- 1 second separates the closet race in the NYC Marathon: Paul Tergat beat Hendrick Ramaala during the 2005 marathon by a blink of the eye.
- 2:22:31 is the women's course record set by Margaret Okayo in 2003.
- 5 bridges make up the 26.2-mile course.
- 8 years old is the age of the youngest finisher to ever run the marathon. In 1977, Wesley Paul finished the race in three hours, 31 minutes.
- 93 is the age of the oldest competitor in this year's race, Jon Mendes.
- 127 is the number of participants of the first NYC Marathon in 1970; 55 finished (all men).
- 6,400 pounds of bananas will be handed out to runners this year.
- 50,740 is the number of participants in this year's race — a new record.
- $600,000 in prize money is up for grabs this year.
- $1 million is the amount of money spent on security this year.
- 2 million is the number of live spectators cheering along the course.
- 2.3 million paper cups are used on race day.
- $340 million is the amount of money NYC makes from the marathon.
The moments after a race are just as important as the training leading up to the race and the miles logged during. While the proper premarathon training is key to preparing your body and helping it recover faster, so too are the first few hours after crossing the finish line. Once you've finished the race, turn to these recovery tips that will have you well on your way to a celebration. Congrats!
- Walk it out: Right after a marathon, you should continue to move to help reduce any stiffness. If you were in a full (not half) marathon, then walking for at least a mile should be sufficient — even if that means walking back to your car. Walking keeps your blood circulating to help repair damaged muscle tissue.
- Stretch: Stretching after a marathon will help reduce your risk of injury and bring length back to overworked, tight muscles. Focus on these marathon stretches that place emphasis on your legs and lower back.
- Change into dry clothes: Changing into warm, dry clothes will help your body return to a normal temperature. You don't want your soaking-wet clothes to make you cold, and you don't want to expend extra energy trying to stay warm.
- Drink lots of fluids: It's important to stay hydrated after a race, especially with beverages rich in electrolytes, carbs, and protein, to replenish your muscles after running 26.2 miles. It's also important to refuel with a snack to keep your energy levels up. Your body will be depleted of calories and will need some carbohydrates for nourishment!
- Ice any painful areas: If there are any areas on your body that are in a lot of pain, then be sure to ice them in 15-minute intervals for the rest of the day and again the following day as needed. This will keep swelling down and reduce permanent injury.
- Recover at home: Once you get home, take the time to let your body recoup, recover, and heal. Within the next week or two, you can gradually ease into running again, slowly increasing your distance so it isn't a shock to your system. And feel free to schedule a massage the week after a longer race to help rub out any kinks.
— Additional reporting by Emily Bibb
Logging the major miles it takes to train for a marathon can take a toll on your body. But a little targeted strength training and stretching can help keep you on the road. Watch this video and learn a handful of must-do moves for marathoners.
And be sure to check out our marathon training program designed to keep your strong as you train to race 26.2 miles.
Now that I'm weeks into my marathon training, I've been gleaning advice everywhere I can get it. And while I've learned many tips over the past couple of months — like how to hydrate before a long run and when pace doesn't matter — there's still a lot to think about. Your success in running depends on a lot of personal preference, like what you eat before you run, which shoes keep your feet comfortable even at mile 15, or which earbuds stay put in your ears, so figuring out what works best for me during long runs has been a journey.
One thing I've noticed is how much pushing past my comfort zone has measurably made me a better runner. It can be easy to fall into the same running routine — running at the same time, at the same pace, or on the same route, over and over — especially when you've got to clock in the miles every week. But it wasn't until I started changing these three aspects of my workout that I actually felt like I was becoming a better runner week after week. While remembering to vary your workout by running at different paces, at different times, and over different terrains is nothing new to those training for a race, making a conscious decision to change up one (or more) of these aspects at every run — and therefore pushing past my comfort zone — has allowed me to realize when I'm at my most efficient, I feel my best, and I'm developing as a runner.
If you're training for a marathon, check out our printable 18-week marathon guide, and tell us: how has pushing past your comfort zone helped you?
If running a marathon is on your bucket list, we have an 18-week plan designed specifically to help a first-timer train to run 26.2. This program, created for those who have been running for at least one year, will help you build endurance and mileage. Before beginning this program, you should be running between three and four times a week for two to three miles on each run.
The weekly mileage starts at 11 miles per week, peaking at 40 weekly miles during week 14. Long runs, the base of marathon training, start at four miles and grow to 20 miles.
"Exercise is medicine, and you need it every day" was the message Dr. Jordan Metzl hammered in during a recent discussion at the annual espnW Women + Sports Summit. As a guest of Lexus, I was able to hear Dr. Metzl's advice on keeping the body conditioned, especially for endurance athletes. And he should know — not only is Dr. Metzl a sports medicine physician, he's also competed in 29 marathons and 10 Ironman Triathlons. For those individuals moving beyond one-hour sweat sessions and instead clocking serious miles in their fitness routines, Dr. Metzl shared these tips for keeping the body healthy.
- Don't be one-dimensional: You may be training for a marathon, but running should not be the only part of your routine. "You need to do more than just your sport," said Dr. Metzl, and he recommends at least two strength training sessions per week. He advises patients to focus on total-body, functional fitness when putting the kind of physical duress on the body that a race will. Squats and lunges make up the cornerstone of his workouts, as does plyometrics. A workout session with Dr. Metzl is basically a boot camp, which we were all treated to on our first morning at the summit — talk about a sore backside the next day!
