Brooklyn Half Race Strategy

Brooklyn Half Race Strategy

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 there is no tunnel.

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 advices on the Brooklyn Half:

Brooklyn Half Race Strategy

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.

Running straight long can be super boring. Last year that was where I seriously started getting bored. 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’s tons of dead zones.

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.

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NYC Half 2018 review

NYC Half 2018 review

It’s done. Another great half marathon in the books. It definitely was an outstanding one in many ways. Not only because I ran a new personal best of 01:48:30 (old PR was 01:50:51 on the old course) but also because of the circumstances this year. It was a new course – nobody knew what to expect.

Then it was a very cold Sunday morning in the city with the temperature at the start only reaching 29 degrees Fahrenheit. And a record of 21,965 finishers was made this year. But let’s start with the beginning:

NYC Half 2018 review: My day

Starting in wave 1 at 730 AM is a pretty normal time for me. I’m used to waking up early and heading out for a run. What I’m not used to is waiting in the cold for an hour before the race even starts. What comes along with the NYC Half is a long wait at the start line. Obviously with so many runners involved logistics make runners come early and wait patiently. I tend to freeze very fast and even though I was wearing 3 layers of clothes and two hats I was freezing like crazy. At 743 AM I finally started out towards Manhattan Bridge.

I kept reminding myself of my own race strategy to not go out too fast and run by effort not pace on this downhill to the bridge. I was flying and in many ways running in Brooklyn reminded me of the NYC Marathon. Those emotions came back which felt nice. But honestly I felt right away that the cold won’t do any good for me today and it took me until Chinatown to warm up.

The cold, headwinds – what else?

NYC Half 2018 review

Let’s be real: Even though I ran a really good time I wasn’t really able to enjoy the race so much. My body was in pain and headwinds for the majority of the race was a big challenge. But I had the goal to beat my PR today so I pushed through the pain. A friend of mine who is a coach for the NYC Strides told me during training that sometimes running will hurt and you have to learn to run through it. Why did it hurt? I think because of the fact that I got so cold at the start.

My body had no proper time to warm up which is absolutely not okay, but I had no other choice? The skyline views of Brooklyn and Queens, and passing iconic spots like Grand Central Terminal was amazing. Soaking the city vibes in helped to distract me a bit. In situations like that you need a strong mind. Try to distract yourself with anything that comes along. For me deep thoughts always work best. So I got myself into a prep talk and thought about my friends and family who support me so much with everything I do.

I was sticking to the plan of a challenging pace around 08:17 – down to 07:51 in some parts and to save energy for the park in the end. My loved ones were waiting for me on Times Square (watch the video on my Instagram) – an energy boost that I needed on that uphill towards Central Park. I remember thinking that it’s “only” 4 more miles to the finish and the last stretch to the finish will be downhill so “keep pushing”.

The last push in Central Park

Thank god my diet was on point again the days before the race so I never ran out of fuel but I really felt that this race was faster than what I’m used to. I can’t remember Cathill to be honest. Must have been very painful. But since Central Park is my “home” – where I spent most of the times training – the hills are my friends lets say. 

The three sisters on the west side of the park were the last challenge of the race. By that time all I was thinking about was the nice downhill in the end. I got a text from my friend wishing me luck for the race right on the last hill (thanks to apple watch I was able to read it while I was running). Another boost to run faster. My time was decent and I knew if I keep up the pace now there will be a 01:48:00 today. My plan was to push hard on the downhill coming back which I did. Talking to myself towards the end I finished with 01:48:30 which is a great time for me and I’m super proud of it. Because my fastest mile was 07:51 I was even able to move up a corral from E to D. Yay! 

Congrats to all of you who finished this amazing race. The new course is so much more fun than the old one, but also much harder. If you need advice on how to recover from a half marathon please read here. 

