NYC Half Course Strategy 2019

NYC Half Course Strategy 2019

Let’s get the NYC Half Course Strategy 2019 straight today. With the new course of the NYC Half Marathon in 2018 there comes a new strategy for the race. If you’re not familiar with the new course yet please read the article about the NYC Half 2019 course before you continue reading this article.

I was able to attend the NYRR event on tonight where coach Stuart Calderwood was explaining how to tackle the new course. Here is what I have learned: 

NYC Half Course Strategy 2019 and why it’s so tricky

Everybody who ran the NYC Half Marathon before they changed the course was able to enjoy a challenging start in Central Park with a downhill 6-miles run to the finish line. Now runners are facing the opposite. The first 2 miles of the race are downhill. This can be tricky for some of us and here is why:

How are you going to pace yourself keeping in mind the golden rule of every race of “not going out too fast” when the first 2 miles of the race are a complete downhill? How do you get the endorphins and your adrenaline under control? One main part of the NYC Half course strategy 2019 is to go by effort in the beginning of the race and totally focus on yourself.

Focussing on effort not pace is key

NYC Half course strategy 2019: Pretend that you’re NOT running a race and focus on your effort in the beginning of the race. Shut down your emotions. Don’t pay attention on what everybody else is doing. Let all the others who want to run ahead of you, get ahead of you. They are either the faster runner, or making a big mistake. Either way you don’t want to run with them, right? While running downhill to the water where you will enter the Manhattan Bridge it is okay to run approximately 20 sec faster than your regular half marathon pace. Effort should be 7/10. 

Race mode ready on Times Square

The Manhattan Bridge will be the first out of 5 hills of the race and it is also the hardest one. Another nice decent is following before entering the FDR Drive. This part of the race is mostly flat which is why you should start zoning into your half marathon pace right here. My NYC Half course strategy 2019 tip: Make sure to not race the first half of the NYC Half even though it is so tempting to do so. Wait for it and save the energy. You will need it.

Once you make your turn on Times Square (which you will run the opposite way this time compared to the years before) it is finally time to set your body into race mode. Running Times Square is one of the most exciting parts of the NYC Half. Keep in mind that it is a climb though which is why you might be running a bit slower. Take the energy in and enjoy the crowds. It will help you to run uphill. 

The rolling hills of Central Park

With Central Park ahead of you get mentally  prepared for the rolling hills of the cities most famous park. Cat Hill (Distance: 0.25 mi, Rise: 49 feet, Average Grade: 3.7%) the hardest one will be first, Harlem Hill luckily won’t be part of the race and the 3 sisters (3 rolling hills back to back) on the west side of the park are the last 3 hills of the NYC Half Marathon 2018. If you can practice these hills – this will be super beneficial on race day obviously. 

By that time of the race you will be running a 9/10 effort. Put all your heart in these 3 rolling hills and get excited for the downhill to the finish. If there is still energy left go all out. The new course of the NYC Half 2019 is definitely tricky. Keep these tips in mind and you will be able to tackle it just fine. Coach Stuart called the course “moderate”, but nobody ever ran it before. We will all be the first runners finishing the new course which is super exciting to me. I will write a review afterwards and will share my experience about the race here on this blog. 

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  1. Hi Sabrina,

    I’m planning to run the NY Marathon next year and I just wanted to thank you for this blog, I like coming here from time to time and getting myself prepared 🙂



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