Ever wondered what the NYC Marathon would feel like as a relatively short treadmill workout? Use the guides below to test out how the marathon would feel through pacing and treadmill elevations. The timing coordinates to the album, Marathoners Rocking New York as a mental training playlist. Each song coordinates with the sections and feel of the event. Every 1 min 30 sec is 1 mile, so you can get a sense of how long each section is relative to the race in under an hour.
NYC Marathon Treadmill Workout Pacing and Elevation
Use this table as a guide to the elevations and speeds. The example speeds/paces are for a 4 hour marathon. This workout can be done at any pace, use the “Rough Pace” column to determine the pace by feel or your goal marathon race pace (RP).
The elevations are a rough guide to the percentage inclines on the hills. The main bridges are all about a 4% grade or 4.0 elevation on a treadmill. The Verrazano, Pullaski, and Queensboro bridges are the biggest hills along the NYC Marathon course. There are rolling hills throughout which is why many of the songs alternate between 1.0 & 2.0. The warm-up & cool down are 0.0’s as well as the downhills (if you have a treadmill that declines you can go negative on “It Gets Me High” and “The Flow.”) There are noticeable uphills on 5th Ave and in Central Park (particularly in the last .2 of a mile before the finish line.)
This workout can be used to practice your marathon race pace strategy at any pace. The “Rough Pace” column shows you how to apply the pacing to the average race pace you’d like to run. The “Example Speed” and 4 hr Pace/mile columns applies the pacing for some one training for a 4 hour marathon. In general, you want to start the race extra easy (particularly going over the Verrazano Bridge) and keep it comfortable through Brooklyn (half of the race.) Taking the downhills a little faster than the previous song helps simulate the feeling of going downhill (but be careful not to take it too fast.) Then if you want to have a negative split, you have to ramp up the speed so that the second half is faster than the first. This is extremely difficult, particularly in the NYC Marathon, so it helps to practice this strategy.
Marathoners Rocking New York Track Guide
The track list below gives you a guide on how the Marathoner Rocking New York songs relate to the geography and mental strategy of the NYC Marathon course.
- Staten Island Prologue
Time: 2:08 | Tempo: 180 bpm | Treadmill Elevation: 1.0 | Start Line: Staten Island
This song is meant as a warm-up. On race day runners unavoidably spend a long time on Staten Island trying to shake away the jitters and get mentally psyched up. Take this song very slow, just use it to get the blood flowing before that first big hill. Here are some strategies for quelling race day nerves.
Time: 2:28 | Tempo: 180 bpm | Treadmill Elevation: 4.0 | Miles 0-2: The Verrazano Bridge
The race starts on the Verrazano Bridge. It also happens to be the biggest hill you’ll face the whole day. Since it’s so close to the beginning you’ll barely feel the 4% incline of the hill, but try not to take it too hard and save your energy for the rest of the race.
- Do It Like Joan
Time: 3:54 | Tempo: 180 bpm | Treadmill Elevation: 1.0 | Miles 2-4: 4th Ave Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
The first few miles of the race should be spent trying to set your pace and getting comfortable. Once you get onto 4th Ave the roads will be relatively flat and the crowds will be thick. Stay cool, try to set the pace for your own race.
- Brooklyn, Take It Easy
Time: 2:04 | Tempo: 180 bpm | Treadmill Elevation: 2.0 | Miles 4-6: 4th Ave, Sunset Park, Brooklyn
4th Ave contains a few gently rolling hills, thus the 2% incline in the middle of this section. Again, the crowds are going to get you excited but try to remember to take it easy at this point because there’s a lot of tough stuff ahead of you.
- I’ll Show You
Time: 2:48 | Tempo: 180 bpm | Treadmill Elevation: 1.0 | Miles 6-8: 4th Ave, Park Slope, Brooklyn
More 4th Ave… Remember half of the race takes place in Brooklyn and most of that is on 4th Ave, to a non-marathoner 8 miles is a long run by itself. If you’re from Brooklyn you’ll probably feel like it flies by as you have all kinds of positive memories that come up as you cross the entire borough. It’s time to show the world what you’ve got.
- Marching Band High School
Time: 3:14 | Tempo: 180 bpm | Treadmill Elevation: 2.0 | Miles 8-10: Ft Greene-Clinton Hill, Brooklyn
Right before the 8 mile marker you’ll take a slight left and then a hard right onto Lafayette. This is where the Brooklyn leg of the course starts to change. Throughout the marathon you’ll see over a hundred curb side bands out to entertain and encourage the runners. The first band to ever perform for the event was the Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School Band a few blocks after the turn onto Lafayette. Cheer on the bands as you run by it’s a marathon for them too. There’s also a noticeable in the middle of this section.
- It Gets Me High
Time: 4:02 | Tempo: 180 bpm | Treadmill Elevation: 0.0 | Miles 10-13: Willamsburg-Greenpoint, Brooklyn
The first few blocks of Williamsburg are very quiet as you go through the Hasidic neighborhood. Use this gap to check in and mentally prepare for the party that is the rest of Williamsburg. You’ll see great bands and fans out in force along Bedford Ave and through the left into Greenpoint. This is also one of the relative downhills along course so it’s easy to get carried away in the excitement.
