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NYC City Guide for Runners

October 25, 2022 7 min read

NYC City Guide for Runners

Another major marathon... another city guide, this time: The Zensah NYC City Guide, our way of celebrating the incomparable TCS New York City Marathon, which will be run on November 6 through five famous boroughs and millions of spectators. There's just nothing like it on Earth, and after all those months helping many of you with training gear we're here to get you ready with tips, tricks, hangouts and insights from many of our friends, ambassadors and athletes we adore.

We thought about writing an intro, but it turns out our NYC resident, friend, runner, and ambassador Alli Felsenthal said it better than we EVER could.

Alli Felsenthal: "The NYC marathon is exhilarating. If anyone is going to run a world major, NYC is BY far the most energetic and vibrant of the three in the USA. It's a net uphill, but the energy throughout the course from the end of the Verrazano bridge through Central Park is just something else. Please take advantage of the long journey to the start line because it's an adventure. You hop on the ferry, then you're escorted to buses that take you to the actual starting line of the marathon with all of the Dunkin Donuts Tents and endless time waiting to start your race. It's somewhat of a zoo at the start, so if you can bring extra layers, I'd highly recommend doing so. Be careful not to go out too fast on the Verrazano bridge, and it's hard to anyways because it's slightly uphill, and then downhill into Brooklyn on Mile 2. Have the discipline to stay in the mile you're in, and pace yourself through Brooklyn into Long Island City, which takes you past the 13.1-mile marker. It's easy to get caught up on the cross and take advantage of the flat course and energy in the race's first half. The Queensboro Bridge feels almost like the start of a different race. All you can hear are footsteps stomping on the bridge, and no spectators are allowed. 

"The crowds" are ROARING when heading into Manhattan and coming off the bridge onto first avenue. If you have ever seen Brittany Runs A Marathon and run the NYC Marathon, YOU WILL BREAK OUT IN TEARS. It's the best thing I've seen to prep you and get you amped for what this moment is like in the NYC Marathon. Mile 17 is where my old apartment is on 71st and 1st and about the place to mentally prepare yourself for the most challenging part of the race to come, not just because of the nature of the end of any marathon, but the net uphill part of it. First avenue takes you into the Bronx, looping around onto 5th Avenue which is slightly uphill the entire way heading into Central Park. The crows are incredible; let the energy carry you, but just focus on putting one step in front of another, especially heading into Central park during the last 10K of the Marathon. Mile 25 takes you up to Columbus Circle, and it hurts, but you have your sights at that point basically set on the finishing line, a slight right-hand turn at Columbus Circle into Central Park to cross the 26.2-mile marker. Your life will never be the same once you run the NYC Marathon."

 

 

Can you describe the NYC Marathon and how the course feels for you?

“The NYC marathon is exhilarating. If anyone is going to run a world major, NYC is BY far the most energetic and vibrant of the three in the USA. It's a net uphill, but the energy throughout the course from the end of the Verrazano bridge through Central Park is just something else. Please take advantage of the long journey to the start line because it's an adventure… - Distance Running Coach, Marathoner, Podcaster, Alli Felsenthal

 

“It's the best day of the year. There's nothing like 50,000 runners and hundreds of thousands of spectators coming together on the streets of NYC. The energy is electric.” -Athlete, Writer, TV Host, Avid Traveler (and a lot more that wouldn’t fit here), Karla Bruning 

 

“The course is the most challenging of the six Abbott World Marathon majors, but the crowds will pull you through in your toughest moments.”- 10x Boston, 10x NYC Marathoner Runs NYC...and Podcast, Ron Romano


“This is round 7 in the big Apple! By far, the best race in the entire world!”-Bryan Botma aka Pace Pusher

 

What iconic NYC places do you recommend visiting?

“Walk the Highline. See Bethesda Fountain in Central Park and the Poets Walk. The Strand original bookstore at Broadway and 12th St. Museum Mile - the Guggenheim, The Met, or my favorite, Klimt’s “Woman In Gold '' painting at the Neue Galerie. Union Square market. Do an old pub like Fraunces Tavern near Wall Street as you walk by the NYSE. See a show on Broadway. Take the train up to the NY Botanical Garden in The Bronx.” -Marathon Maniac in Zensah’s Calf Sleeves, Author, and Finisher: Mark Newman

 

“Central Park…I know it sounds cliché, but the size and span of it in the center of the busiest city in the world is so magnificent! The carousel, the zoo, the quietness of the park…it’s just surreal.  Last year before the race we took our son to the playground, rested our legs as he ran around with all the other kids.”-Bryan Botma aka Pace Pusher


“You have your pick of the best museums, art galleries, and iconic landmarks to explore. Little Island is a fun new beautiful public park, a unique urban oasis located in Hudson River Park, a wonderful venue to explore with spectacular views.”- 10x Boston, 10x NYC Marathoner Runs NYC...and Podcast, Ron Romano

Where are the best places to run in NYC?

