My First Marathon

Last year me and my girlfriend ran our first marathon, the New York Marathon. Wow, what an experience it was. I wrote this post for those running the NY Marathon for the first time. This is just my own experience, if you would like to read a more detailed advice report I suggest reading this article

Pre Race

I started training for New York somewhere in June. Someone told me about a training tool called My Asics. This tool really helped me with setting up my first training schedule. It is not perfect but definitely great for those new to marathons. Since New York is a special marathon with lots of bridges you should definitely, at least once in 2 weeks, add hill sprints to your training schedule. Personally 5 months training was just about right. It should not have taken me one week longer, since running 4 to 5 times a week gets a bit boring to me. Especially once you start doing those 15km+ runs. At the end and looking at my training results I decided to go for a 3:30 hours finish time, an average of 12km/hour. I was very lucky my girlfriend lived in New York at that time so I had the chance to do some long runs in Manhattan including the 9km Central Park laps. You cannot imagine how hilly that park is. Yes you should worry once you enter Central Park for your last kilometers of the marathon...

Race day

November 3rd 2013, We woke up at 5AM, but it was not that bad since winter time started that night, it was actually 6AM :) Daylight Saving Time ends this year on November 2nd, so again we will turn back the time one hour, thank god! 

There are several ways to travel from Manhattan to Staten Island. Most people travel either by coach or take the Staten Island ferry. We decided to take a cab from the Village to the ferry. I liked the ferry since you are only surrounded by runners, the atmosphere is great and you get a nice sun rise view of Manhattan. 

  6AM at the ferry on our way to Staten Island, the start of the New York Marathon

6AM at the ferry on our way to Staten Island, the start of the New York Marathon

  Trying to rest and save energy with over 3 hours of waiting for the race at Staten Island. Make sure you eat 1 hour before the race your last bagel or jelly sandwich and drink 15 minutes before the race a small bottle of water

Trying to rest and save energy with over 3 hours of waiting for the race at Staten Island. Make sure you eat 1 hour before the race your last bagel or jelly sandwich and drink 15 minutes before the race a small bottle of water

  Our view at the start line, wow we were in first row!

Our view at the start line, wow we were in first row!

  Easy going, still looking ok, I guess this photo was taken during first 15k of the race. I drank every water station, so every mile and ate every 45 minutes a gel. I hate gels, this year I will try something else. To drink water every station is very important since it prevents you from getting cramps.

Easy going, still looking ok, I guess this photo was taken during first 15k of the race. I drank every water station, so every mile and ate every 45 minutes a gel. I hate gels, this year I will try something else. To drink water every station is very important since it prevents you from getting cramps.

  With my friend Thys still going strong, but you can tell by our expressions we start to struggle here

With my friend Thys still going strong, but you can tell by our expressions we start to struggle here

  With a face full of pain finishing at 3:29 hours, fantastic, one minute before my set goal!

With a face full of pain finishing at 3:29 hours, fantastic, one minute before my set goal!

At the end it was a fantastic day. My girlfriend who was slightly injured finished together with my friend Thys just 12 minutes behind me a 3:41 hours. An amazing performance for a first marathon! Most people try with their first marathon to beat the 4 hours limit but I think if you finish just minutes after 4 hours it is still a great effort and should inspire you for a next race under the 4 hours.

This year I will race again, unfortunately my girlfriend is still injured from last year. I will try to beat 3:10 hours target. Wish me luck, I need it!!!

  next some screen shots from my Garmin Connect account

next some screen shots from my Garmin Connect account

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  My pace time per km

My pace time per km

  The route I ran, as you can see I stayed on course :)

The route I ran, as you can see I stayed on course :)