- 13.1, Halfway Done
Time: 1:03 | Tempo: 180 bpm | Treadmill Elevation: 4.0 | Miles 13-13.5: The Pullaski Bridge
You leave Brooklyn and enter Queens via the Pullaski Bridge. While on the bridge you’ll see a great view of the midtown Manhattan skyline and the 13.1 mile (halfway point) marker. It’s a steep bridge with a 4% incline but at least it’s short compared to the Verrazano and Queensboro bridges.
- Queens (Rockaway is So Far Away)
Time: 2:07 | Tempo: 180 bpm | Treadmill Elevation: 1.0 | Miles 13.5-15: Long Island City, Queens
Compared to Brooklyn time in Queens goes by in a flash. It’s only about a mile & a half (not including the bridges. The crowds are a great relief between the two bridges. This part of Queens is a mix of the old industrial buildings and one the the biggest up and coming neighborhoods of the city.
- The Queensboro Bridge Song
Time: 1:56 | Tempo: 180 bpm | Treadmill Elevation: 4.0 | Miles 15-16: The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge
The Queensboro bridge is another long hill. You’ll probably feel it more than the Verrazano because you’ll be more tired. Also it is noticeably quiet without all the crowds and bands that have been encouraging you along the rest of the course. You really have to keep your mind in check as you prepare for the last 10 miles of the race.
- Thank You, First Avenue
Time: 2:34 | Tempo: 180 bpm | Treadmill Elevation: 1.0 | Miles 16-18: 1st Ave, Manhattan.
This is a big favorite part of the course for most runners. The crowds along 1st Ave when you come off of the Queensboro Bridge are known as “The Wall of Sound.” They are so loud and boisterous they’ll make you feel like a rock star. If you have your name clearly written across your shirt they will literally be calling your name out as you pass.
- The Flow
Time: 1:52 | Tempo: 180 | Treadmill Elevation: 0.0 | Miles 18-19.5: 1st Ave, Manhattan
First Avenue is another long straightaway on the course. You can really lose yourself through this section because it is a gradual downhill. Also, it is much wider and more spaced out than the roads in Brooklyn and Queens so it’s much easier to find your pace without having to do a lot of weaving between runners. This is a place to gain some speed, but do so cautiously because you’ll need juice to get back uphill later.
- Welcome To The Bronx
Time: 1:34 | Tempo: 180 | Treadmill Elevation: 2.0 | Miles 19.5-21: The Bronx
The Bronx is book ended by two bridges. These bridges have relatively gentle inclines compared to the other bridges on the course. You spend less time in the Bronx itself than Queens. It relatively flat but there are a lot of twists and turns. You’ll hit 20 miles in the Bronx which may be a huge milestone if that was the longest distance you ran in training. The entertainment and crowds in the Bronx will get you psyched up too.
- Keep On Moving
Time: 3:00 | Tempo: 93 (or 186) bpm | Treadmill Elevation: 1.0 | Miles 21-23: Harlem, Manhattan
After you leave the Bronx you’ll run through Harlem and around Marcus Garvey Park. You might be feeling the fatigue at this point (especially depending on how you’re doing with nutrition and hydration.) This is when the mental game becomes really important because it can make or break you. You have to will yourself through the last few miles and not let yourself get pulled down by the voices in your head or pains in your body that make you want to stop.
- 5th Ave: So Close But So Far
Time: 2:12 | Tempo: 188 bpm | Treadmill Elevation: 2.5 | Miles 23-24.5: 5th Ave, Manhattan
5th Ave is one of the most challenging sections of the course. It is a long uphill that feels compounded by the exhaustion of running over 20 miles. Many runners slow down and walk through this section because the finish line is still out of sight despite how long you’ve been running. You have to mentally will yourself through this and let the cheers of the crowds pull you through.
- Hilly Streets
Time: 2:10 | Tempo: 188 bpm | Treadmill Elevation: start on 2.5 & take it down .5 for each verse | Miles
The rolling hills on the lower loops of Central Park may feel relatively easy at the end of 5 mile races or training runs, but they can feel excruciating at the end of the New York City Marathon. They are more downhill than uphill but you will feel both and the downhill may actually feel more painful than the uphill depending on how your quads and knees have fared through the rest of the race.
- Finish Line Medley
Time: 2:24 | Tempo: 190 | Treadmill Elevation: start on 1.0 and raise 2.0 halfway and 3.0 for the last verse |Miles 25.5-26.2: Central Park South to Tavern on the Green, Manhattan
As you exit the park onto Central Park South you can rest assured you are in the FINAL leg of the race. When you get to Columbus Circle there will be a right turn back into the park. The crowds are thick at this point cheering runners into the finish. Unfortunately you have to finish the race on a noticeable uphill, but hopefully the adrenaline will kick in and it won’t matter. You made it! You’re a marathoner!
- Central Park Epilogue
Time: 5:16 | Tempo: 180 | Treadmill Elevation: 0.0 | Miles 26.2+: The waddle out of Central Park
When you first cross the finish line you might not feel like partying. There will be relief that you can stop running but your mind will be a blur of thoughts and emotions. You’ve been focusing and enduring for so long it’s hard to let go and come back to reality. You may feel proud or frustrated if it did go well. Either way it’s still a great accomplishment.
Total Time = 46:47 (The distance depends on how fast you are…)
Helpful resources –
More on the NYC Marathon Course Strategy:
NYC Marathon Pacing: