Why You Should Sign Up to Run the TCS New York City Marathon Training Series
If you’re gearing up for the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon—or any fall marathon—you need to prepare for the distance. New this year, the TCS New York City Marathon Training Series is designed to help you gradually build up to running 26.2. The series kicks off with a 12-miler on July 21, progresses to a 15-mile event on August 12, and wraps up with an 18-mile race on September 16.
The Run On caught up with Conor Nickel, NYRR’s assistant manager of event management and logistics, and Roberto Mandje, senior manager of training and education, to ask them how these new races can support your training and the best way to approach them.
Q: What is the TCS New York City Marathon Training Series?
Conor Nickel: In past years New York Road Runners offered two long training runs in the summer and an 18-mile tune-up race in September. The training runs had flexible distances and weren’t timed and scored, while the tune-up was a race—scored, timed, and a 9+1 qualifier. Some runners found the offerings confusing and weren’t sure how to use them to prepare for their fall marathon.
The TCS New York City Marathon Training Series is three races with distances that align with where runners should be in their training for a fall marathon. Everyone signs up to complete the full distance and cross the finish line, and everyone gets a race souvenir and a 9+1 credit for finishing each race.
Q: How can these races help runners prepare for the TCS New York City Marathon or another fall marathon?
Roberto Mandje: The distances are perfect for runners to set up their fall marathon training—12 miles in July, 15 miles in August, 18 miles in September. Take the first race—if you’re training for the TCS New York City Marathon, a 12-mile run in mid-July should be manageable, or at least not insurmountable. If you’re running a marathon in September or October and are further along in your training, you can either make the 12 miles a race effort or do it as part of a longer training run by adding miles before or afterward.
All the races are on loop courses, which makes it easy to practice pacing. For example, the first race is two 6-mile loops, so you could run the first loop at a relaxed training pace and the second a bit faster, such as at your goal marathon pace.
Q: How were the courses designed and the distances selected?
CN: We chose Central Park for several reasons. One, we wanted the races to include hills that are similar to those in the TCS New York City Marathon. Two, we wanted courses with multiple loops to create a positive and supportive environment for runners of all abilities. Three, we wanted the distances to be progressive, working toward 18 miles in September. As a bonus, these are unusual race distances, so most runners will set a PR!
Q: What’s the best strategy for these races?
RM: That depends on your fitness level and your goals. If you’ve been training and building your mileage successfully, you may want to use these races to test your speed and work on your racing tactics, such as controlling your early pace, attacking the hills, and timing your finishing kick. If your training has been more spotty, your strategy may be to just get “time on your feet” by covering the distance at training pace.
A good strategy for everyone is to run with one of our NYRR Pace Teams, which will cover the distance at an even effort. We’ll have teams ranging from 7:00 per mile to 11:00+ per mile. Look for them in the corrals with their blue-and-white striped singlets, carrying signs with their goal pace.
Q: What else will runners gain from these races?
RM: No matter what your fitness level, you’ll get the experience of lining up in a corral, running in a large group, drinking at fluid stations, and passing mile markers—all the things that make a race different from a training run. These experiences will help you prepare for the TCS New York City Marathon or any fall marathon.
Q: What fluids and fuel will be offered?
CN: All three races will have water and Gatorade Endurance on the course and at the finish, and the 15-mile and 18-mile races will also have energy gels. It’s helpful to practice taking fluids and gels during a race so that you’re not doing it for the first time in the marathon. The course maps on the race pages show the locations of fueling and fluid stations.
Q: What if I’m not running a marathon this fall, but just like longer races?
CN: The races are open to all runners—any runner can sign up to run one, two, or all three. Those not training for a fall marathon may simply want to experience a new race distance, work toward their 9+1, gain racing experience, or enjoy the social experience.