Top Tips on Using the NYRR Pace Team on Marathon Day—By the Pacers Themselves
If you are looking to hit a specific goal time on November 4, then run with the free NYRR Pace Team Presented by Biofreeze at the TCS New York City Marathon! Our seasoned team leaders will pace marathoners who are looking to finish in times between 3:00 and 6:00. Pacers will reach the half-marathon mark within two minutes (plus or minus) of the goal pace for the projected finishing time and will finish the marathon no more than two minutes faster than the goal time. As long as you keep your leader's sign in sight, you will remain on pace.
If you’ve never run with a pace team before, you may have some questions; answers can be found here. In addition, some of our expert pacers offer their top tips for preparing to run with a pace team and on race day.
I encourage everyone who runs with me to introduce themselves to me multiple times—at the expo, in the corrals, and along the course. My goal while pacing a marathon is to ensure I'm able to keep an eye on all those running with me. I take pacing seriously because it’s a massive responsibility, so I do my best to remember names and look out for people throughout the race.
If I’m able to remember you, then the odds are greater that I'll keep you in sight and make sure we hit that goal time. I'm taking the 4:00:00 group to the finish line this year, so I expect to have a huge group of folks with me throughout the race trying to hit a sub-4 hour marathon.
Listen to Your Pacer
Leave the headphones at home. If you don’t, you'll miss out on a lot. Not just the amazing crowds, bands, and gospel choirs, but all the useful information from your pacer about turns, hills, aid stations, splits, and so on. They will also encourage you and may even, in extremis, tell jokes or sing songs. Also, you don't want to miss the chance to build camaraderie with the rest of the pace group: at mile 22 every friend helps!
Enjoy the Race
My top tip for runners in my pace group is to enjoy the race. It is my job to keep us on track, remind runners to stay hydrated, field questions, monitor how runners seem physically, and make runners feel comfortable. Most importantly, I’m there to allow them to enjoy their race, now that all their training is done. I try to get all the runners to talk to one another and to me. And before the start of the race, I will let my runners know how I plan on pacing during the race so they know what to expect.
Pick the Right Pace
My first tip is to find us at the NYRR Running Lab at the expo. Many of us will be there throughout and we love to chat about running. You can also use the time to grab a free official pace band, review the course, and see which corrals which pacers will be in. If you find your exact pacer, take some time to get to know them and what their strategy will be: Will they slow down for Gatorade or water at fluid stations? Will they slow down going up a hill and speed up going down, or will they be go at an even pace all the way through? Each pacer should get you to the finish line about 30 seconds under the designated pace time, but there may be small differences in their pacing strategy.
On the day, look for us in the corals, as we are difficult to miss. We’ll be carrying huge wooden signs in the corrals with the pace per mile and finish time noted. Once we get out on course, we’ll have smaller wooden signs, which we’ll carry throughout the entire 26.2-mile course. We’re also in some incredibly great-looking new singlets, so we’ll be easy to spot.
When you run with us, buddy up. We like to chat, so you don’t feel the need to stay too far away. However, do give us a little elbow room, especially in the first four or five miles as we’ll still be navigating the crowds.
Also, we’re here to get you to a great finish, but this still means you need to pick the right pace for your trained abilities. If you have trained to finish in 3:55, a pacer will get you there. But we may not be able to get you to a 3:45, if you’re not trained for it.
Finally, remember to have fun. Running in a group is much easier than running on your own, and running in a group with a pacer is even easier. We’ll do all the thinking for you. All you have to do is keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Enjoy the Journey
As a pacer, I try to reassure people that we—as pacers—are there for them. It is all about ensuring the runners have a memorable marathon experience, whether it is their first marathon or their 10th. Running with a pace team—and other runners—can be a gratifying and humorous experience, one that will be forever imprinted on their minds.
People who use pacers will have memories and stories that they will share with people afterward. The friendships people make when running with a pace group can also last a lifetime, as will the joy of reaching or surpassing their goals of reaching that finish line.
Don’t Be Intimidated
For marathoners who've never run in a pace group before, it can be intimidating to run in a large group. Fear not! It is always nice to make new friends and it can be fun to share the journey together. Remember that most pacers are aiming to finish 30 seconds under their time goal. So, while it will be cool to finish ahead of your pacer, finishing just slightly behind your pacer will also get you to the finish by your goal. So remember—it is perfectly fine to stay at the back of the group. Just be sure to check with your pacer before the race to see if he or she is planning to finish 30 seconds ahead of the goal time.
Remember, on November 4, you can run—for free—with the NYRR Pace Team Presented by Biofreeze at the TCS New York City Marathon! For more information, click here.
Biofreeze is the #1 clinically recommended topical pain reliever and the Official External Pain Reliever of NYRR. Biofreeze uses cryotherapy (“cold therapy”) to help delay the onset of muscle soreness as well as provide temporary relief from aches/pains. Biofreeze is fast-acting, long-lasting, and nearly twice as effective as ice.
Biofreeze is especially effective for runners since it can be used before, during, and after workouts. It’s a great option for runners who want to be able to easily tackle their pain and soreness on their own. Biofreeze comes in four different forms—spray, roll-on, gel, and cream. Spray and roll-on are great for easy application, while gel and cream are effective at targeting specific areas. All forms can be found at your local retailer (CVS, Walgreens, Target, Walmart, etc.) and online. Learn more at biofreeze.com.