What a PR or Personal Record Means
Once you've run your first road race and get your finishing time, you have a PR, or a "Personal Record." It refers to your best time in a race of a specific distance. So, if you run a 5K race in 28:45, that's your PR for the 5K distance. If you run faster than 28:45 in a subsequent 5K race, then you have a new PR for that distance. So you'll have PRs for different race distances, from 1-milers to marathons. Some runners will even keep track of indoor track vs. outdoor track PRs, as well as PRs for specific road races, since some race courses are obviously more challenging than others.
You may also hear some runners call their best race times "PBs" or "Personal Bests." Whatever they call it, experienced runners love to talk about their PRs because it helps them stay motivated to keep training and racing. It's also fun to keep track of your PRs in your training log, so you can refer back to them and record a new one when you achieve it.
How to Run a Personal Record
After you've run a few races, you may find that it becomes more difficult to run a PR. So you'll need to take your training to the next level. If you've been following beginner training schedules, step it up to an intermediate level schedule. (Be sure to make sure you meet the training base level before you start the training.)
Pick the Right Race
Choosing the right race can be a big factor in achieving a new PR. Many runners like to seek out fast courses for different distances. Some marathons, for instance, are known for being flat and fast. You're most likely not going to run your best time on a hilly course.
Runners also try to plan races during ideal racing conditions, which would be dry and cool weather. Running a race in the middle of summer is most likely not going to get you a PR. If you're hoping to PR in a specific race, do some research and find out what the typical weather is before you commit to it.
You'll also want to pick a target race that works for your schedule and preferences. If you have more time to train in the summer and you prefer training in the heat, then you may want to choose a Fall race as your goal race.
In your quest to reach new PRs, just make sure that you don't go race crazy and start racing every weekend.
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