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NYC Half Course Strategy 2018

NYC Half Course Strategy 2018

Let’s get the NYC Half Course Strategy 2018 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 2018 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 2018 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 2018 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 2018: 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 2018 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 2018 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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The new course: NYC Half

NYC Half Marathon course

Since yesterday it is official: I will be running the NYC Half 2018. It is my favorite race here in New York and the NYC Half Marathon was completely redesigned for 2018. Take a look at the NYC Half Marathon course with me and find out about the new course for 2018. I have also worked on a course strategy for the NYC Half which you will find in the end of this article.

As most of you may know the old NYC Half Marathon course took runners from Central Park to Wall Street with a pretty hilly start but ending almost downhill for the last 6 miles. Now the NYC Half new course will take runners from Brooklyn to Manhattan. The new NYC Half Marathon course will start along Prospect Park in Brooklyn, head over the Manhattan Bridge, and finish in Central Park. So what do we think about that?

The NYC Half course will make the runners pass the City’s most iconic sights like Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, the United Nations, Grand Central Terminal, Times Square, and Central Park. 

NYC Half Marathon course: The new route 2018

I’m so excited about the NYC Half Marathon 2018 and it’s new course because I love new challenges. I can’t  wait to start training for this famous race in the city. I think that the new course is much harder than the old one. Before, runners started in Central Park with the hills. Running the West Side Highway wasn’t super exciting after that but it was slightly downhill the entire time. With the new course of the NYC Half 2018 runners have to be ready for the hills in the end. Central Park is tough when you are not used to it. Also heading to the start in Brooklyn will be much more of a challenge for me than going to the old one in Central Park. However there is much more to see along the NYC Half course which I think it’s worth the way to Brooklyn.

The new NYC Half Marathon course will make the runners head north on Flatbush Avenue and cross the Manhattan Bridge into lower Manhattan, and pass through the Lower East Side before heading north on the FDR Drive. Around that time, we will see the sunrise with amazing views of Brooklyn and Queens skylines. The halfway point of the NYC Half 2018 will be near East 42nd Street, passing United Nations, famous Grand Central Terminal and Bryant Park.

Runners will make a turn up Seventh Avenue for the highlight of the NYC Half Marathon course: Times Square. Central Park will be entered on Central Park South to run on the East Drive of the Park. Runner will make afinal turn south on West Drive to cross the finish line near 75th Street (yes, the same location as the NYC Marathon finish line). 

NYC Half Course Strategy 2018

The new course of the NYC Half is tricky and considerate as moderate. I was lucky to attend to an event from NYRR where the coaching staff explained tactics for the new course. Here is the course strategy for the NYC Half 2018.

Everyone of you who is running the new NYC Half Marathon course: I wish you the best of luck! I can’t wait to see you all on March 18. Here is more information about the new course and also a map that shows you the exact route. 

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Empire State Building Run-Up

Empire State Building Run-Up

The Empire State Building Run-Up: It’s the most famous tower race in the world. It challenges athletes from all over the globe to run the 1576 stairs (86 flights). This year I was one of them. When I got the email from Turkish Airlines, the sponsor of the race, I thought they were joking. It is so hard to get a ticket for this race and I never even thought about running up the Empire State Building. 

But since I love challenging myself, I confirmed the invitation right away and started training for the race the following day. Right now I’m in the middle of my half marathon training which is why I couldn’t really focus too much on the Empire State Building Run-Up race but there were a few things I insisted on practicing and emphasizing:

How do you train for a tower race?

Right after I replied to the invitation email I googled the question “How do you train for a tower race?” and was surprised that my current training with a well balanced mix of strength training and running was already a perfect preparation for a tower race. Racing a tower race means being able to move your body weight not only vertically but horizontally as well. I switched to more repetitions with less weight for muscular endurance within my leg workouts three times a week. I squatted as usual, did a lot of walking lunges, step-ups, jump squats, wall-sits and worked on my upper body like I always do twice a week. Strengthening your body is key for success during a stair climbing event. 

I also took the stairs whenever I could and became best friends with the stair master at my gym. Luckily it has this fun workout where you can actually set it up to climb the Empire State Building. I did this four times. Additionally I ran up 69 flights in my building once. That was it.

I have to admit that my overall endurance and strength is pretty decent, which is why the race probably went the way it did for me.

Empire State Building Run-Up: A long way to the top?

At first, it sounds pretty intimidating to run up the Empire State Building. However, doing it wasn’t too bad. The crowd was pretty competitive. There were a lot of athletes with disabilities from the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) along with a few very experienced tower racers from all over the world, celebrities, media and influencers. My wave started at 8:10 pm and included 15 other runners who wanted to make it to the top of New York’s most iconic landmark. 

Most of them ran the race before. I had no idea what to expect. 17:36 minutes later it was over already. My legs were fine the entire time – the only thing that made me struggle a bit was the breathing. The secret to breathing while running a tower race is to take as much stairs as you can at the same time. Using the handrails to pull yourself through the race is legal, which is why I did it during 80% of the race.

I left my group behind, caught a few from the wave ahead of me and motivated a suffering runner on flight 84 to keep going. It wasn’t a long way to the top because the time went by so fast, but it sure is the ultimate test of endurance. I placed 51st overall and 15th of all females which was 5th place in my age group which was dominated by the pro athletes. I’m very happy with my results after only 3 weeks of training. 

Empire State Building Run-Up registration

If you’re interested in participating in the Empire State Building Run-Up you can register for the Empire State Building Run-Up lottery in November 2018 on the NYC Runs Website. Only 200 people will be selected to run the race. I really hope that I will be able to run the race again next year. Maybe we will see each other there in 2019!

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My NYC Marathon experience

NYC Marathon experience

4 months of training. Total logged distance (mi): 423.50 (677.60 km). 50,000 runners at the start. 5 boroughs from Staten Island to Manhattan. 10,000 volunteers who pitched in, and the million-plus spectators who cheered from the sidelines. 26.2 miles – a journey I will never forget. A lot of people have warned me that this race, or a marathon in general will change my life. You will find out today, if it did.

While I was training for the NYC Marathon I often got very emotional thinking about finishing this race at the famed finish line in Central Park. I remember thinking about marathoners like they were some kind of crazy people before I started training for it. Why would you want to put yourself into something like this?

NYC Marathon Experience

Today after my first NYC Marathon experience I know that training and running a marathon change you. It brings you closer to yourself, your weaknesses, you learn how to overcome them and most importantly you realize who you really are. Read my experience while running 26.2 miles through New York City. Welcome to my NYC Marathon experience:

Before the race

I took my training very serious. I haven’t missed a day, I followed a strict diet based on my training and I totally sticked to the plan. Standing on the bridge in Staten Island last Sunday made me feel incredible proud. However my eyes were wide open from how scared I was. I had so much respect for what I was about to do, but I knew 100% that I can do it.

With a very decent 20 mile training run 3 weeks before the race I felt more than confident to run the 5 bridges, inhale all the energy from the crowds and I kept thinking about my family and friends who have been the biggest support on my journey to the start in Staten Island of my first marathon.

The elite started a bit earlier than my wave did but then at 1015 AM the race director said: “Wave 2 – on your marks” Boom.

And then it started raining. 

Running The NYC Marathon 2017

NYC Marathon experienceI’ve heard from several people who have ran the race before that it was their most painful experience and that this specific marathon is one of the hardest you can do in the US. While I was running the first mile on the Verrazano Bridge, which is by the way the highest incline of the entire race, I felt everything from joy to pure anxiety.

I remember crying when I saw a woman having her dad’s photo on her shirt: “For you Dad”. The first mile was intense, because I realized that I was actually doing this. Along so many inspiring runners who all have their very personal story that will make this day as special for them as it was for me at that moment

Welcome to Brooklyn /  The Biggest Block Party Ever

Entering Brooklyn after the bridge was like running through one of the biggest open air parties you can possibly imagine. I saw everything from DJ’s to church choirs and people dancing and singing for the runners. I turned my music off. It was so loud that I couldn’t hear it anyways.

I kept my pace steady and easy and told myself to save the energy for the final 6 miles. I was flying. Cruising to the finish. I missed my friends in Long Island City – it was just too crowded so I couldn’t see them. And then there she was: Queensboro Bridge. 

It still felt very easy on my legs and I was kind of laughing about the bad luck we were having with the weather. You couldn’t see the Manhattan Skyline at all. It wasn’t pouring but the rain was absolutely annoying. It didn’t  kill my vibes though – running this race was everything I have worked for the past months – I guess there could have been thunder and lighting it wouldn’t have bothered me.

26.2 smiling miles

The TCS NYC Marathon was literally 26.2 smiling miles for me: I had so much fun running from one big block party to the next. First Avenue after entering Manhattan gave me chills that lasted for miles. It really was a big wall of noise like everyone described before. I kept thinking about how the running community is such a different crowd. People were yelling my name (I had it printed on my shirt) and kept pushing me through. My pace was still very steady and within my pace range. So is this “marathon wall” coming at some point? 

At Mile 19 was were I met my friend. I was still feeling pretty good when she handed over a banana, a big hug and the feeling that she was extremely proud of me. My NYC Marathon experience also has been such a blessing because of my very supportive friends and family. Training for a race like that means a lot of dedication and commitment. If your people don’t understand your lifestyle you will have a problem. Or maybe they do? Who knows.  

NYC Marathon experience: The final 6 miles

The last 6 miles from the Bronx to the finish line was my final push. I never told anyone about my predicted finish time and how I wanted to be able to run faster in the end. I wanted to make it to the finish smiling with my hands up in the air. I’m not sure which crowd was more intense, Brooklyn or Central Park, but the excitement was rising. The wall didn’t hit me, or I didn’t hit the wall. I was so hyped from what  was experiencing right now there was no way something could ruin this for me. My fueling strategy was on point and my energy level was perfectly fine. 

At Mile 25 I told myself that I was almost there and focussed on that I still felt amazing. No pain. No cramps. Nothing. Hard work always pays off. Columbus Circle: I turned my headphones off again, soaking everything in, my NYC Marathon experience was almost over. In my head I was sad – I really wanted to keep going – this was so much fun. Mile 26: I could see the finish. Smell it. Feel it. Wow. I was about to finish the TCS NYC Marathon. 

Crossing the finish at 2:43 PM

Crossing the finish was the most intense feeling ever. I remember thinking “I just ran the NYC Marathon – that wasn’t too bad.” I didn’t cry. I totally expected me to become super emotional, but I wasn’t.  So, does running a marathon change your life? I’m not sure, but it definitively change you as a person. Almost a week after the NYC Marathon the runners high is still there and my NYC Marathon experience leaves me proud, empowered and inspired. I feel so much stronger mentally today after running the marathon.

And for you I hope it’s the inward lesson of courage, resilience and true grit that leave an impression. Thanks for being a part of my journey. So much love to my family in Germany who has watched the entire race on TV and even watched me crossing the finish line. I felt the energy from every single one of you!


NYC Marathon Experience

Side note: I will run NYC again next year. Find out more here

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New York City Marathon Course

New York City Marathon Course

Are you running the New York City Marathon 2017 and are wondering about a 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 of it’s scenic course you will probably never forget.

New York City Marathon Course Strategy

There are 4 more weeks of training for the marathon but it’s never too early to learn about the New York City Marathon 2017 course: Let’s eat the elephant one bite at a time. I divided the TCS New York City Marathon in 4 bites. Let’s go over every single one of them in detail:

New York City Marathon Course: Bite 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. Mile 1-2 will take you up a giant hill. 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. 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.

Bite two of the New York City Marathon Course

Part two of the New York City Marathon 2017 course will be Brooklyn and Queens [Miles 3-15]. My advice is to pace yourself from within rather than follow your predetermined pace. 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 moderate effort and don’t let the crowds push you too much.

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 2017 Course: Bite 3

First Avenue. Right after the Queensboro Bridge. Welcome to bite 3 [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: The home stretch

The last bite 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 pay off. Due to the incline you might slow down a bit. Focus on your breath and effort level.

