Charlie Ragone: Athlete of the Month

What is your age, occupation, background, hobbies, and other sports?

I'm a 25-year-old who loves to cook, bike, and inspire the Albany community to get moving. By day, I work in the lab of a pharmaceutical manufacturing company. Living in such a beautiful area has given me so much, and I'm eager to give back to the community in any way possible.

When and why did you start running?

I began running track in 7th grade, inspired by my mom who was an avid runner herself. While she used to say that running would keep me out of trouble, I'm not entirely sure if that was the case! Nevertheless, taking up running provided me with a thrilling and competitive hobby to pursue.

What’s your favorite race to date, and why?

Out of all the races I've participated in, the Stockade-athon remains my absolute favorite. Its festive atmosphere adds a unique element to the capital region. Growing up in Schenectady, I always looked forward to watching the impressive athletes compete in the 15k distance. It's a dream of mine to one day join their ranks. Schenectady holds a special place in my heart, and the Stockade area is particularly dear to me. The thrill of running through the historic streets and central park never fails to give me an adrenaline rush.

Charlie at the Stockade-athon coming in 4th in field of 1004 finishers

What is your approach to training? Do you follow a particular training plan, or do you work with a coach and if so, who?

My best friend and I enjoy creating our own training plans, which we see as a fun and experimental endeavor. We're always eager to try new things, like double threshold sessions, which entail two workouts in a day. However, we've also gone back to some more basic workouts lately, such as economy 400s, which involve running 20-25 400-meter repeats with just a minute's rest between each repetition.

What is your weekly mileage in peak racing/marathon training season? What is your approach to the off season?

My training approach varies according to the season and my specific workout goals. When I was younger, I used to believe that more training was always better. However, I have come to realize that focusing on the quality of my workouts is far more important than simply increasing the quantity, and this has helped me to avoid injuries. Currently, I run between 80-90 miles a week, with a down week and a day off every 3 weeks. During my down week, I typically hit around 65-75 miles. During the off-season, I make a conscious effort to give myself a mental break and avoid adding extra pressure, since mid-season training can be very demanding. Instead, I shift my focus to my other hobbies, such as cooking and biking. Of course, I still keep up with my running routine and aim to lift weights twice a week, but I listen to my body and don't push myself if I'm feeling particularly fatigued.

During our cold winter days, do you brave poor weather conditions or stick indoors on the treadmill? If you do run outside, what safety measures do you take?

I believe that running offers much more than just physical fitness - it's a source of adventure and challenge for me. Even during the winter months, I make an effort to get outside and run regardless of the weather, as it gives me a sense of accomplishment. Of course, I always make sure to bundle up properly when it's cold out!!

List your PRs: Race, time, year:

I'm proud to have achieved some notable personal records in my running career so far, including a time of 67:57 in the 2021 Hudson Mohawk Half Marathon and 48:02 in the 2022 Stockade-athon.

What is your favorite distance?

A half marathon is one of my favorite race distances - it's the perfect opportunity to lock in and put my race strategy skills to the test. I take pride in being a strategic racer and always aim to execute my race plan to the best of my ability.

Your favorite shoe for training and racing

I have always raced in Nike, currently the Nike DragonFly. However, for regular running I don’t use the Nike trainers as none seem to fit my feet well. Currently I wear the Hoka Cliftons.

Ever run in a costume?

Just my classic UAlbany gear or Regeneron gear. Go Great Danes!!!

What are your favorite pre-race and post-race meals?

I have some pre- and post-race rituals that I stick to, which have worked well for me so far. Before a race, I like to fuel up with a bagel with butter and egg, along with a C4 energy drink (since coffee doesn't agree with my stomach before running). After a race, I always make sure to indulge in a big meal to refuel my body. Some of my go-to options include Manicotti, Palak Paneer, or sushi - they never disappoint!

What challenges / races / adventures are you planning for the coming year?

My current 10k PR is 30:51, but I'm always looking to top it. To achieve this, I plan on racing in a few track meets to improve my time. Additionally, I would like to take on some half marathons and compete in events like the Workforce Challenge and Stockade-athon. This fall, I also plan on hosting a club cross country team for workers in the Albany area to come together and compete against club cross country teams from around the nation. It's an exciting opportunity for all!

What is the greatest piece of advice you've ever received in the sport?
Success doesn't come overnight - there are no shortcuts or magic potions that can guarantee it. If you want to achieve your big goals, you need to be willing to pursue them for years, through both triumphs and setbacks. But it's important to remember that the most rewarding aspect of chasing your dreams is the journey itself. Embrace the process, relish in the hard work, and don't lose sight of the joy that comes from pushing yourself to be better every day.

Aidan Canavan, Charlie Ragone, and Sam Morse at the Stockade-athon 2022

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