Training for the New York City Marathon: My Top Tips for Summer Running

The morning of July 4th, 2023, was a memorable one for me – not because of the holiday, but because it marked the start of my 18-week marathon training journey. I vividly remember the excitement, the neon yellow training outfit, and my pre-run warm-up routine, all captured for posterity on Instagram. Despite it being only eight in the morning, the New York summer heat was already intense. It became clear right then that training for the NYC Marathon in the summer would be a battle against the weather.

While I’m not running a marathon this fall, many others are starting their journeys toward 26.2 miles. If that’s you, read on. Here’s what I learned during my first marathon training experience, specifically in the context of summer running.


If you’ve run on one of the first warm days of summer, you’ve probably noticed your pace is slower than usual. It’s easy to get discouraged by how quickly you feel fatigued in the heat, and it still catches me off guard every year. But try not to be too hard on yourself. You haven’t suddenly lost your fitness or running foundation.

In hot weather, our bodies work harder to circulate blood to our skin and produce sweat for natural cooling. This means your heart is working harder, and so is everything else. Don’t be surprised if you struggle to maintain your usual pace. Your body will adapt to the temperature eventually.

While a slower pace due to the heat can be frustrating, it’s essential to avoid pushing yourself too hard and risking heatstroke. A wearable heart rate tracker like a Fitbit or Apple Watch can help keep you safe by ensuring you stay within your target heart rate zone.


Our bodies have a built-in cooling system, but it comes at a cost. When we sweat, we lose not only water but also electrolytes. These are vital minerals like sodium, magnesium, and potassium that our bodies need to function properly. Hydration is essential for runners year-round, but in the summer, when you sweat more, it’s crucial to replenish these lost electrolytes.

You’ve likely heard about electrolytes before. They’re a hot topic in the running world, and there are countless electrolyte mixtures and tablets available. If you’re looking for a holistic option with sodium and added carbohydrates, check out LMNT’s flavored tablets (some are even caffeinated). These have been a staple in my outdoor summer activities for years.

For heavy sweaters like myself, I became a fan of drinking LMNT after intense training runs. LMNT focuses solely on sodium, which helps replenish what we lose through sweat. The salty taste might not appeal to everyone, but for me, it felt like a much-needed recovery drink after three hours of cardio.

Pre-run Meal

Fueling your body before long runs can mean the difference between a bad run and a personal best. My go-to during marathon training, and still before any long run, is a simple bowl of oatmeal. It’s light enough to avoid nausea in the morning sun but provides sustained energy. I always crave a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel after my runs.

When I want something different, I make overnight oats, sometimes with a banana for extra potassium, another essential electrolyte for preventing muscle cramps.


A sports doctor and avid triathlete friend told me that runners shouldn’t go more than 60 minutes without some form of energy. This wasn’t my favorite advice to receive, as I have a sensitive stomach and have always been wary of energy gels and chews. He recommended Scratch Chews, an easy-on-the-stomach option, and I’ve been hooked ever since. The raspberry flavor is my favorite.


Once you have your fuel, you need to decide how to carry it. One of my best running investments is the FlipBelt. On marathon day, my belt was packed with three pouches of Scratch Chews, my phone, apartment keys, a filled water bottle, and my AirPods. Despite being full, I barely noticed the belt while running thanks to the lightweight material and sleek fit.

Eye Protection

Some days, getting up before sunrise just wasn’t an option, so I invested in Goodr sunglasses. These lightweight shades are now a staple in my routine, protecting my eyes not only from the sun but also from wind and rain.


Sunglasses and running belts are nice to have, but good footwear is essential for any runner. I won’t try to recommend a specific shoe – every body is different – but I strongly suggest taking the time to understand your own feet. Are you flat-footed? Do your feet pronate inward? Do you have weak hips that put extra strain on your IT band and ankles?

When I started running, I didn’t know the answers to these questions (or even what some of those terms meant). I quickly learned after developing injuries from improper footwear, incorrect running form, and poor cross-training. Basically, I didn’t know my own body. Fortunately, many running stores offer free gait analyses to help you find the perfect shoe. For New York runners, check out JackRabbit, where I found the shoe that helped me achieve my marathon goal.

Don’t underestimate the benefits of researching your footwear instead of blindly buying the latest trendy sneaker. The latter might get you Instagram likes, but the former will save you weeks of physical therapy.

Give Yourself Grace

It’s a marathon, not a sprint. You will feel tired, doubt yourself, and probably develop some aches and pains that will sideline you for a few days. But you will also surprise yourself, learn something new from each run, and become physically and mentally stronger. Race day is great, but it’s the training that’s truly the gift. Be kind to yourself, do your best to stay cool, fueled, and healthy, and most importantly, enjoy the journey.

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