Stockade-athon 2021 - Ten Tips for Success

by Tom O'Grady

The Stockade-athon is returning for in person racing for the first time since 2019. The months of September and October were jam packed with races due to the return of long postponed races during the COVID-19 pandemic. With fall in full effect and the race calendar thinning out, here are ten quick tips for success in this year’s Stockade-athon.

Tip 1 – Be aware of your current fitness. Is the Stockade-athon a peak race, a race at the end of a long fall season of return to racing, or an extension of the marathon training you utilized for a peak race in October? Understanding where you are in your current fitness will help you set a realistic goal for the Stockade-athon.

Tip 2 – Be prepared! Understand what the course logistics will look like. Be aware of any COVID-19 related protocols that need to be followed. Set your clothes out the night before. Arrive on time to park and be ready for the weather before, during, and after the race (weather in November can mean light racing clothes but warmer gear for before and after the race).

1-TomFinal.jpegTip 3 – Make sure to warm up properly prior to the race. Doing a light jog warm up about 45-60 minutes prior to the gun time will allow your cardiovascular system and muscles to prepare for exertion. Adding in dynamic stretches and strides about 20 minutes prior to the race helps your body begin to move the way it will during the race. Finally, a short and quick 1-2 minute run at race pace about 15 minutes prior to the race with some strides allows you to be fully prepared to start (i.e., heart rate, alertness, etc.).

Tip 4 – Get out quick and settle into your pace. The Stockade-athon starts downhill. Getting out “quick” by running faster than your race pace for the first 20-30 seconds will not harm your race. It will allow you to separate a little form the crowd and then take bearing of your surroundings. From there make sure not to keep pressing too hard, as the course starts downhill and getting out “too hard” can cause you setbacks later in the race.

Tip 5 – Use the downhill momentum from the start to carry you through the first mile. By the first mile you should be able to take an internal reading of how you are feeling and make any adjustments to your pace and effort. At this point you should be at the pace you believe you can run for the entire race, and aim to give an “even effort” for the next several miles.

Tip 6 – Be aware of the hills and the several turns on the course. An even effort means you may run faster on the longer flat sections than the portions that are slightly uphill and that go around turns. The first 10Km of the course goes through several sections of gentle uphill, which may wear you out if you press too hard too often during these portions.

Tip 7 – Bide your time during the short stretch of hills around Central Park. Take note of how you are feeling and assess how you are feeling going into the final two miles.

Tip 8 – Let ‘em rip! The last two miles of the course are very aggressively downhill. You can run very fast here if you paced well early. Keep going and push all the way through to the finish, and these last two miles will “give a lot back” to you in terms of time and reinvigoration.

Tip 9 – Pat yourself on the back, cool down, and enjoy the rest of your day. You’ve finished one of the top 15Km races in the country!

Tip 10 - Remember to sign up for Stockade-athon 2022 and seek a new PR!

1-TomOGradyEnd.jpgThomas J. O’Grady, Ph.D., M.P.H., CPT-NASM is a public health professional and researcher who is an avid runner, hiker, and lover of the outdoors. If you would like assistance with run coaching, personal training, or nutritional coaching please contact or visit for more information.

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