How many people can say that they’ve kept their New Year’s Resolution by the middle of June? Not many. One who has and can point to his breakthrough to running PR’s at age 28 is Rob Albano of Mahwah.
“I was eating KFC and Taco Bell for five years,” said Albano. “I gave up fast food as a New Year’s resolution.”
That change in diet resulted in a loss of about ten pounds.
“I’ve been the same weight for over a decade. That’s really helped,” he said. I haven’t really changed my training all that much.”
“From there it’s just come off,” he said. “I’ve always had the idea that, ‘Oh I run a lot so I don’t really need to worry about my diet’. That was a total terrible idea.”
“I’m still running consistently somewhere around 60 to 70 miles per week which is really what I do year-round,” he said. “I think that’s [the weight loss] had a difference.”
He said that he has always finished right around 15 minutes to15:30. This year he has gone under 15 twice.
“Now I’m doing it consistently over quality courses. It’s a big breakthrough for me”.
Does he endorse the concept that for every pound lost, a runner can drop two seconds per mile in a race?
His 5K pace at the Pequannock race that he won on June 9th in 14:42.9 was 4:44 and he had been typically doing 4:54, so it kind of made sense he said.
Instead of those fast food places he now eats a lot of fruit, a lot of carbs, and a lot of lean protein from eggs and chicken.
Albano grew up in Pequannock where he was in the youth Lakeland League track and field and cross country program growing up. He was a standout runner at Pequannock High School where his school records of 4:19.4 for the 1600 meters ad 9:28.5 for 3200 meters still stand.
At Felician University he has the 8km cross country record of 24:33 and the 10km of 30:41.
“I’ve never really stopped competing, except for a couple of setbacks with minor injuries,” he said. “Aside from that I’ve been competing the whole time.”
Albano did not complete the grand prix until 2018 when he won the Mini-One with an almost perfect score. Albano only became aware of the grand prix series in 2017 when he competed in some grand prix races.
Albano is a 5K specialist although he also likes to run the half marathon distance.
In particular is his favorite the Race Faster half marathon in Paramus where he set his PR of 1:09:18.
Naturally one of his favorite 5K’s is the Pequannock race that he has done since 2000 when as a ten-year-old he finished in 24 minutes. It was at the Pequannock race that he set his new PR of 14:42.9. Another is the New Milford 5K that he won last week in 14:58
“I love New Milford. It has a good race director, the camaraderie. a good atmosphere,” said Albano. “Any race with beer at the finish line is always a perk.”
Albano reveals a fondness for early morning races and he is not so fond of night races.
“I tend to not run as well. I don’t have a really good history with races like the President’s Cup or the Lager Run,” he said. “I have trouble figuring out how I’m going to do running later in the day.”
He said that he typically just wakes up and goes, and then runs again in the afternoons as well. Those afternoon runs are with the kids that he teaches and coaches at his middle school.
“Any workout that I have them do I typically run ahead and time them when they come in, or I set them off and then run them down,” aid Albano. “It’s a motivation for them and a workout for me at the same time.”
His method appears to have worked because he said his team has won the track title the last three years.
During the school year he is running 60 to 70 miles per week and 80 to 90 in the summer. In college he would do somewhere upwards of 110 to 120 miles.
“I just don’t have time now as an adult in the real world,” he quipped.
“Sixty-five to 70 is kind of my sweet spot for staying healthy and in good shape.”
Albano will be an asset to the Freedom Running Club that he recently joined. He said it is a good club for him as there is no organized practices. This is good for him as his schedule would not allow him to train with his team.
Albano says that he runs better when he can lock into his pace and he runs less well when the race is a tactical race. In 2016 he won the Fitzgerald’s Lager 5K in 15:20. Since then his Lager races have been a disappointment for him.
Albano will coast in when he is having a bad race. A perfect example is the 2018 Lager Run. He said that he went out too fast and when he knew it wasn’t going to have a good outcome he shut down and just coasted in. That 16th place finish in a slow-for-him time of 16:12 was the only not perfect score in his Mini One grand prix. If he had not had to finish and get a score, he would have dropped out he said.
After his last two races and those 14:42 and 14:58 finishes the pressure is on. He’s praying for cool weather and good pacing to get him another great race. And cold beer at the finish will make it perfect.