How about dedicating the last miles to everyone that has supported you on your way to the New York City Marathon 2017. Run a mile for your parents, one for your best friend, one for your siblings, your spouse – Keep them in mind and stay positive.

With these positive thoughts you will reach the final 3 miles and some rolling hills in Central Park. Keep your mind engaged and stay motivated by tackling the hills, run with good posture and last but not least catch the runners ahead of you. 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. 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 2017.

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Race recap: Queens 10K

Queens 10K

Flushing Meadows Corona Park hosted thousands of runners at the NYRR Queens 10K on Saturday, the third race in the NYRR Five-Borough Series. As you might remember the Queens 10K is not my favorite race here in New York City. This year though the Queens 10K wasn’t too bad, it was actually my fastest 10K ever. How that happened? Read my race recap:

Queens 10K: Always humid as hell

As expected the Queens 10K wouldn’t disappoint the 10,874 runners when it came to humidity. Sweet 93% humidity made the race hard as always. This year we got blessed with a cloudy morning though and temperatures in the upper 60’s. Compared to last years heat this was actually pretty amazing.

The Queens 10K’s course is flat as a pancake and normally something where runners should be able to run their personal best. My corral started at 7:55 am super smoothly. With a strong 10K from last weekend in my mind I knew I was very well prepared for this and felt confident. My strategy was to take it easy and run how I feel. Not too focused on my watch the whole time and more go with the flow.

Queens 10K

Reasons for my personal best

Time went by pretty fast and this year it didn’t feel as hard as I expected it to feel. It might have been the temperatures, my amazing running buddy who literally almost passed out right after we finished (sorry again for leaving you behind in the end), my excellent on point training for this race or maybe I just felt great knowing I was able to let go of so much nonsense that weighed me down the past months right before the race? Mindset is everything. Who knows, maybe it was a perfect mixture?

Queens 10K

Running the Queens 10K: There is so much to see

It was cool to run in Queens again by the way. I normally don’t come to run here, so it’s always fun to run somewhere where you’re not familiar with. Runners were able to check out the Citi Field where they play the U.S. Open and the Mets games, we also ran next to the Queens Museum and around the Unisphere at the very end of the race.

Right before mile 6 I checked my time. I realized that this race will be my fastest 10K ever. I felt super tired already, it was hard to breathe due to the humidity, but I practice sprints at the end of my runs in my training a lot which is why I was able to run under 6 min/mile at that point and just sprinted to the finish line.

Queens 10K

Official time: 51:35 (more than 1.5 minutes faster than last Saturday’s Mini 10K’s race result).

My next races will be the New Balance Bronx 10 Mile on September 24 and the Staten Island Half on October 8. I hope to see you all there cheering or running the race.

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Race recap: Mini 10K NYC

Mini 10K NYC

Last Saturday 8,400 women met at Columbus Circle in New York City to run the Mini 10K NYC. It was my first time running this race and I was super excited about running along all the women to celebrate women’s running in the world.

Mini 10K NYC: Who run the world?

It was the 46th year of running the Mini 10K NYC since this race began in 1972 as the “Crazylegs Mini Marathon”. Saturday’s race kicked off with a celebration of those runners who ran this race 15 times or more. Women travel to this race from all over the world. Olympian athletes such as Mary Keitany joined us and finished with an impressive time of 31:20. This race is a big deal in women’s running in the world and I was a part of it – how exciting, right?

Why you should run the Mini 10K NYC

I think every women living in the NYC area should come and run this race. First: it’s so much fun and it’s a great opportunity to celebrate the past, future and of course the present of women’s running. I enjoyed every step of the 6 miles course. It’s hilly since you’re running in Central Park 90% of the race but it felt amazing to run along so many other women of all fitness levels. We supported each other along the way and helped us when we needed that extra push within the race. So amazing.

Feel the love about running at the Mini 10K NYC

Another thing I loved about the Mini 10K NYC was the fact that there were so many cute signs of the hubbies, boyfriends and fathers like “Go Mommie Go”, or “Look Babe I made a poster for you” that I had to smile anytime I saw one. I also saw husbands running along their queens to pace them. So sweet. You guys rocked, too!

Running is such a great sport. We are a huge community and the Mini 10K NYC gave back a lot of the love running is about. I will definitely run this race next year again. Here are a few pictures from the Mini 10K NYC:
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7 Common Half Marathon Mistakes

My perfect trail

One of my clients is running his first half marathon very soon. Actually he is super scared that his race will go horribly wrong. We had a quick chat at a coffee shop last week about the 7 common half marathon mistakes that could happen to him. How you can avoid screwing your race? Read this:

So first of all, racing is fun. Nobody should feel scared or feel any form of serious fear. A little excitement is great, but please leave the fear at home. There are a few common errors that first-timers (and old pros!) make that may create a less enjoyable day. Here’s how to avoid them…

MISTAKE #1: Trying something new race week

It’s old but gold: Nothing new on race day and the week before. Eat what you’re used to, wear your go-to running gear and shoes and don’t exaggerate with the carb load dinner the night before. While you’re racing use only the gels and fuels you used in training in order to prevent stomach issues, chafing and pinched feet.

MISTAKE #2: Hurrying through the aid stations

Energy and hydration is key to half-marathon success. Don’t get involved in zooming through the aid stations even if you might think this will save you some time. Actually (but this doesn’t fly for everyone) I never drink while I’m racing – I’m drinking enough the days before, so I just don’t have to. But if you stop by a fluid station, make sure to run toward the center set of tables. Never ever grab something from the first tables. Next step is to identify a volunteer by looking her in the eye, grab the fluid, don’t spill the water on your shirt and leave.

MISTAKE #3: No last long run the week before

One of my clients had a nervous habit of running a 12-miler the week before the race to make sure she was ready, but all it did was appease her mind. I persuaded her to take it easy, and she shaved 10 minutes off her personal best! Remember, the most important thing you can do the week before a race is rest. We call it tapering. You won’t gain fitness—and trying to cram in training will cause you to toe the line fatigued. Proper tapering will make you perform on point on race day. I’ll always say (also when I’m getting nervous) “Trust your training”.

Mistake #4: Too hard too soon

It happened to me before so I know how it feels to crash and burn because I started off too hard too soon. Running a half marathon is about pacing yourself and running steady for the first half of the race. If you feel awesome after mile 6, or 7 become faster and the last 5K means actually racing. If you can give all you have the last 3 miles run in a a hard, but controlled, effort that uses your last bit of energy.

Mistake #5: Focussing on the distance

Get to the start with a simple mental strategy: to eat the elephant one bite at a time. Break the distance in smaller pieces, that you are able to digest a little better. Focus on the mile you’re running. I even run miles for my family and friends. I remember running mile 4 during my last half marathon which was the most hilly one. I saw the mile marker and said to myself: “Okay Franzi, this is just for you” and I killed it. Mindset is everything.

Mistake #6: Running too far

This advice is super serious. Think about it: when a certified course is measured, it follows the roads along the shortest possible route. This means following the tangents to the curves. Don’t cross the street and back, avoid taking wide turns and run straight diagonal lines (tangents) to get from point to point. If you don’t, you can add a quarter mile or longer to the race!

Mistake #7: It’s all about the goal time

Hell no, it’s not. This advice is something you should take with you to every race not just a half marathon. When you create a specific goal time, anything slower than that will seem like failure, right? Avoid defining “success” as a finishing time. Racing just doesn’t work this way. There are a bundle of factors (like an unseasonably hot day or an unexpected muscle cramp – like it happened to me last time) that can affect your race-day performance. It’s wise to set your goals on finishing strong and celebrating every mile along the way because you only get to run your first half marathon once. Enjoy it! If you finish in your expected time, awesome. If you don’t? You just ran a half marathon – you’re a winner either way.

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