As you might, or might not, be aware, this weekend is one of the Big 5 marathons, the ING New York Marathon, and on Sunday morning, just shy of 40 000 runners will run through the 5 boroughs of New York City.

It is really an unbelievable experience, being able to run through one of the most frenetic cities in world, and have the road to yourself (well not totally to yourself, but you get my meaning).

My wife and I ran the race 2 years ago, and if you have ever run a marathon, you know there a few things that you can do during the run that will make your day that little bit easier.

Here are my 5 favorites:
  1. Race Plan: Have a breakdown in mind of what you would like your splits to be at certain points through the course. Have a time at 10km, 21km, 30km, and 40km.
  2. Stick to it: Don't get caught up in the excitement and run a PB time over the first 10km, only to find that at Kilometer 30, there is 0 juice in the tank to finish strong (and smiling - see #5).
  3. Run straight: As funny as this sounds, the amount of energy expended running around other participants, jumping on and off pavements, accelerating and slowing down again, is enormous, and the last place you want to be burning energy unnecessarily is during your big race
  4. Cut the corners : This should not include jumping up, onto the sidewalk, and then back off, onto the road (see above). By cutting corners, you legally reduce the total distance run slightly - a good thing right of course.
  5. Smile at the Camera: In 5-7 days you will be looking at the event pics, and will no doubt be considering purchasing a few (if the prices for the pics are not preposterous) and the last thing you want to be doing is looking down at your watch, looking to your side to see who is beating you to to the line, or just generally looking beaten down.

Obviously these 5 pointers can be applied to any running event, from a 5km to an Ultra.

Hopefully these small things will make your race day experience even more memorable and help you realize your dream - to not only run the BIG one, but to finish it better than you ever believed possible.

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.
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