue. Right after the Queensboro Bridge. Welcome to the third part [Miles 16-20]. Take your headphones off if you are listening to music during the race and enjoy the crowds. Dial things up a little more, but still, run just right moderate. You will feel amazing and the support will come right on time because your legs might feel a little tight already. The TCS New York City Marathon is almost done.
Mile 16 to 19.5 is a straight stretch on First Avenue and it’s the perfect time to speed up a bit, still keeping in mind that this still isn’t the time to push hard. The New York City Marathon course is tough. Still, try to save the energy for the final stretch.
Bronx – Central Park: Almost there
The last part will be the final 10K with one last bridge (Madison Ave) and now it is the time to activate the mental game, keep telling yourself your mantras and remind yourself why you are running the TCS NYC Marathon. There is one gradual hill down Fifth Avenue where you will need your last energy and where the “save it” mantra comes in.
If you pace yourself correctly in the marathon this will be the time where it really pays off. Due to the incline, you might slow down a bit. Focus on your breath and effort level. I remember feeling great here. I received text messages from my family and friends that I was able to read on my apple watch that said: “Almost in the park, you got this”.
When things are feeling not so well: How about dedicating the last miles to everyone that has supported you on your way to the New York City Marathon 2018. Run a mile for your parents, one for your best friend, one for your siblings, your spouse – Keep them in mind and stay positive. It helps so much.
With these positive thoughts, you will reach the final 3 miles and some rolling hills in Central Park. If you’re a local, I hope you have embraced the inclines during your training and are now ready for it.
Keep your mind engaged and stay motivated by tackling the hills, run with good posture, head up, smile, and last but not least catch the runners ahead of you. Remember that you saved your energy for that? Now it’s time to let the lion out of the cage. It will feel amazing when you pass them.
When you see the mile 25 sign get ready for the final two right turns and run to the finish. I remember feeling like Wonder Woman at that time. You made it! You’re almost there. Take it all in because it’s yours. Let the crowds cheer for you. Here is the full map of the New York City Marathon Course 2020
Please also read my TCS NYC Marathon experience from last year.
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