Running a day of errands in the city can feel like a marathon -- but literally running 26.2 miles (or 13.1 for a half) takes a bit more practice and precaution. In preparation for race day, we asked experts to give their input on how to train, keep motivated and what to know before lacing up those running shoes.

 

Put in the leg work first

Don't start a training schedule cold.

"You should be running for at least two months, 8-10 miles a week before beginning a half-marathon running program," said Mike Zieminski, a NYC-based master trainer and home wellness manager at Technogym.

 

Choose a training program wisely

"When signing up to train for your first, or 20th, marathon or half marathon, make sure to choose a training program that fits your current fitness level," said Jennifer McCombs, an instructor at NYC's Focus Personal Training Institute. "A beginner runner's training program is going to look a lot different from an intermediate or advanced runner's program. With first time or new runners, your goal should be just to finish."

 

Run with a buddy

Friends keep you motivated, even when you don't want train.

"New Yorkers are busy -- try multi-tasking by running with your boss or a friend to get fitter, while hashing out a work issue or catching up on the gossip," said John Honerkamp, a New York Road Runners running coach.

 

Do a fun run

Training doesn't have to be so serious, especially if you're looking to get friends on board.

"Try anything ranging from a school fundraiser to something like The Chardonnay Run, a national 5K event that not only benefits charity, but rewards racers with wine at the finish line," said NYC personal trainer Steve Ettinger.

 

Stretch it out

"A good pre-run routine will have a mix of foam rolling or fascial release, static stretching, dynamic stretching and activation drills," said Kelvin Gary, a trainer at Body Space Fitness in the Flatiron. "The purpose of this would be to make sure that your muscle tissues and nervous system are ready to be put to work before you run."

 

Cross train, too

Avoid fatigue and switch up your routine.

"In addition to running, you have to find balance," NYC SoulCycle instructor Emily Turner said. "Blend a couple of days of strength and cross training and one rest day."

Rebecca Goldstein, clinical director of midtown's Professional Physical Therapy, suggests spinning, swimming or hitting the elliptical.

"The other days should be committed to strength training for your core and legs," she said.

 

Drink up before the big day

When race day comes, you can't run on empty.

"Pre-marathon, you must keep yourself well-hydrated at least 24 hours before, otherwise you will be left cramps with horrible aches and pains," said Adam Nadelson, CEO of the NYC-based The IV Doc.

If you find it hard to drink just water, there's help for that, too.

"For those who don't love drinking water, you can add electrolyte tablets for flavor," said Lole running coach Belly Perez.