Home » What is a PR in Running? (And How to Snag Them)

What is a PR in Running? (And How to Snag Them)

There are lots of different acronyms when it comes to the overall subject of running, and they can mean lots of different things.

For someone who has just taken up running as a hobby, or hasn’t been doing it for very long, then you might have come across some of these acronyms and wondered what they actually mean.

Some of them are more common and you might be able to figure them out, but others can leave you standing there wondering what on Earth someone is talking about. 

One of the most commonly used acronyms in running is PR, and if you don’t already know what it means, then you will by the end of this article.

We are going to explain everything that you need to know about PR in running, what it all means, and how to achieve your own.

The best place to start would be with the meaning of it all, and we will explain this for you below.

What is a PR in Running?

When we talk about a PR in running, we are referring to a ‘personal record’, and another variant of this might be PB, which stands for personal best.

You can achieve your own PR by running the best time that you have ever done before over a certain distance. This means that you will have multiple different PR’s for a variety of different lengths.

For example, you could have a PR for a 5k distance, a 10k distance, and much more. So, your personal record is simply the fastest time that you have ever run a distance in.

You can have personal PR’s that you keep for yourself, but what is considered to be a ‘true’ PR will come from races that have officially been timed.

Why Should You Try to Get a PR in Running?

One of the best reasons why you should try to get a PR is because it is a great way to help keep you motivated. Having a goal to reach can help to keep things exciting and can help you to push yourself to do better when you want to.

It can help to give you a reason to run and keep you on track to make good progress and achieve everything that you set out to do. Staying motivated can become difficult at times, and setting yourself a PR goal can be a great way to help you to stay on track.

It doesn’t matter too much what your PR goal is, as long as you think that you are going to achieve it at some point in time. It can sometimes help to set smaller goals in the beginning and increase the difficulty of achieving them over time.

Setting impossible goals can be disheartening when you don’t achieve them. It is great to set yourself challenges, just try not to de-motivate yourself and instead work hard to achieve what you can within a reasonable amount of time.

Setting Your Personal Record Goals

Something that is really important to keep in mind when you are setting your personal record goals is to keep things realistic.

Setting yourself up for failure is never a good place to start, but trying to beat your record by a few seconds can really help your progression over time.

Once you start to see results, you can keep increasing your goals to push yourself even further. Remember that every second counts when it comes to beating your previous times, and you can do it if you put your mind to it.

It can also be helpful to keep tabs on your progress to see how far you have come since the beginning. You are your own motivator when it comes to running and reaching the targets that you have set for yourself, and evaluating your progress can help to do just that. The more that you improve, the more motivating it can become.

Another way to set yourself goals is by looking at the average times for someone of your age and ability and trying to compete with them. Sometimes, some healthy competition can help to keep things moving forward.

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Best Ways To Track Your PR

You should always keep track of your personal records so that you can look back and see how far you've come over time.

You should consider the idea of creating your own training log so you can track your progress and record all of your achievements as they happen. You could get really creative and make it look nice and positive, or you could simply jot it down in a journal somewhere. 

There are also some apps available to download that will help you to track all of your goals and past achievements, but having somewhere where you can see all of your PR’s in one place can be really rewarding.

How to Achieve Your Own Personal Records

As you start working towards achieving your very own personal records, it can be a good idea to make it known to yourself and even others around you.

Write it down, create an action plan, and start working towards your goals. You can track your goals using the methods that we have previously mentioned, but actually putting your training into practice is something else entirely.

If you are unsure how to get started, we will leave some tips and information to help you out along the way.

When the time comes when you have got a few races under your belt, it can be difficult to keep running a PR, which is why you will need to take your running to the next stage.

Every runner will have their own training schedule, and you will need to make yours slightly more advanced so you can push yourself to beat your personal records. Make sure that you keep things challenging, as if you are finding it too easy, then you aren’t as likely to progress further with your training.

Doing things that are a step up from your normal training routine will help you to work towards the next stages, and this is really important if you want to keep beating your PR’s.

You could try to bring some speed work into your training to spice things up a bit, and try to do at least one speed work out every week. Researching routines and training strategies that can help you in terms of running faster for specific races can also be really useful.

Some people will prefer to work smarter than harder, and this is totally possible if you know exactly what you are doing. Try to focus specifically on techniques and training that are going to help you beat your PR’s. Remember that every second really does make a difference in your training and in the real race.

How to Train to Beat Your PR

The first thing that you should know is that it is simply unrealistic to try to get a personal record for every single race that you do, especially if you are racing relatively often.

While it is not technically impossible, you don’t want to end up overdoing it and ending up with no energy to do anything at all, let alone run a race.

Running can be really physically and mentally demanding on the body, and you need to allow yourself breaks to wind down in your personal life.

It can be really easy to let running take over, and being passionate is great, but being overworked can actually do you more harm than good. Instead of trying to get a PR for every single race, try to do your best, as really, that is all you can do.

Of course, it is great if you achieve a PR in any race, but try not to get disheartened if you don’t. However, when you are looking to reach your personal records in a race, you can look at our training tips and advice below to find out how you can help yourself along the way.

Run More

The first way to start working towards your goals is simply to run more. This might sound fairly obvious, but if you stay at the same level, you likely aren’t going to be able to progress enough to beat your personal records, especially if you have already done this a few times.

Another reason that you need to run more is to accommodate the race that you intend to run. For example, if you are training for a 5k race, but the furthest you have run in your training is 3k, then this is going to make it difficult to reach your goals.

You will need to be able to run for the distance that the race is set at. The first couple of personal records are going to be the easiest, but the more that you get, the more difficult they are going to be to achieve.

Work On Your Endurance

The next thing that you are going to need to do is to work on your endurance, even if the race that you are doing is only a short distance one.

Having a high endurance level is only ever going to be beneficial for you, and you will need to work on this to progress, but even more so for longer races.

If you are trying to beat a marathon PR, then endurance is going to be really important, as you don’t want to make it halfway and find that your legs will not take you any further.

Instead, you are going to need to be able to withstand the entire race at a steady pace to achieve your goals.

Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself

It can be really easy to go straight into training mode and forget to give yourself a break when you need one. You should also try to incorporate some easier running sessions into your new training routine as if things are really difficult all of the time it can be easy to get demotivated.

While you should push yourself to be better when you can, this doesn’t mean that you should keep working until you burn out entirely.

Recovery runs are a great idea, as they will help you to unwind after harder workouts and more difficult runs. This way, everything will feel more varied rather than working at 100% difficulty all of the time until you can’t possibly go any further.

Tailor Your Training

The training routine that you adopt will need to be suited towards the goals that you are working towards. For example, your training will look a lot different if you are running a 5k race, in comparison to a short distance race.

You will need to work on different things, depending on the outcome that you are looking for, and your training is really important as this is what is going to carry you to the finish line. You should look at some trusted training routines and figure out what works the best for you.

You might also want to consider getting out more to race. The more that you are able to race, the more experience that you will gain, and this experience will always be really beneficial when it comes to beating your personal records.

It will help you to work on your strategy and the things that need improving, and every race will get you one step closer to achieving your own personal records.


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