Coach John Honerkamp, who gets celebrities (including Karlie Kloss and Apolo Ohno) marathon-ready, shares his top tips for newbie runners ahead of the 2018 NYC Marathon.
First-timers often underestimate how long they’ll be waiting on Staten Island at the starting line — and how cold it will be. Wear old, warm clothes that you can toss just before the start. (There are donation bins in the corrals.) If it’s wet, wear old shoes, bring a plastic bag with the shoes you intend to run in and put them on just before starting.
“It’s easy to go out too fast, which usually ends badly,” says Honerkamp. Resist the urge — and the cheering crowds — to speed through the first part of the race. Instead, aim for negative splits — running the first half of the race more slowly than the second — which usually yields the best time and most enjoyable experience.
When it comes to what to eat the day before and the day of the big race, “stick to what you know,” says Honerkamp. The same goes for what you’re wearing. Run in the shoes that’s worked for you in training; ideally, you’ve purchased a new pair of the same style and done just a few runs in them to break them in.
“It’s the best day in New York City, hands down,” says Honerkamp. Take in the messages on the shirts of your fellow runners, the great crowds, the funny signs and the distinct neighborhoods. “Often I tell people: Don’t have a time goal for the first time. Just enjoy it.”