Tip of the Week: What’s Your Race Plan?

After several months of training the time has come for you to determine just how long is it going to take you to run the Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon. Whether your goal is to win or to simply finish the race on the same day you started, EVERYONE needs a race plan, regardless of pace or goals. It is extremely important that you look back at your training and be honest with yourself before choosing an arbitrary finish time based on how you thought or wanted your training to go. Pick a goal that is realistic and best reflects your current fitness level. Here are two options that you can utilize regardless of your experience or specific time goals.

Race Plan Options:
Option 1: EASY- That’s right, run the same EASY pace that you have been running every Saturday for the past few months. This is a great plan for first timers, or for those whose training didn’t go as well as expected. This pace is your comfort zone, you know it so well you can do it in your sleep. Treat race day like any other Saturday: a conversational paced run through the streets of Manhattan. This will ensure you achieve your ultimate goal: FINISH!!!

Option 2: Personal Record (PR)- You are an experienced runner, you started this season with a certain goal in mind and you are not going to let anything or anyone stand in your way on race day. Your training was flawless, and you have only one thing on your mind: PR! This option is perfect for those who have specific time goals.

Pacing Strategy:
Regardless of which race approach you choose, consistent pacing from start to finish is key. Instead of viewing the half marathon as 13.1 miles, let’s further simplify things and divide your race into three phases:

1) Phase 1- The Warm-Up: Consider miles 1-5 as your warm-up. Your goals during phase 1 are to establish your pace and, most importantly, make sure you DON’T go out too fast (the #1 mistake of the endurance athlete). During this phase it is recommended that you add a MINIMUM of 10 seconds/mile to your goal pace regardless if you choose option 1 or 2.

2) Phase 2- The Race: This is where your race begins. Your focus during miles 6-10 is goal pace. Your body is adequately warmed up, and it’s time to start thinking about that PR.

3) Phase 3- The Finish: It is at this point of the race that you want to run completely by feel. If you are feeling good and your race has gone as planned, you will find yourself running slightly faster than goal pace. There is no reason to hold back now. Go for it as you gradually increase the pace over the last 3.1 miles.

To help clarify the above, here is an example of a pacing plan:

Half Marathon Goal: 1:45 (8:01 pace/mile)

Miles 1-5:  8:11 pace (8:01-8:21)

To avoid going out too fast, add 10 seconds to your goal pace to determine your pace for the first 5 miles. Utilize  a +/- 10 second window to your goal time to ensure consistent pacing (8:01-8:11-8:21). Since the first 5 miles are considered your “warm-up,” it is more than ok if a few of your early miles are actually slower than 8:21/mile (i.e. crowds at the starting line, a much needed porta-potty stop, etc.).

Miles 6-10:  8:01 pace (7:51-8:11)

This is where the race begins and where you begin to focus on your goal half marathon pace (i.e. 8:01). Once again, utilize the +/- 10 second pacing window (7:51-8:01-8:11) to ensure consistent pacing from miles 6-10.

Miles 11-13.1
Run the last 3.1 miles (5K) completely by feel. If you are feeling good, gradually increase your pace over the last 3 miles. If everything goes according to plan, you will find yourself running slightly faster than goal pace during this phase.

+/- 10 second window? Why?  Well, the goal is consistent pacing throughout your race. It is nearly impossible to hit the same pace/mile for 13.1 miles. If you can stay within 10 seconds of your goal pace you are doing great job of being consistent. The more consistent you are with your effort level (i.e heart rate, respiration rate, etc.) the less energy you will waste and the better you will feel throughout your race.

TFK Alumni Training


New York Road Runners Team for Kids is thrilled to offer this free opportunity for our alumni to continue running with us. See details below to join us for our Thursday night TFK alumni weekly group run!

TFK Alumni Speed Series
Every Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
NYRR RUNCENTER Featuring the New Balance Run Hub

Stay fit, have fun and build speed and strength with Team for Kids! Coaches Asteria, Sid and Glen will alternate leading standalone speed workouts on Thursday nights for TFK alumni separate from other TFK event practices and training schedules. These workouts are not event specific and will positively benefit any runner training for all race distances, especially those planning a full or half-marathon. Interested runners should meet at 6:15 p.m. on Thursdays at the Run Center: lockers are available to store bags. Please note, unlike Open Run, this opportunity is exclusively for TFK alumni. Remember to check TFK social media for practice cancellations due to weather.

* Waiver: If you plan to participate in the TFK Alumni Speed Series, please complete the waiver linked here http://bit.ly/TFKWaiver

We look forward to staying connected and continuing to run with our alumni at these exciting sessions! If you have any questions, please contact us at teamforkids@nyrr.org.

