14 Questions Runners Ask Us Every Single Day

14 Questions Runners Ask Us Every Single Day

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New York Road Runners' mission is to help and inspire people through running, and that involves answering the many questions runners ask us about racing, training, our programs, and much more. Our runner products and services team answers around 800 emails a week—in addition to questions they handle in person at the NYRR RUNCENTER featuring the NB Run Hub, on social media, by phone, and at our events. Your questions matter to us, and we know the answers matter to you. So ask us anything! Check out answers to some of the most common questions, or reach out with your own.

I signed up for a race but now I can’t run. Can I get a refund?
Entry fees cover the costs of putting on a race. Those costs are budgeted up to a year in advance of race day. And while we’ve looked into allowing runners to cancel their entry and get a refund, credit, or transfer, we’ve calculated that the administrative costs of managing this process would lead to significantly higher entry fees. And as part of our mission to help and inspire people through running, we strive to keep fees as low as we can.

Our three largest races, the TCS New York City Marathon, the United Airlines NYC Half, and the NYRR Brooklyn Half, have a cancellation policy that allows guaranteed entry the following year. Learn more about 2017 TCS New York City Marathon cancellation and 2018 United Airlines NYC Half cancellation. NYRR Brooklyn Half cancellation info will be available in January.

My friends and I are in different start corrals/waves? Can we still run together?
Yes—as long as you move back—to a corral farther from the start line, to a wave with a later start time, or to a higher number. Here’s how it works:

  • Non-premier races (any race with only one start time): Line up in the corral with the letter later in the alphabet (E rather than C, for example).
  • NYRR Five-Borough Series (United Airlines NYC Half, NYRR Brooklyn Half, NYRR Queens 10K, New Balance Bronx 10 Mile, NYRR Staten Island Half): If you’re assigned to different waves, start in the later wave. Within that wave, start in the corral of the runner with the letter latest in the alphabet.

How can I update my best pace?
When you register for an NYRR race, you're asked to enter your projected pace. This information is used to place you in the correct start corral. Your best pace is updated automatically based on your finishing times in races, which is converted to an equivalent 10K time.

Can we enter a race entry drawing as a group?
Two NYRR races—the United Airlines NYC Half and the TCS New York City Marathon—offer entry drawings. You must apply as an individual, and selection is individual. If you want to run with a group, you have the option of applying to run with NYRR Team for Kids or another official charity partner or NYRR’s preferred charity platform, CrowdRise. Learn more about the drawings for the 2018 United Airlines NYC Half and TCS New York City Marathon.

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TCS New York City Marathon Questions

With November 5 fast approaching, here are the questions we’re getting now.

I forgot to select transportation to the start. What are my options?
No worries, we’ll help make sure you get to the start! Visit the Runner Support Center at the TCS New York City Marathon Expo Presented by New Balance and we’ll assign you to an available option—just be aware that many choices are full.

I’m signed up as a bag check runner. Can I switch to the post-race poncho option?
We’re sorry, but we can’t change your assignment—we order ponchos months in advance of race day and we plan post-finish runner flow based on the numbers of runners assigned to each option. Keep in mind that all finishers get a Mylar blanket (HeatSheet) at the finish—they keep you pretty toasty.

My friends and I are in different waves/corrals? Can we still run together?
Yes—runners who wish to start together should determine which runner has the highest wave number and corral letter, and start there, even if that means starting in a different color. Staff and volunteers at the expo can help you and your friends determine where and when to start.

Which of the three bib colors start on the upper level of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, and which start on the lower level? Is there any advantage/disadvantage to where I start? Can I switch?
Blue and orange start on the upper level, and green starts on the lower level. There’s no advantage to starting in a particular color—everyone runs 26.2 miles! You must start in your assigned color unless you’re moving to a later wave to run with a friend in a different color.

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Coaching Questions

NYRR coaches get asked about training, racing, injuries, illness, shoes, and more. They answer questions in person and online. Get to know them by tuning in to our weekly live chats on Facebook.

I’m injured—should I still run an upcoming race?
This is the question we receive most often—by far—and it’s the hardest to answer. It takes a medical professional to evaluate an injury and prescribe treatment and a course of action. Our coaches will generally advise you to rest an injury, keep it elevated, and treat with ice and anti-inflammatories. (Similarly, they’ll usually advise you not to run during illness.) Looking for personalized advice? Check out NYRR Group Training, 1:1 Coaching, and programming at the NYRR RUNCENTER, which all offer opportunities to interact with coaches and other experts—but again, advice on your specific injury is best referred to a medical professional.

I have a race in two weeks, but I’m really not ready—should I still run?
A variation on #1, this is somewhat easier for a coach to evaluate, but again, the answer will vary depending on your overall fitness and experience, as well as your goals and expectations. The risks of running a race you haven’t trained for are injury and a miserable experience; the rewards include a surprisingly positive outcome and of course, that medal at the finish line.

I didn’t get the time I wanted in my marathon. Can I do another in two weeks?
In general, this is not recommended. The marathon is very hard on the body, and whether you run sub-three hours or over six, you pounded for 26.2 miles and need to recover. Our coaches recommend that you savor your accomplishment, enjoy the well-deserved rest, and plan your next marathon for at least six months down the road. Plan some shorter races—check out our calendar of shorter events in 2017 and 2018.

Can you recommend a good physical therapist/orthopedist/podiatrist/etc.?
NYRR doesn’t endorse specific medical or health professionals. While some of our coaches have training in some areas of health and wellness, we don’t offer those services through NYRR.

What do I do about _____?
Fill in the blank—sore muscles, a side stitch, bonking, bathroom issues, and other perils of the running life. Often, the answer centers on training smart—building fitness gradually, incorporating rest, listening to your body, and learning from experience. Our coaches form a marvelous brain trust, so ask away! But learn to trust your own experience, too.

What are the best running shoes?
Every runner is different. The best shoe for you is one that feels comfortable, fits, and offers you the right amount and type of protection for your feet and the type of running you do. Visit a running specialty store and have the experts there evaluate your foot type and help you try on and run in a variety of options.


Got a question that we didn't answer here? Browse our Help Center or reach out to us:

Email: mynyrr@nyrr.org
Phone: 855-5MY-NYRR (855-569-6977)
In Person: NYRR RUNCENTER featuring the NB Run Hub, 320 West 57th Street

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