Jake Kobrin – Athlete of the Month

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

I’m a 26-year-old Physician Assistant. I grew up about an hour east of Albany in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Most people in the Albany area probably have been through a few times, maybe on their way to Boston or MassMoca.

When and why did you start running?

I needed something to do in the fall, so I joined my middle school cross country team.

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

Running the Boston Marathon last spring with my twin brother Sam is what first comes to mind. But to go way back, racing in the Western Mass Championships my sophomore year of high school likely tops Boston for me.

                                     Sam and Jake at Boston

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

I run for fun. Planning my running schedule too much can easily make running feel like more of a chore or than a hobby.  I try to run (or in the winter, ski) every day I don’t work. When I’m seriously training, one day a week will be speed, one will be tempo/threshold, and one will be a long run, with the rest of the days just unstructured runs of about 5 miles.

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

I think training for Boston last spring I got up to 50 miles one week, but otherwise my volume has been surprisingly low, 30-35 miles a week often.

During our cold winter days, do you brave poor weather conditions or stick indoors on the treadmill?

After losing my free treadmill access at the medical center gym, I always run outside during the winter.

List your PRs: Race, time, year

5K 16:00 May 2017
Half 1:20 September 2021
Marathon 2:41:35 April 2022

What is your favorite distance?

I have a build best suited to longer distances like the half and full marathon.

Your favorite shoe for training and racing

Saucony Endorphin Speed. Two or three times a year they are 50% off, that’s when to swoop in and grab a few pairs

Ever run in a costume?

Never, sadly

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

Pre: bagel with light butter and jelly, coffee
Post: whatever is nearest my gravitational pull

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

The New York City Marathon this Fall with Sam

What is the greatest piece of advice you've ever received in the sport?

Coach Burdick, my high school running coach, was obsessive about racing strategy. To him racing was about more than who has the highest lactate threshold or VO2 max. It was very much about who can maintain running economy and stay mentally relaxed despite the physical challenge. The mental aspect of running is fascinating. To me running, at its best, is another way of training how you acknowledge your own thoughts and feelings, the same way one might in meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, or stoic thinking. Or at least, it’s a great excuse to eat poorly every now and then.

The art of competing, I'd learned from track, was the art of forgetting, and I now reminded myself of that fact. You must forget your limits. You must forget your doubts, your pain, your past. You must forget that internal voice screaming, begging, “Not one more step!" And when it's not possible to forget it, you must negotiate with it. I thought over all the races in which my mind wanted one thing, and my body wanted another,  those laps in which I’d had to tell my body, “Yes, you raise some excellent points, but let’s keep going anyway ”.

― Phil Knight, Shoe Dog

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