For many New Yorkers, the first Sunday of November can be a remarkable day.
About 52,000 people took to the streets in 2018 to run from Staten Island to Brooklyn, to Queens, to the Bronx, before finally making their way after 26.2 miles to New York's Central Park as part of the TCS New York City Marathon. Lining the streets are roughly 1 million spectators cheering them on.
For my dad and me, it'll be an especially remarkable day. It'll be the first time either of us has run the marathon.
We're no strangers to the distance — each of us ran the Chicago marathon last October, and we both have a number of half marathons under our belt.
But we'll be facing different challenges with New York. While Chicago was an extremely flat course, we'll have to contend with bridges and hills along the way. Plus, I took close to two weeks off intense marathon prep while honeymooning in Spain. We'll also be contending with what could be the coolest temperatures we've run marathons in — which could be for better or worse.
For Business Insider, we'll be writing about our experience training for and running the route for the first time. To kick it off, here's a bit about us, how we're training, and what our hopes are for the big day.
Lydia, 26 — Just here to finish
When did you start running? I started running in 2014 as a way to stay active while at school, and it gave me a chance to take advantage of the lakefront paths in Evanston, Illinois.
After I graduated and moved to New York, it was my way to get out and explore the new neighborhoods I lived in.
My first big race was in October 2016, when my dad and I ran the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in Brooklyn.
Training gear: Nike and Outdoor Voices make up the bulk of my current workout wardrobe, along with race tees from past races.
You can almost always find me out running in Brooklyn's Prospect Park in my trusty Cubs hat listening to a podcast.
To track my runs, I use Strava. I like getting to give my friends "kudos" through the app, and it's an easy way for me to see my mileage for the week.
Last race: I ran the New York City Half Marathon on March 17. The race was one of the coldest I've run, and it was the first time I'd run between Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Needless to say, my knees weren't too pleased with me after the fact, and I had to take a few weeks off. I'm hoping I won't have the same problem with the marathon.
Total marathons: One, last year's Chicago Marathon. As I finished, I thought "Wow, I've been running for such a long time."
Training so far: Over the summer, I worked to get consistent with my runs, aiming to run or cross-train with yoga every day of the workweek, with a longer run on the weekend. I got married in August, which threw me off my training regimen for a little bit. I did manage to get one run in with my dad and one of my bridesmaids the weekend of the wedding and a few runs in on my honeymoon in Spain.
How I'm training from now until the race: It's time to ramp up the mileage. My plan is to go for frequency rather than distance, so I'll aim to run 4-5 weekdays around Prospect Park (between 3 and 4 miles). This past weekend, I went for a 9-mile run, and I'll plan to keep increasing that distance over the next few weeks. Prior to Chicago, the longest I'd run was 14 miles in my training, but I'm thinking I might want a bit more length this time around.
I also plan to prepare for the hills by focusing on them in my training, either by picking hillier routes or planning to run up and down a hill in intervals. I'll supplement my running with yoga, with the hope of preventing any knee issues this time around.
Goal for New York City Marathon: I'm looking forward to running the course beyond where I've cheered on others in the past. My only big goal for the race is to survive the hills and bridges. Running last year in Chicago showed me that I can run a marathon, but it remains to be seen if I can run a marathon on something other than flat terrain.
Chris, 56 — So excited to run the New York City Marathon with my daughter!
When did you start running? I've run on and off since my college years, but hadn't run any organized races until my 50s.
I really started running consistently after a doctor visit in 2011 said my cholesterol was high. I figured that to stay in the habit I needed to run every day, so I go seven days a week. At a follow-up doctor visit a few months later, I was told my cholesterol was better, and I didn't need medication. So I was thrilled that exercise could help.
A few years later, Lydia suggested running in a local Turkey Trot, which we did together a few times. Then in 2016, she suggested we run in a half marathon in Brooklyn.
Before the Brooklyn run, I had been using Hoka Cliftons, and a couple weeks prior switched to a different model of Hoka. The week before the race, I developed tendinitis in my left Achilles tendon. The doctor prescribed a rehab boot to wear, and said I couldn't run the race.
But I still travelled to Brooklyn, dressed for the race, accompanied Lydia to the start, and then said, "What the heck", and ran it anyway.
Well, hopped it really.
It was definitely more tiring to hop the race in the boot than simply running. But I did finish the 13.1 miles in a reasonable time for my first true half. I did get many fun comments from other runners and spectators along the way, like, "Does your doctor know you're doing this?"
Then I was completely hooked on full-scale organized runs.
Training gear: Hoka One One Cliftons. Before an organized race I buy a brand new pair of Cliftons and use them for the first time on race day. I like that Hokas have a lot of cushioning and using a brand new pair means the cushioning is at its maximum.
Last race: I ran the New Orleans Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in February 2019 and the Chicago Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in July 2019.
Total marathons: Three, hopefully four by November. I'm signed up for the Chicago Marathon in October.
Training so far: My training has been to continue running my daily distance of 4.8 miles, which takes me about 40 minutes.
I typically don't run long runs because I find they wipe me out for too long after. Plus, I'd need to figure out how to stay hydrated along my route. Before a race, I'll run six miles once or twice in preparation.
How I'm training from now until the race: Make it through the Chicago Marathon with a reasonable finish time. Then I'll take a few days off and resume my daily routine for a couple more weeks. I'm hopeful that I will be fully recovered from it in a week or so. My practice is to take the two days before a marathon completely off of running. Before a half-marathon I'll take the one day off before the run.
Goal for New York City Marathon: Enjoy the scenery, the spectators, and the neighborhoods! One of my favorite things about running marathons is to see city neighborhoods up close at jogging speed.
My goal will be to soak up the atmosphere, see the five boroughs, and run with Lydia!