How to Run 20 (almost) Uninterrupted Miles in Manhattan to Train for the New York City Marathon

How to Run 20 (almost) Uninterrupted Miles in Manhattan to Train for the New York City Marathon

When training for the New York City Marathon, every single weekend of your life is mapped out with a running schedule. So it is extremely important to get creative when you have one of these long training runs. NYC has an endless amount of parks and running paths. However, that can be different for each person based on where they live or what they want to experience on their runs. Due to its busy streets and lack of green space, running in Manhattan has its challenges. And when you have 20 miles to run, it takes even more planning!

Feeling tired of the same mundane runs, we wanted to do something different. We’ve done training runs in the past over the Brooklyn Bridge–hello overcrowded and tourists everywhere. So we decided instead of heading to Brooklyn, we would stay in Manhattan and see how it goes.

Important tips!

  1. NYC does not have mile markers, so it is important to plan all of this out BEFORE your run and not think you can just figure it out along the way.
  2. Water is not very prevalent and all water fountains may have been used for something not very clean very recently, bring your water with you. We typically use a Nathan Hydration Belt as they do not cause chaffing, have four water bottles, and snap on and off easily. 
  3. 20 miles is a long training run, bring your snacks as you would for the big day. We like Cliff Shot Bloks because they are easy to carry, taste great, and can even give you a little caffeine boost!
  4. For this run, it was a cold and rainy day. The weather in New York can change on a dime, so be sure to layer and dress appropriately.

Running in Manhattan!

We went along the Hudson River Path and made it under the George Washington Bridge to find the little red lighthouse. This is such a cool little NYC site that many people do not know about. It is a great spot to stop for a quick picture and a drink of water!

After the lighthouse, there is an incline to get back on the path–these inclines are absolutely critical in training for the Marathon, the more, the better–and we eventually made it into Washington Heights and Fort Tryon Park. This park is gorgeous and is an ideal spot to see some puppies and usually find an engagement photo shoot happening as well. It is also where The Cloisters are located, so it would be a great place to stop if you are doing a shorter run. This park is a short part of the run but a really enjoyable experience, even more so in the fall because of the foliage.

From there, we headed back on the streets and made it into Inwood, another neat little neighborhood. Manhattan has expanded a tremendous amount within the past 10 years, and now there are fun bars and restaurants all over the main strip on Dyckman Street.

We then proceeded through a few streets–not too busy either–into the next part of our run, Inwood Park. On this cold and rainy day, we felt like we had this park to ourselves. We continued on the paved paths and made it into the main area of the park. It was wooded but with great water and train views along the way, this is such a beautiful and serene little park. Fun fact, this is the only old growth forest on the entire island of Manhattan! After we did our loop here, we started on our journey home.

The journey home is always funny on these long runs, you are so tired that it feels like you’ve been running for days. That’s why it is especially important to change it up on the way back! This time, instead of going back past the little red lighthouse, we went up and onto the George Washington Bridge running path. This gives absolutely iconic views of NYC. It is worth it in spite of the incredible amount of exhaust fumes coming from the bridge. We only went half way but so cool!

To finish our run, we went back to the Hudson River Path finishing through the northern section of Central Park to make it home. The best way to end a long, cold, and rainy training run? Delicious hot noodles! Xi’an Famous Foods on 102nd and Broadway, on this day, you saved the two of us. Spicy Lamb Noodles, Vegetarian Dumplings, and a Lamb burger make everything else right in the world.

Running in Manhattan X'ian Famous Foods

We were too tired and exhausted so we borrowed this pic from Eater!


Not feeling a heavy bowl of noods post run? Weird, but who are we to judge. Grab a pickmeup coffee at one of the awesome spots mentioned in this post by Girl With The Passport, many of which also have small delightful bites, in Manhattan.

Take a nice hot shower and relax after this one! Finishing a big run like this also gets us so excited, it means the big race is coming!!!

As always, check out our running map below!

-Up hudson river path to little red lighthouse

-Onto streets, North through Fort Tryon to Inwood

-First lower path in Inwood along the Hudson had great river views. But, you have to turn around and run back to connect to the wooded path

-Crossed pedestrian bridge over the train tracks to get to the wooded paths through Inwood. This was especially beautiful and quiet, lots of fall foliage, views of the river. Very peaceful and serene.

-Path looped around back into Inwood closer to the streets. Also along the top tip of Manhattan, where we ran along the pathways.

-Then back through the woods, out of the park to the streets

-Led to GWB. We ran halfway across then turned around and ran back. A really busy bridge, but the views are well worth the cars, noise, and exhaust.

-Ran back down through the streets to get to Central Park. Entered on the Northern edge and did short loop.

Sites seen:

-Little Red lighthouse

-George Washington Bridge

-Only old growth forest in Manhattan (Inwood)

-Fort Tryon Park – could stop here and visit The Cloisters

-Central Park, northern section – The Conservatory Garden


marathon training run 20 mile route, nyc running in manhattan with nyc skyline



Joe is the husband of this duo! He loves traveling, the New York Giants, and sandwiches.

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