- Get the kinks out: When the body trains hard, muscle use goes into overtime, which can cause a variety of ailments ranging from soreness to tightness. This is exactly why Dr. Metzl is a huge proponent of keeping the body flexible and limber. In addition to stretching after every workout, he also recommends foam rolling at least four times a week. Or if you can swing it, a sports massage once a week. This will help keep the muscles long and lean, but mostly, ready to take on all the miles you throw at it.
- Cool things down: It may not sound like the most pleasant way to hang after a grueling workout, but Dr. Metzl recommends an ice bath after any period of prolonged (and intense) activity to "reduce inflammation, which will help decrease pain going forward." He also mentioned that ice baths are particularly helpful for endurance athletes because the cold temperature prevents the breakdown of tissue and helps increase blood flow, which speeds recovery time along. If an ice bath seems to intense, try a cold-plunge pool or even a shower.
You're finally ready to cross one off the ol' bucket list and signed up to run your first marathon. You know those 26.2 miles won't be easy, but you're psyched to cross the finish line and hold that proud feeling with you for the rest of your life. Here are some things to avoid while training for the big day.
Not Enough Training Time
Hopefully you already have a few shorter races under your belt before tackling a marathon, and even if you run four or more times a week, that doesn't mean you should sign up for a race that's three weeks away. You'll do best if you follow some sort of plan like our four-month training schedule. Make sure whatever schedule you follow allows enough time to build up mileage appropriately.
You want to be totally ready for race day, so you run every day for hours, even through injuries, and only feel good if you wake up sore the next day. While being prepared is essential, there is such a thing as overtraining. Don't ignore pains or illnesses, and respect your body's need to rest, which is what will make you a stronger and faster runner. Be strict about following the training schedule, and avoid running five extra miles on the easy days. Make sure to taper off and take it easy in the weeks leading up to the race.
Keep reading to learn two more marathon training no-nos.
We are excited to share one of our fave stories from espnW here on FitSugar!
By Doug Williams
Maureen Mancuso would rather look ahead, not back. She seems hardly concerned her marathon record in 1967 has been largely ignored, or that she was the subject of ridicule and rejection at the time. She doesn't waste much time wondering "what if" or poring over the two scrapbooks compiled by her mother from Maureen's days as a teen running sensation.
These days, the 58-year-old Canadian is more excited about a new job as a dog trainer and preparing for her next half marathon than fretting about what was and wasn't said 45 years ago. Still, she knows times have changed. If she accomplished today what she accomplished then, her fame would be global.
On May 6, 1967, 13-year old Maureen Wilton, a 4-foot-10, 80-pound twig who was all heart, lungs and legs, set the women's world record in the marathon, running 3:15:23 in Toronto. Her feat came after just two weeks of training for her first 26.2-miler, in an era when women were discouraged from running long distances.
Four months later, her record was broken by a West German. Four years later — with an urge to try other things in life and years before women's running scholarships — Wilton dropped out of competitive running. Though she helped open doors and eyes, proving that long-distance running wasn't harmful to young women, she and her feat faded from view. "I was 17 and basically disappeared from the face of the earth," she said with a laugh.
She hasn't been inducted into any hall of fame, including Canada's Sports Hall of Fame or the Canadian Road Running Hall of Fame. For nearly 40 years, she lived the happy life she wanted — getting married, having a career and raising children — without anyone wanting to know her story. When she eventually returned to running in her 50s and joined the Longboat Roadrunners Club in Toronto, Mancuso said she occasionally heard people talk about the long-ago record while wondering what had happened to the little girl who set it. She never volunteered that she was the girl, and they didn't know until 2010. "They didn't have any clue," Mancuso said. "They were still looking for me, but I was actually in their club."
Read about Maureen's record-breaking race after the break!
Warm weather inspires many runners to head for the great outdoors. The gorgeous scenery definitely inspires me to tackle bigger trips, so whether you're running long distances for fun or are training for a marathon, here's a tip for staying hydrated: Instead of carrying around your water, stash it along the way. It's like having your own personal water stations!
Map out your route ahead of time and set markers every three miles or so. Fill up reusable water bottles with four to eight ounces of H20, and then take a drive before your run. Stash the bottles in safe, convenient, and appropriate spots so you can grab them quickly and gulp them down. Or, if you prefer, you can carry the bottles with you and sip as you run. Stash each empty container when you're done — just remember where you hid them so you can collect them all later.
When going into your first marathon, you may already know the basic tips for achieving race-day success, but there are certain tricks that only come from experience. No one tells you that you may be waiting at the starting line for a few hours before the race is even underway, often in early-morning temps 20 degrees colder than what you'll experience during the actual race. To keep muscles warm before embarking on a 26.2-mile journey, a few things will be your saving grace: a garbage bag and clothes you can't wait to give up.
Seasoned runners show up to the starting line in layers, but not their best Patagonia or North Face fleece. These are clothes they wouldn't think twice about losing or ruining — the sole function is to keep them warm until the race starts. Shortly before the start, extra layers are peeled off and thrown into a garbage bag, which is placed along the side of the road for charity organizations to pick up. Some races provide garbage bags, but it's always smart to bring your own. (And bigger races also provide a bag-check in case you can't bear to give up your race-day base layers.) You can also opt to throw away extra clothing during the race itself, just be careful how you do it — you don't want to create an obstacle for another runner. Always go to the side of the road and aim long!
What race-day tips have you picked up along the way?