PR Spotlight: How To PR Every Race Distance in 12 Months

It’s been a while since I featured a runner here. I am trying to get back into a better routine with blogging – and part of that is this feature which I think can help a lot of other runners!

I’m excited to share the store of Joe, a local runner from Staten Island, who I have had the absolute pleasure of coaching for the last year. Joe reached out to me last summer after running a handful of races including the Brooklyn Half Marathon and Scotland 10k. He was looking to improve his running – no specific times or goals – just wanted to improve.

He is now a few weeks away from his first marathon – the NYC Marathon! And he has set some pretty amazing PR’s along the way:

– Mile: 8:11 —> 7:22
– 5 miler: 49:31 (9:55 pace) —> 44:37 (8:56 pace)
– 10k: 1:01:59 (10:00 pace) —> 59:07 (9:32 pace)
– 10 miler: 1:42:12 (10:14 pace) —> 1:35:48 (9:35 pace)
– Half Marathon: 2:18:05 (10:33 pace) —> 2:08 (9:51 pace)

His huge PRs are a result of hard work, focused training and commitment. He rarely misses a workout. He does the hard work in training and the results speak for themselves. (This is NOT to sell myself as a coach – HE has done the work and put in the time – he is 100% responsible for the results he has achieved)

Read below for some of his thoughts on how he has managed to PR in every race distance the past year!


Name:  Joseph DiSomma – @joedisomma (IG)
Age: 43
Hometown: Staten Island, NY
How long have you been running? A little over two years

Why did you start running?
As I was approaching 40 years old (maybe four years ago) I decided to make some healthier choices – – eat smarter, and be more active.  I joined a gym – and fitness became part of my routine.   I did not incorporate running – mostly because I remembered an important thing…  I hated running.  So, the treadmill was not one of the pieces of equipment that I used…. at least for a year or so.   
At one point, I was encouraged by a fitness instructor to get on a treadmill.   Reluctantly, I hopped on.  Although I thought my fitness level was pretty good – I was only able to run a half of a mile.  I got off that treadmill surprised and disappointed at that distance.  I thought to myself…. Really, just a half of a mile?!?
Every time I went back to the gym – I would look at the treadmill as an adversary, something I wanted to conquer.  I would jump on that treadmill to try to go further than that half mile distance.  I still hated running, and now I was somewhat mad at it – or at least mad at that machine.
I can remember hitting my first one mile run on the treadmill (technically it was a mile and one eighth.  And, believe me – I was sure to mention the ‘eighth’ when talking about the run).  I was so proud of that mile run.   I am still proud of that mile run.  
After that run – I decided to keep going back to the treadmill to see if I could push even further.  Eventually I got to two miles, and three miles, and four…. and something really crazy happened along the way.  I went from hating to run to looking forward to each run.  I came to the realization that I really enjoyed running.  I was officially a runner.
Shortly after, I ventured outside – and wow! I was hooked.


On his way to his first 20 miler this past weekend – Joe ran 6 miles before the half marathon (he used it as a training run) and ran right through the finish to make it 20 for the day!

What did you change with your training?
My training completely changed when I started training with Michele.   Prior to the coaching – I was running without consistency or a game plan.  I would look to just have two short-ish runs and one somewhat long run per week.
The coaching definitely put purpose behind my run schedule.  How often I run, how often I have a ‘rest day’, how I actually run during a run…. I have definitely gained a better understanding of what it all could mean.
On average, the number of runs went up to four times per week .  Speed work was introduced (completely new to me) and I also learned about “Easy Pace”.
I always thought I should run fast and try to improve or maintain my speed on every run.  I was surprised to hear about running at “easy pace” instead of  “race pace”.  It took a bit of getting used to, learning to slow down a little.  But, I am convinced going slower during training runs has made me faster and stronger on race day.

What’s the hardest part of the new change/training?
Especially now, during marathon training – the hardest part would be the time commitment.   It is sometimes difficult to shuffle in a full run schedule along with work, wife, kids, family, and friends.  But – you just do the best you can to make it all work – – and enjoy every run day, and every non-run day. 


Running a 5k with his daughter

What have you learned about running or yourself or life?
Running definitely taught me a life lesson…. ‘The first mile is the toughest’.    Especially early on, but even today –  when I set out for a run – that very first mile is my tough one.  It is in that first mile that I may have doubts or may want to stop.  My heart would race a bit – maybe my legs would hurt – and I would question my sanity.  But always – if I just push through that mile – it gets easier.  It gets a lot easier.   I’ve taken that idea to just about any challenge I face in my life.   Whenever something seems difficult or impossible – I just remind myself – “this is just the first mile.  Push through – it will get easier.”   


Training and racing regardless of weather conditions

What is your long term goal?
My long term running goal is a simple one.  I hope I continue to enjoy running as much as I enjoy it today.  
Sure, I would like to set PRs along the way – but mostly I appreciate that I have something that I truly enjoy – and hope I am able to keep that going for many years.
I am excited about my very first marathon (NYC in November).  And – not to look past that one at all – if I could imagine the way I would like to enjoy running for years to come…. it would be entering and running many marathon’s in many cities.   

Have you set a PR recently? Share your good news!


I don’t post here every day, but I post all of my workouts (and other happenings) on Instagram on a daily basis {NYCRunningMama}.

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    4 thoughts on “PR Spotlight: How To PR Every Race Distance in 12 Months

    1. Wow, very impressive results by Joe. He clearly has devoted much time and effort to his training. Hope the NYC Marathon is a great experience for him (and you Michele)! I’ve had some success over the last 12 months with PR’s including a PR in March in my third marathon that included a BQ. I am now on the registrant list for the 2015 Boston Marathon and could not be more delighted. Starting to run at the ripe old age of 56, just four years ago, I never in a million thought I would be running marathons, but now I am! Next up, Marine Corps in 2 weeks!
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    2. Wow those are great results. When I got a coach I also saw a lot of improvement too. My last PR was at a 5 mile race in September. Last year’s (and first years) time was 43:47 this year I came in at 40:44. Next year in hoping to break 40 minutes!