PR, which in endurance circles stands for “Personal Record”, or the best time an individual has done personally in a particular distance or race. This is something that many serious and even not-so-serious athletes try to achieve. And while there is no issue with trying to attain a PR in the event you are currently competing in, it’s just not practical to try to reach a PR in EVERY race you are in. Why not? Well, let’s explore this right now.

Only So Many “Good” Races in You

Now while newbies to endurance sports, who train consistently, will find a new PR in nearly every race they participate in because they are getting in shape and learning how to race the particular distance, for a more seasoned endurance athlete this will not necessarily be the case. Once you are in shape you can’t go week-in-week-out trying to push yourself to your limits – it’s just not practical. Your body needs to recover from all of your training and if you try to race each week or two at your highest level, your body will most likely breakdown after a while.

Spacing Out Your Big Races

Some of us like to compete regularly, but it’s important, if you’re trying to reach a new PR, that you really space out those goal events – especially the longer the distance of the event. Your recovery on a PR 5K race maybe only 2-4 weeks, while the recovery needed between, say a marathon, is more like 3-6 months. Does this mean you shouldn’t compete in a 5K or marathon within that time span? No, it means you shouldn’t have your sights on a PR in that particular event because most likely your body won’t be fully recovered to give its best effort again. If you want to race still between your big events, then either choose other distances or endurance modes to compete in or use these races as part of your training.

Race instead of a Time Trial

Many of us rarely race the races we register for. We more run time trials in these events. What do I mean? I mean we are happy running our 25-minute 5K then placing in the top-3 of our age group.  What if we forgot about our goal time every so often and try to actually beat people in the events we compete in? Maybe there is that athlete who always seems to nip you at the finish line in every local sprint triathlon you compete in – well today is the day you sit and kick! Maybe you’re good enough to place in your age group, so make sure “Sally” or “Johnny” doesn’t take that 3rd spot from you this time. When you’re racing “to win” vs. for time, sometimes you go about the event with more strategy and it becomes more engaging than trying to hold 9:10 min/miles for that 10K.

Simply Enjoy The Event

A novel idea is just to enjoy the event and not take it too seriously. Here are some ideas:

  • Take some selfies while your on the course.
  • Pace a friend who is a bit slower as you and help her reach her goal.
  • Compete with a group of friends.
  • If you’re on a scenic course then really look around and take the entire experience in.
  • Run, ride or swim comfortably for two-thirds of the event and then see how many people you can catch in the final third of the race.

By not making every race you’re entered into your next chance to PR, you are giving yourself a mental break, which we all need. This will allow you to focus on only a handful of events where you will try to PR. By doing this, you will be excited and refreshed for these PR-chance events and most likely attain these coveted personal goals.

Happy Racing!


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