The New York City Marathon is a bucket list race for thousands. It’s one of the more challenging races to get into – the majority of entrants are selected by lottery – so when you do get the “you’re in” email, it’s just exhilarating. The race you’ve dreamed of for years is finally becoming a reality! (For me, this dream became reality in fall 2016.)
But, there’s a lot of time, training and stress between the congratulatory email and actually crossing the finish line. Where will I run? How do I fuel? What should I wear?
I defer to the experts when it comes to fueling, and actually defer to you on your attire preference (you’ll be wearing those clothes for 3+ hours, choose something comfortable!), but when it comes to training for the NYC Marathon in Hoboken, I’ve got you covered. I did almost all of my training runs through the Mile Square City, along with a few tune-up runs in NYC.
If you made it into the NYC Marathon, congratulations! Here are five of my favorite Hoboken training routes to get you ready to go by race day.
This is a no-brainer way to log miles without getting bored. The Hoboken (and Weehawken, and Edgewater, and Fort Lee) waterfronts are flat and scenic, making for a beautiful and relatively easy route. For my 20-miler, I started near Turning Point in Hoboken and ran all the way up to the George Washington Bridge. Most of the route follows the Hudson River Walkway, but you do have to head inland at points where the path isn’t finished.
While these training runs are scenic, they won’t get you fully ready for the hilly NYC Marathon. That’s why you need…
The 14th Street Bridge
To get those hills in, plan at least some of your runs up the killer 14th Street Bridge. It’s perfect for hill repeats (although I’d recommend walking down to save your knees), or you can add on to the hills with additional hills by turning right off the bridge and running up toward Weehawken. It’s a doozy of a workout, but I’d try to do at least five or six hill repeats (up 14th, then up to Weehawken) every week or two. The NYC Marathon is deceivingly hilly.
Perhaps my favorite part of any training plan is the high-intensity sprint work outs. Masochistic, I know, but I just love to get that heart racing, especially on an outdoor track. Enter the Weehawken track, a scenic 400-meter track just about 1.5 miles from Hoboken. Each training plan has different types of sprint workouts, and all can be done at this top-notch track with a view. For a particularly rewarding treat, run out here right before sunrise. Nothing’s better than finishing those strides with the beautiful sun coming up over Manhattan. Sigh. I may go do some sprints now…
Hoboken’s 100 Steps
In case you’re not getting enough in the way of hill repeats – or you’re getting bored with the 14th Street route – take a stab at Hoboken’s built-in training stairs. The “100 steps,” as they’re called, are located at the back of first street and make for a perfect high-cardio workout. Again, I’d recommend stair repeats where you walk down (save those knees!), and I’d also suggest you go during the daylight hours to be safe.
Ferry Over to the City
Hoboken is a wonderful training spot, but nothing beats running the pavement of your actual marathon course. For two training runs, I took the ferry over to NYC and did a “sightseeing run” from 39th Street down through Battery Park, up along the East River and finally through Central Park to get a feel for those hills. If I was a hardcore runner, I would’ve done Central Park up into the Bronx, but I was A-okay getting a snippet of the course in Central Park – it meant I got to see the East River in a new and different way.
Best of luck to all those training for the NYC Marathon! It’s a tough one, but it’s totally worth the miles, stress and sore muscles. Enjoy!