“Honestly, my favorite place to run in the entire world is Central Park. You only get a tiny glimpse of it during the marathon. There are so many delightful nooks and crannies off the main road--the Conservatory Garden, the Ramble, Bow Bridge, waterfalls after the rain. It's magical. I always recommend runners get lost in Central Park when visiting the city. I also love running the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway. You can run *almost* entirely around the island along the water. It's one of my favorite long run routes. Head down the Hudson River path toward Battery Park for views of the Statue of Liberty in the distance.” -Athlete, Writer, TV Host, Avid Traveler (and a lot more that wouldn’t fit here), Karla Bruning 

 

“Central Park, but do the bridle path with packed clay where marathoners train, and include a loop around the Reservoir. Run across the towering GW Bridge from NJ all the way down the West Side Highway to Battery Park for 12 miles. Prospect Park is a great course that’s home to part of the Brooklyn Half.NYC is runner paradise.”- Marathon Maniac in Zensah’s Calf Sleeves, Author, and Finisher: Mark Newman

 

“Central Park comes to life this time of year. Elites are out there every day, hosting shakeouts, it's a great chance to meet your running idols.”- 10x Boston, 10x NYC Marathoner Runs NYC...and Podcast, Ron Romano 

 

 

 

What running stores/athletic stores are you getting your gear from in NYC? 

“I’ve been a Super Runner Shop customer for 15 years and you always get what you need like Zensah Calf Sleeves or energy gels or new tread for the feet, various locations. Fleet Feet/Jackrabbit at Union Square. Modell’s for sporting goods.”- Marathon Maniac in Zensah’s Calf Sleeves, Author, and Finisher: Mark Newman

 

“Fleet Feet Columbus Circle (formerly New York Running Company) at 10 Columbus Circle where we will be reentering Central Park to the Finish Line at Tavern on the Green.”- 10x Boston, 10x NYC Marathoner Runs NYC...and Podcast, Ron Romano


"I would recommend Fleet Feet (they're everywhere, especially Columbus Circle - super easy, Brooklyn Running Co. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, or Park Slope, Brooklyn. The specialists that work in both stores are qualified for the job and take the time to learn about you as a runner, especially while getting fitted for a new pair of running shoes :) Super important for injury prevention, just to add :)- - Distance Running Coach, Marathoner, Podcaster, Alli Felsenthal

 

“No question, REI in Soho is where I go for everything outdoors. I formerly lived nearby in East Village so it always feels like coming back to my stomping grounds. I always check into REI when I'm in the city to check out their Zensah assortment." - Runner & Zensah Marketing Director, Sarah Humphries

 

 

 

What are the best places to get a healthy meal or best places to eat/treat yourself after the race?

“My favorite treat spot is Shake Shack. It's a classic! After a long run, I often crave a milkshake. Shake Shack always hits the spot. If you love ice cream like me, try Ample Hills. They have a few locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. The flavors are really creative and downright delicious.” -Athlete, Writer, TV Host, Avid Traveler (and a lot more that wouldn’t fit here), Karla Bruning 

 

“Nizza in Hell’s Kitchen (630 9th Avenue) is one of my go to places that serves amazing gluten free pasta, pizza and bread. They also can prepare vegan and dairy free items and are very careful for those with food allergies.”- 10x Boston, 10x NYC Marathoner Runs NYC...and Podcast, Ron Romano

“Patsy’s Italian Restaurant near Carnegie Hall has been known for years as the restaurant Frank Sinatra made famous. Divya’s Kitchen, Bunna Cafe, ABC Kitchen and Bareburger for healthy fare. Gotta stop at a deli for a bagel!”- Marathon Maniac in Zensah’s Calf Sleeves, Author, and Finisher: Mark Newman

 

“There is no shortage of food options in NYC!! Pre race I always go grab pasta from one of the restaurants in Eatly in the flatiron district. After, it’s a free for all!  The best burger in the city (personal opinion) is Au Cheval near SOHO.”-Bryan Botma aka Pace Pusher

 

“It's NYC; don't worry about anything but bagels and pizza before and after a marathon. And have a GREAT race.”- Distance Running Coach, Marathoner, Podcaster, Alli Felsenthal

 

 

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