Yes, You Can Run a Marathon This Year
If you’ve been toying with the idea of running your first marathon—or coming back to the distance after some time off—this could be your year. Really.
We know, we know: You’ve got a dozen excuses for not taking on 26.2—and we’ve got a counter for each one. Sure, marathon running isn’t for everybody, but if you’re holding out because of fear, self-doubt, or lack of motivation, now’s the time to kick those excuses and do something big in 2018—like run the largest marathon in the world.
The application for the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon will be open from January 15 through February 15, 2018. It’s free to enter the drawing and the application is easy to complete (just saying).
“But New York is so far away!”
Actually… If a trip to the Big Apple is on your bucket list, this is your chance to experience New York City on its best day. Finish the race and you can say you’ve spent time in each of NYC’s five boroughs. Fall foliage in Central Park isn’t bad either.
“Still, I don’t think my friends are up for a trip to NYC. I’ll have nobody supporting me while I run.”
Actually… An estimated 1 million spectators line the TCS New York City Marathon course to cheer on more than 50,000 runners. An additional 10,000 race-day volunteers hand out water, gels, high-fives, and words of encouragement. Don't worry, you won’t be alone out there!
“But I’ve got a #dadbod and I’m in no shape to run a marathon this year.”
Actually… NYRR Virtual Trainer can get you race-ready no matter where you’re at with your fitness. Simply supply some info about yourself and you’ll receive a 20-, 16-, or 12-week training plan that’s tailored to your fitness, experience, and lifestyle. As you progress, the program adapts to you, adjusting mileage and suggested pace to help you hit your race-day goal.
“Psh. I’m still way too old to run a marathon.”
Actually… An 82-year-old male and an 84-year-old female were the oldest finishers in the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon, while 40-44-year-olds made up the biggest age group of finishers in the race.
“OK, but I tried to run a marathon before and I got injured. Isn’t running really bad for your knees?”
Actually… You put yourself at risk for injury when you increase your mileage or intensity too quickly. Our partners at Hospital for Special Surgery suggest running every other day for the first month of your training—this gives your body a day in between training runs to recover—and not increasing your total mileage by more than 10-20% each week.
As for your knees, protect them by maintaining strength and flexibility in your spine, hips, and upper and lower legs. Integrate strength training, foam rolling, and stretching into your routine, and consider using your rest days to practice yoga. If you live in NYC, check out our full schedule of free classes at the NYRR RUNCENTER.
“But I don’t have any motivation to get up at 6:30 a.m. to train or log miles after a long work day.”
Actually… NYRR Group Training sessions start at either 6:30 a.m. or 6:30 p.m and are held in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. The workouts offer camaraderie, coaching, and the inspiration that comes from running with others. If you struggle with doing speedwork solo, NYRR Group Training is definitely for you.
“But what about long runs? I can’t run 20 miles as practice.”
Actually... We know logging 12, 15, 18, or 20 miles is tough—especially during the hot summer months. That’s why the TCS New York City Marathon Training Series exists. These timed and scored long runs—one each in July, August, and September—let you pretend it’s race day, with pacers, hydration, and nutrition that mirror what’s on the TCS New York City Marathon course.
Long runs are also a good time to experiment. Whether you’re testing out new gear that promises no chafing or a new run-walk strategy you want to use to tackle hills, long runs give you an opportunity to work out the kinks. Come race day, there won’t be any surprises.
Not in NYC? Check out running clubs in your city or town—they’re probably organizing similar training opportunities for runners taking on fall marathons.
“Cool. But I’m still way too nervous. I have no idea what I’m doing!”
Actually... You can always hit up the NYRR coaching staff with training questions. We host a live chat on Facebook every Wednesday from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET so you can get expert answers without leaving your home or office.
“But I’ll never see my family, partner, or kids while I’m training.”
Actually… It’s pretty easy to maintain a social life—and not disown your family—while you’re training for marathon. Just use running as an opportunity to catch up with loved ones and encourage them to get moving, too. For example, invite friends or family members to join you for different legs of a long run. If three different people tag along for four miles of a 12-mile long run, the distance will fly by.
Also check out our line-up of fun, social-themed races throughout the summer months, like the NYRR Retro 4-Miler and the NYRR R-U-N 5K. Manageable distance + festive atmosphere = fun for the whole family.
“But I don’t even have the right gear!”
Actually... We’re guessing you’ve got the requisite shorts and T-shirt and that you’re mostly concerned about footwear. Visit a specialty running store, where the staff will help you find the right shoes based on your foot shape and your running style. If you’re in NYC, stop by the NYRR RUNCENTER featuring the NB Run Hub. Drop your ID and you can take shoes for a test run in Central Park.
Also know that you don’t need to buy everything at once. As you build up miles, add accessories to support your longer training runs, like a moisture-wicking hat, running sunglasses, and a belt for storing keys, water, and your phone. While a GPS running watch will most accurately track your miles and pace, a free app like Strava can get the job done, too.
“Wait, doesn’t this race start on Staten Island? How am I supposed to get out there super early in the morning?”
Actually... Transportation to the start is included in your race entry fee. All you have to do is select whether you want to take a bus or a ferry. (You'll receive an email with instructions for how to make your selection during the summer.) Easy, right?
“What about ‘the wall’?”
Actually… Extra-special entertainment is planned for parts of the course where the going gets tough. During the 2017 race, for example, the New Balance Mile-20 Block Party ushered runners past the most challenging part of the course with local drum lines and Bronx DJs, while Cheer Cards—personalized greetings created for runners by their friends and family—were displayed on a big screen at mile 23.
“But I’ll take seven hours to finish and I’ll end up in a sweep vehicle!”
Actually… We’ll wait for you. While course amenities may no longer be available to runners who exceed the race's 6.5-hour time limit, athletes will be celebrated at the finish line late into the evening hours. At the 2017 event, some of the race’s very first finishers, including women’s open champion Shalane Flanagan, running legend Meb Keflezighi, and five-time event champion Tatyana McFadden, joined race director Peter Ciaccia at the finish line to welcome runners who had spent 10, 11, or 12 hours completing the race.
“OK, so what if I apply, get my hopes up, then don’t get a spot? I’ll be devastated.”
Actually… You can still run with NYRR Team for Kids or with one of our Official Charity Partners—there are hundreds of causes to support. If you’re local, and can wait a year, you can also get a spot in the race via our 9+1 program. Run nine races and volunteer at one NYRR event by December 31, 2018 and you’ll earn guaranteed entry to the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon.
Convinced you can do it? Apply for a spot in the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon. The application will be open from January 15 through February 15, 2018.