I’m just going to dive right on in and say it:
I hate the term “personal worst” in running.
Yes, I’m aware hate it a strong word, and you better believe I’m using it strongly today.
Far too often I read a post, or a Tweet, from a runner saying “_____ race was a personal worst”.
(Second to this is runners declaring a PR in a training run. No no no no no. A training run is not ever meant to be for PRs, it’s meant to be for training, not racing…..but this should probably be another post for another day…)
Why must we define our success in running based entirely on how quickly we run?
While I absolutely believe in setting goals and striving to achieve them, I believe when we’re laser focused on just one outcome (in this case, time) then we lose sight of the whole picture.
There is so much more to running than just our times.
I still believe the best race I’ve run was SeaWheeze 2015, and I was roughly 3 minutes off my PR time. And I was just as happy as if I ran a PR because I executed my race plan absolutely perfectly on race day and felt like I had left it all out there on the road.
Is there a part of me that sometimes hopes for the magical PR when I suddenly become a different person and run an unexpected blazingly fast race? Sure. Of course. But that’s just not realistic.
(Sad day to realize I just won’t magically BQ.)
My marathon time in DisneyWorld this winter was 100% a “personal worst”. Did I classify it as such?
I was not running this race for time. I was running this race as part of a goal to complete 48.6 miles over the course of 4 days. Running for time was not my goal.
If I wasn’t injured and my training didn’t suffer, I absolutely would have finished faster, but, again, time was not my goal in this race.
These past two weekends I’ve run a 5k and a 5-miler. Neither of them were PRs, but, again, running a PR wasn’t my goal. I’m taking a slow return to running and ran these races for redemption as they were two I had to miss last year due to my spring injury (I so hope my 2015 reason means I can run healthy in 2016).
I really want to encourage anyone who is running who think of other measures of success than just time. This year I’m absolutely hoping to run a PR at SeaWheeze and all of my training leading up to August 13 will be focused on that. This also means that I will not be running an attempted PR in Calgary on May 29. Instead, my goal for the race will be to negative split the race (running the second half faster than the first) regardless of my end finishing time.
[Tweet “Success in running is measured by more than just your time #runningcoachescorner #runchat”]
How do you measure the success of your races?
Thinking Out Loud with Amanda.
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