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5 Last-Minute Tips for Running the New York City Marathon

The New York City Marathon is an incredible experience; make sure you don't forget these pointers.

Running the New York City Marathon ranks as one of the top 10 experiences in my life. Besides all of the usual excitement around a marathon, the New York City Marathon has a special energy due to the route exploring all five boroughs of this diverse city.

Sunday will be here in a flash. Whether this is your first or your back for a repeat, here are five race-specific tips that will help ensure you have a fun, safe race.

Bring extra clothes to the start.

Imagine corralling 50,000 people. This takes time. This is time that you will be possibly cold and doing mostly nothing. Dress warm and mediate, relax, or sleep. Bonus: Historically, volunteers give  clothes left at the start to those in need. The runners donated 26 tons of clothes in 2013.

Plan your exit from the finish.

There are over 50,000 cabs in New York City and every one of them is busy that morning. It’s possible to catch one with a walk away from the park, but don’t count on it. What is your back up plan? I was lucky enough to have a friend who lived seven blocks from the park. Maybe your hotel is close enough to walk? Or maybe you bum some ice from a café and elevate your legs for a while and wait it out. Sooner than later you need to get into bed and rest.

Put your name on the front of your shirt.

Ever wonder how it must feel to be an Olympic runner with everyone cheering you on? The closest many of us will ever get is the New York City Marathon. The city embraces this race with millions of spectators. Put your name large enough to read on the front of your shirt and entire neighborhoods will cheer for you. The crowds are 6-7 people deep and many just yell the name they can hear from the front row. It’s quite fun!

Study some New York City history before you go.

You still have time to do some reading or watch a film like American Experience: New York: A Documentary Film by Ric Burns. You’re running through an entire city with one of the most interesting, diverse, and complex histories in the U.S. Knowing a little about how it became what it is today will just enhance your moment-to-moment appreciation of all the sights, smells and sounds of New York.

Look out for celebrity runners.

Every year a number of high-profile celebrities run the New York City Marathon. While you’re unlikely to “run” into a celebrity, it’s fun to share a race with them. In 2007, I ran the race with Katie Holmes and Lance Armstrong. Since then, Edward Norton, Ryan Reynolds and Sean “Diddy” Combs among others have toed up the the Staten Island start line. This year, Alicia Keys, Ethan Hawke and others are planning to run.

Now you are ready to get out there on Nov. 1. Prepare for one of the top 10 experiences of your life and enjoy every minute of it!

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About the Author:  Eric Schweitzer, DPT, OCS—a board-certified Doctor of Physical Therapy, author, professor, runner and triathlete—has practiced physical therapy for more than 15 years.  He runs a successful physical therapy practice, Premier Physical Therapy, located in Clearwater, Florida; a running performance studio called Premier Run & Fit inside the St. Pete Running Company; and is the founder of IdealRun, a personalized online running gait analysis. Dr. Schweitzer is an expert in running science and has long seen patients with running injuries or pain. He is truly a pioneer in the area of running science, creating a system of gait analyses and recommended drills and exercises that have given his patients the ability to continue running, prevent future injury and enhance their running. Through IdealRun, he has been able to offer this analysis to athletes across the country. Find more at: & Twitter: @RunTampaBay Facebook: