How to rest – and sightsee – during New York City Marathon weekend.
There’s a chill in the air, a quiet excitement filling the boroughs, and this week, 50,000 fit, athletic people will raise New York City’s carbohydrate consumption exponentially.
It’s NYC Marathon week, my friends, and runners from across the globe are preparing for one of the world’s most iconic 26.2 races.
If you’re getting all tingly inside just thinking about that Central Park finish line, you’re not alone. I’m running November 6, too, and can’t really concentrate on anything but this weekend (which is probably why I’m writing a whole blog post about it!).
But as any experienced runner knows, you have a long time between landing in JFK or LGA and actually finishing the race. There’s travel, dining, the expo, meeting friends and, in a city like New York, sightseeing.
I may not be a marathon expert, but from my time on the trails, I can tell you all that activity is a recipe for a sore-legged disaster. Case in point? I ran the Disney Marathon last year, and realized after the fact that, um, walking around Animal Kingdom for eight hours wasn’t the greatest way (read: the worst way) to rest my legs two days before race day.
Well, you live and you learn. This time around, I’m kicking my feet up while eating enough carbs to feed a family of four. But, of course, that’s easy for me to do since I live here in NYC.
To help you out-of-town NYC Marathon runners sightsee in the big apple – without ruining your race performance – try some of these more relaxing, off-your-feet activities to enjoy the city this week.
1. Sightseeing Bus Tour
Yes, yes, it’s super touristy but if you haven’t been to NYC – and you’re running the marathon – why not take in all the sights while resting those legs? You can check a number of sights off that list of yours, including Empire State Building, Flatiron Building, Greenwich Village, and the ever-so-lovely (insert sarcasm here) Times Square. Your best option here? The All Around Town Tour from City Sightseeing.
2. NY Philharmonic
A trip to the NY Philharmonic is much more than musical classics; it’s an opportunity to experience the beautiful Lincoln Center — not to mention impeccable tunes. Another bonus? Before the show, you can take a stroll through nearby Central Park, the site of your soon-to-be victory line!
3. Broadway Play
I’ll be honest, Broadway is pretty hectic. And while the sitting may be relaxing, the actual getting there is anything but (cough, Times Square chaos, cough). But Broadway is also such an essential NYC experience, so if you haven’t done it (or you have and loved it!) add a show – I’d recommend Aladdin or American in Paris – to your race weekend agenda.
4. Dine With a View:
If there’s one thing every marathoner has on his/her to-do list, it’s eating. A loooot of eating. So why not pair that load de carbo with some big city views?
My favorites include the new City Vineyard, 230 Fifth and Tavern on the Green. Others I want to visit but haven’t made my way to yet include One World Trade (OneDine), Riverpark and, of course, the revolving restaurant, The View. (Side note – reservations are highly recommended at all of these places.)
5. Relax Along the Highline
You’ll be spending some major QT with Central Park on race day — expand those horizons and check out the Highline, Chelsea’s elevated park on the west side of Manhattan. While it can be a lot of walking, it doesn’t have to be. Grab a water, find a quiet spot, kick your feet up and get in some pre-race meditation or visualization. The Highline can get pretty crowded, but if you visit during morning or the weekday, you should be able to find a spot!
6. Hudson River Boat Tours
With my Hoboken as my home, I may be biased, but I really believe the best views of NYC are from the Hudson. I mean, you see all the big buildings, Lady Libs and the bridges you’ll be – gulp – running over on Sunday. NYC has a number of boat tours worth checking out, including easy, feet-up harbor cruises and adventurous speed boats.
7. Bowl at Chelsea Piers
I know, I know, you didn’t come all the way to NYC to bowl, but if you have children to occupy – but don’t feel like wearing out those legs – a relaxed bowling session could be the cure. And I mean, who doesn’t want a pre-race victory strike?
8. Museum of the Moving Image
Not necessarily a historic NYC site, the Museum of the Moving Image is interesting in its own right – it features unique audio/ visual shows and exhibits to help viewers understand the film and television industry. Stop by for an unusual, less touristy NYC experience.
9. Cafe Wha?
Last but not least, one of my favorite spots in all of NYC: Cafe Wha?. This underground music and comedy joint is where icons like Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen got their starts. Today, this West Village gem continues to feature an impressively talented house band and guest performers every night but Monday.
The only rough part about visiting this party joint during race week is, well, you can’t party. (Maybe it’s a post-race activity if you have poor self-control like yours truly…)
As race week kicks off, I hope each and every one of you runners has a restful, injury-free taper and travel. And for all of you spectators? Well, you guys just rock!
If you have any questions on what to do in NYC this race weekend, give me a shout below!