Airbnb Brooklyn Half Volunteer Opportunity: PS 131 Shoe Distribution!


Calling all Team for Kids runners and alumni! Join New York Road Runners for a shoe distribution to the students of PS 131 in Brooklyn! We will be distributing over 500 pairs of shoes to Mighty Milers at PS 131 and we need your help. Join us by signing up by May 5th. *Lunch will be provided to all volunteers.*


May 19, 2017 | 8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

4305 Fort Hamilton Parkway, Brooklyn

Sign Up Instructions:

  1. Log in to your My NYRR account https://mynyrr.nyrr.org/login
  2. Click “Volunteer” on the left sidebar to then see the volunteer opportunities displayed at the top
  3. Scroll down to the “Volunteer for Weekly Races and Events” category.
  4. Click the blue “Volunteer” button next to the “Team for Kids Alum ONLY Mighty Milers Shoe Distribution.”
  5. Select “Team for Kids Alum ONLY Mighty Milers Shoe Distribution” opportunity once more, then scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Next” to move forward with the registration process.

This opportunity is open to 20 interested TFK runners and alumni and will be filled on a first-come first-served basis. If you have any questions, please email teamforkids@nyrr.org. Thanks in advance for helping us on Race Week!

Member Spotlight: Larry Buchanan

What event are you running with Team for Kids?
I’m running the Airbnb Brooklyn Half with New York Road Runners Team for Kids!

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
It seems like a great organization and if I was going to run anyway, why not try to raise some money, too!

Where is your favorite place to run and why?
I live in Carroll Gardens, around the corner from Red Hook, so I run in Red Hook a lot, down to Valentino Pier, and out to the end of the pier past Fairway. I’m often the only one out there, which is a feeling you don’t get many places in New York.

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
I just ran the Frozen Penguin Half along the Belt Parkway — it was 19 degrees — and made this Spotify playlist for it.  

What is your favorite post-run meal?
A cheeseburger.

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
In college. I started to get fat (and still probably am) and ran to not be so fat. My first half marathon was in Miami, Florida, with my wife and 3 of my best friends. It was one of worst experiences of my life. 80˚ in December, 100% humidity, and the course was just along one lane of the highway. It was brutal. But I got over it, ran a few more half marathons, then won the New York City marathon lottery — which isn’t much of a win, really, “Hey you have to run 26 miles now and we charged your credit card!” — 2 years ago and ran that. It was amazing. I still don’t particularly love running and have a hard time sticking to a training routine, so I ended up signing up for more races to force me to run, which seems like a losing strategy, but oh well. It’s better than sitting.

Tell us a little bit more about yourself.
I’m a graphics editor at The New York Times. My wife works for the city. We have a dog and a cat. My running coach, Kevin Quealy, is a fellow graphics editor at the Times. I am also, subsequently, his running coach.


Tip of the Week: Hydration

It’s pretty much common knowledge that it’s important to drink water, and you now know, drinking water regularly becomes even more important when training for a marathon.  60-70% of our bodies are made up of water.  Water is extremely important for your body’s functioning:  it feeds your cells, helps you digest and metabolize food, as well as regulates your blood volume and blood pressure.  In order to keep your body running well and efficiently, you have to replenish the water that you lose through sweat, urine, respiration (breathing) and avoid dehydration, which can significantly affect a runner’s performance.

How do you know if you’re dehydrated?  Common signs include thirst, dry mouth, headache, feeling lightheaded, and dark-colored urine.  Signs of severe dehydration can include cramps, chills, and even disorientation.  So, what is the best way to prevent dehydration?  Easy- drink fluids.   Drink them before, during, and after exercise.

How much should you drink?  First, of course, you should be drinking water throughout the day.  A good rule of thumb, drink your body weight x .6 (in ounces) on a daily basis.  To hydrate before your run, make sure you drink 8 to 16 oz of water 1 to 2 hours before a run (or at least try 6 to 8 oz 15-30 minutes before your run).  However, during your long runs, you should also be replenishing the water that you’re losing – about 6 to 8 oz of fluid every 20 minutes during a long run.  But most importantly, drink when you’re thirsty!  Your body is well-tuned to regulate itself, and if you just drink when you’re thirsty, you can avoid underhydrating (leading to dehydration) and overhydrating (hyponatremia). We highly recommend that you carry your own water during your long runs so you don’t have to rely on water fountains, etc. while running. A few great options include water bottles, hydration belts, and Camelbaks. (PLEASE NOTE: Some marathons, including the TCS New York City Marathon, do not allow Camelbaks on race day due to security restrictions. Please check the event code of conduct for your race).


An important component of staying hydrated is making sure that you are keeping your electrolytes in balance.  Electrolytes are minerals in your body fluids and blood that contain things like salt and potassium.  They directly affect the amount of fluids in your body, and you lose them when you sweat.  When your electrolytes (salt) fall out of balance during long runs, you run into problems like dehydration and possibly muscle cramping (the jury is still out on this).  So, when you run longer than 90 minutes, you should make sure that you are replacing these electrolytes.  There are a couple of ways that you can do this.

1- Electrolyte replacement drinks.  These are things like Powerade and similar sports drinks.  These drinks are best while you are running, but not so good if you’re just sitting around the house.  They have a high glycemic index (lots of sugar), and your body will use it immediately – which is GREAT when you’re running, but not so great when sedentary.  Coconut water, nature’s sports drink, also has electrolyte replenishment capabilities without the sugar rush – which is great for pre- and post-run electrolytes. Here’s an alternative to sports drinks that you can utilize when you are not exercising:
16oz of water
1/8tbsp of Celtic Sea Salt (NOT table salt)
Squeeze a little lemon, lime, orange, mint, etc. for flavor. Enjoy.

2- Salt.  If you notice that you are a “salty sweater” – namely that your face, hat, clothes are grimy with salt when you complete your run, even when you are drinking sports drinks during your run, you should think about taking in additional salt.  Every hour or so, take in the contents of your garden-variety salt packet.  Make sure that you carry your salt packets in a little plastic baggie.  Otherwise, your sweat will disintegrate the packets.  If you find that you are still leaving a salt trail behind you after your long runs, try taking a packet every 45 minutes.  You can also use electrolyte replacement (salt pills) such as Salt Stick… take approximately 1 pill an hour (dependent on body size and sweat production, how much salt you lose- “Salty Sweater”).

Member Spotlight: Maria Mercedes

What event are you running with Team for Kids?
I’m running the Airbnb Brooklyn Half with New York Road Runners Team for Kids!

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
Giving back to a good cause, cheering crowds and meeting new people!

Where is your favorite place to run and why?
Forrest Park, because a lot of runners are always running there and it has a pretty scenery.

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?

It’s a mix between dancing and hip-hop/rap

What is your favorite post-run meal?   

I have a thing for tacos and pizza

When did your relationship with running begin and why?  

Few years ago in high school but post-graduation I didn’t keep up with it much until post college – it keeps me exhausted, happy and in shape.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?

I will get back to you after I run my first half marathon on Sunday 🙂

Why did you choose to run with Team for Kids?

Because it makes me happy to give back and also help advocate on such good activity that is running! It’s a healthy and happy exercise!

Tell us a little more about yourself

I am a happy loving person! I love meeting new people, volunteering and giving back whenever I can! Currently work as an architect but I will be soon moving on to something bigger and better! I love dogs, taking pictures and traveling 🙂

Tip of the Week: Hills? What Hills?

Hill running is a type of repetition training. It involves intense, short workouts separated by relatively long recovery periods. Training on hills improves speed, muscle strength (power), cadence, foot strike, increases stride length, develops your cardiovascular system, and enhances your running economy. In short, hill running will make you a stronger, faster and a healthier runner (if done correctly of course).

Tips on Running Hills:

1. Shorten your stride so that your feet are close to the ground in order to minimize impact forces during the uphill and downhill.  Remember, we want to maintain a cadence of 90 spm (steps per minute).

2. Keep your feet pointing straight ahead, lead with your knees to utilize your core and hip flexors and maintain an upright posture (leaning forward from the ankles not your hips).

3. When running uphill, regardless whether it’s during a long run, a race or a workout, your goal is to maintain effort, NOT pace. Trying to maintain the pace you were running on the flat will leave you exhausted later in the workout or race. Efficiency is key for long distance running. The more consistent your pace, heart rate and breathing the more efficient and effective you will be.

4. If your breathing begins to quicken it means that you’re either going uphill too fast, over-striding or creating too much vertical displacement (bounding too far off the ground as you run).

5. Crest the hill. As you start approaching the top of the hill you will need to gradually increase your pace in order to maintain effort over the top of the hill as you start accelerating on the downhill.

6. The key to efficient downhill running is to stay in control. When you start running downhill, shorten your stride and let your turnover increase. When you feel in control, gradually lengthen your stride (avoid breaking).