New York Marathon – Preparation, Training and Race Day Tips

The New York Marathon is a very special date for many runners. With its challenging yet fascinating course that winds through the breathtaking metropolis of New York, it stands out as one of the most exclusive marathon experiences worldwide. In this article, we aim to offer valuable advice on preparing for the New York Marathon, training effectively, and embarking on an unforgettable running adventure. Our goal is to help you get the most out of this unique event, and perhaps even achieve personal best times.

Topic overview

Entry criteria

Approximately 40,000 runners participate in the New York Marathon each year. There are several ways to get one of the popular starting places.

  • Qualification by time
    Age groupMenWomenNon-binary
    18 - 342:53:003:13:003:13:00
    35 – 392:55:003:15:003:15:00
    40 – 442:58:003:26:003:26:00
    45 – 493:05:003:38:003:38:00
    50 - 543:14:003:51:003:51:00
    55 - 593:23:004:10:004:10:00
    60 - 643:34:004:27:004:27:00
    65 - 693:45:004:50:004:50:00
    70 - 744:10:005:30:005:30:00
    75 - 794:30:006:00:006:00:00
  • Draw of lots
    For all those who do not qualify for one of the other spots.
  • Charity runners
    In order to register for the New York Marathon in this way, a specific amount must be transferred (in consultation with the fundraising organisation) for a good cause.
  • Tour operators
    Another way to register is to apply for a starting place through a marathon travel agent.
  • Road Runners Club 9+1
    Members of the New York Road Runners (NYRR) who complete nine NYRR qualifying races and are volunteers at one qualifying race are eligible for guaranteed entry into the New York City Marathon.
  • 15+ Programme
    To qualify for this type of participation, you must have completed 15 New York City Marathons.

Preparation and training


At running.COACH we recommend a targeted training period of at least 16-20 weeks. The exact time period will vary depending on your current fitness level, your experience and the individual goals you have for the New York Marathon.

You can find more on this topic here:
How many weeks of training it takes for a running race?


The weekly number of training sessions for the New York Marathon is influenced by various individual factors. These factors encompass your current fitness level, personal goals, and the time at your disposal. A crucial strategy for enhancing performance involves striking a balance between training activities and the necessary recovery.

Here is a helpful table to assist you in determining the suitable number of weekly training sessions:

Beginner Jogger Intermediate Ambitious Professional
Improve performance 4 4 5 8 12
Maintain performance 3 3 4 5 7
Just for fun 2 2 2 3 3

Gradually increasing your training volume for the New York Marathon requires a healthy dose of mindfulness. It is crucial that this increase is approached judiciously to minimize the risk of injury. Our recommendation is to add no more than one weekly training session every six months. This allows your body ample time to adapt to the heightened training load, mitigating the risk of overuse. Your long-term health and performance take precedence!


Variation is the key to success in the New York Marathon. Monotony can pose a hindrance when it comes to making progress. Therefore, it is of great importance to vary both the amount and intensity of your training from week to week. A well-rounded training program should incorporate at least one intense run each week (if you do 5 training sessions per week, you could even include two intense sessions), along with one long run. The remaining training sessions can be complemented with endurance runs and recovery runs.

The duration of the long runs should be between 75 minutes and 180 minutes during the New York marathon preparation. Organize your training in cyclical phases by varying the training duration and intensity from week to week. In this way, you will not only improve your fitness, but also keep motivation high by keeping the training exciting.

Example: Week 1: 75min, Week 2: 120min, Week 3: 140min, Week 4: 160min, Week 5: 180min – restart the cycle afterwards. The intensity should be slightly lower than for an endurance run.


The inclusion of longer running sessions and interval training/threshold runs is crucial in the running.COACH training programme. To ensure the quality of your training, we recommend taking at least one rest day between two such key sessions or, alternatively, completing an endurance run or regeneration run.

If you have running.COACH create your individual training plan, you will not only receive a customized training structure but also recommendations for the optimal training pace. This way, you can get the most out of your training!


You can measure your training progress and get valuable feedback by participating in preparation races. The selection of these races can be made according to the following criteria:

  • 3-4 preparation races spread over the last 20 weeks of preparation.
  • Half marathon as a “compulsory element”, ideally four weeks before the main competition.
  • Last race 14 days before the main competition, maximum 10 km.
  • Race distances increase towards the competition, final race shorter. E.g. 10 km, 15 km, half marathon, 10 km and main race.

You can find a calendar with interesting races here.

Pacing strategy for the New York Marathon

The New York Marathon is a unique course that begins at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island, winds through Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, and concludes in Manhattan’s Central Park. Start waves are launched about 30 minutes apart to accommodate the large number of participants.

The course features five bridges, including the imposing Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, and traverses various boroughs. The marathon is demanding, and, compared to major German marathons, the elite runners complete it about two minutes slower, while recreational runners are approximately five to ten minutes slower.

Running tactics are crucial as the mass start makes the first kilometers challenging. A moderate start and effective energy management are advisable. The support of enthusiastic spectators along the course is motivating, but be careful to maintain your own pace and not get carried away by the euphoria.

Our running.COACH calculator can be a great help in determining your pace.


  • Eat your last meal 3 hours before training. In order to use as little energy as possible for digestion, easily digestible carbohydrates are recommended and fresh and unprocessed foods such as vegetables and whole grains are discouraged.
  • 1-2 hours before exercise: If you only eat in the last 2 hours before exercise, lighter meals such as a small low-fat sandwich with white bread, sports bars, rice cakes or a small ripe banana are suitable.

You can find more on this topic here.

Tips for race day:
  • Breakfast: The ideal breakfast should be eaten about 3 hours before the start to avoid unpleasant surprises for your stomach. Carbohydrates should be the main focus, while fats and proteins should be taken in small amounts. These have a longer digestibility and could cause gastrointestinal problems during the race.
  • During the race: It is advisable to replenish the micronutrients lost during the race, especially the carbohydrate reserves. Gels, solid food, energy bars or chewable tablets are suitable for this purpose. The aim is to provide a quick supply of energy, and maltodextrin-based products are recommended. It is important to test the intake of food during training to avoid unwanted surprises during the marathon.

Further details and tips can be found here.

Hydration during the run

From a running time of about one hour, fluid intake becomes particularly important. This is because dehydration can pose an immediate risk and, at the same time, reduce the efficiency of oxygen transport. A diminished oxygen supply can, in turn, have a negative impact on muscle function. Therefore, it is crucial to consume sufficient fluids during your run to enhance both your physical health and athletic performance.

Before the run:

Try to fill the stores without overdoing it. We recommend drinking 500ml of sports drink (6-8% carbohydrates) 1-2 hours before the start – preferably in portions.

You can drink another 3 dl during the warm-up (the activation of the body prevents the fluid from going directly into the bladder).

During the run:

The additional fluid requirement generated by running can be calculated as follows:

KG body weight x KM distance = ML fluid

A person weighing 70 kilograms will consume almost 3 liters of additional fluid (above normal consumption) during the New York Marathon. The longer the running time, the greater the proportion that should be replenished during the race. It is important to remember that the body can absorb a maximum of 2dl of fluid every 15 minutes. Anything drunk in excess of this will be carried along “unnecessarily”.

It makes sense to consume drinks containing electrolytes and carbohydrates.

Further details and tips can be found here.

Packing list and choice of running clothes

To make sure you don’t forget anything, we recommend you take a look at our packing list.

You can see from our table which clothes we recommend for which conditions.

Create with running.COACH a tailor-made and dynamic running training plan that prepares you optimally for your running goals, based on your current fitness level. Try running.COACH for free for two weeks after your first login!


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