I must admit that I am a little bummed that I haven’t PR’ed at all this year. I know that not every race can be a PR, but you would think that at least one along the way would be…?
Psychologically, it makes me doubt myself and my ability to run. Have I gotten slower? Am I not as good of a runner as I used to be? I always tell myself that every race is different. There are conditions and other elements that determine whether you can PR.
I do know there are things that I can do to make myself stronger and a better runner. It’s just a matter of how bad I want that PR.
Here are my tips on how to get out of a running drought:
- Look at your current training and see if there are gaps. The biggest reason for having a challenge getting a PR is that you have plateaued in your training and need to step it up to get to the next level. For me, I took a risk by trying the Hansons Marathon Method when I trained for Boston this year. I knew that there was a chance it would mean I wouldn’t PR… and that’s what it meant. Since then, I haven’t trained as hard as I could (I’ve been on a bit of a break after coming off training for Brooklyn/Houston/Boston/Big Sur marathons) and so the only finger pointing I should be doing is at myself. You can’t get the PR without doing the work.
- Check your eating habits. I like using My Fitness Pal to check my eating habits occasionally. I find that sometimes I forget to change my eating to match my training… especially if I’m in an “easy” period. This is no bueno because it can result in more calories than I need, which equals a few extra pounds. Even a few extra pounds can impact your speed in races and may mean you won’t reach your PR.
- Have patience. This is one that I have a hard time with. I know that not every race is going to be a PR. Knowing that doesn’t make it less frustrating. Like I said before, there are factors that make each race unique and impact whether it is a PR race. If it turns out that the race you are running isn’t a PR, there will be another one… have the patience to get there and make it happen. It can be frustrating and make you want to quit, but that will make you disappointed in yourself. (Which you should never be for not PRing!)
- Remember that time is one part of the picture. When talking for non-runners, the only way we can qualify our running is by sharing our times for recent races. But for runners, time is just one small part of the whole picture of the sport. Celebrate your other successes… like if you didn’t have to walk at all in the race, or if for once you didn’t have to make a bathroom break. Or maybe you were able to negative split the second half of the race, find a surge within the middle of the race. Whatever it is, EVERY race has something to celebrate whether its a PR or not.
- Find your inspiration. I think this is so important and what gives us the drive to smash our PRs… for me? It’s breaking that 3:30. My inspiration is getting back to the starting line of the Boston Marathon. Whether it’s a goal race or to beat a nemesis, there is something that is driving you forward. Something that will help you say goodbye to that PR and hello to a new fantastic time.
How do you deal with a PR drought? What’s the longest you’ve gone without PRing?
Do you sign up for races with fast courses to get a PR?
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