Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A New 10K Personal Record... at a Half Marathon?

Before Saturday, my 10K Personal Record was a 1:11:04 on a Training Run on December 30.  Yes, I count training runs towards PRs.  If I did it, I did it.  I don't need race results on a website to know I did it. 

And then Saturday I ran the Cowtown Half Marathon in Fort Worth, Texas.  A day later, Twitter friend @bryanjd pointed out here that he had PRed his 10K distance as well as PRing his half marathon time!  I had achieved a 3 minute improvement on my PR in the overall half marathon, but I was kinda disappointed that I hadn't taken the time to hit the lap split on 6.2 and 9.3 because I thought both had to be PRs.  So after he mentioned this I went and looked up the official race results for myself again, and lo and behold, a new 10K PR! They had actually measured a 10K split - so glad they did!  My new 10K PR is now 1:07:56, a 3 minute improvement!!!

And then today a Twitter friend @theburnster commented here that he had PRed his 5K time but on a training run on a treadmill so it wasn't "official".  I just told him that I think it's official - I'd count it as my new OFFICIAL PR.

So it raises a question that I'm curious how everyone will answer: what requirements do you have to count a run as your new Personal Record? Does it have to be a finish time in a race? Do split times measured by an official timing company count during a race? Does any split measured by your Garmin or watch during a race count? Does the watch have to have the ability to download the data (so you could "prove" your PR, like anyone would care or question it)? Does a training run count?  Can't wait to see your comments.  I think I'll sum them up in another post later in the week!

18 comments:

  1. I never count Garmin times unless a race doesn't use chips. I only count actual race times for PRs but I did just check the 10k split for the Cowtown and it was actually a PR for me by 33 sec. That first mile downhill really helps plus the hills come after the 10k split ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I set my PR's by chip or Garmin times in races.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Vote me on the side of only official race results for the total distance count against PRs. The one exception I have to this is mile times and below that I sometimes sprint at a track to just see. I don't think I will heve enter an official mile or 1/4 mile event so stop watch time counts in that case.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I just write epically long posts to runner's world forums that record my race times. ;) Other than that, I'm a lousy historian. I just joined Daily Mile, though, so I'm hoping to start keeping better track of my mileage.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Keith, you bring up a good point. I didn't used to use training run times until I basically was racing half marathons often enough and choosing to train at home the other times that I never enter 5Ks or 10Ks anymore! The same you feel about mile times. I do have a rule that it has to be either recorded by a timing company officially or recorded by a Garmin - either way, something that records data and saves it. Not a stopwatch, for example. Even though I'd never have prove it, I like my PR to seem "provable", hence wanting the data or published result or split.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Speaking as someone who just set a PR for a 5K time in a training run. I count it. I say anytime you do it, count it. I will try again at my next 5K actual race and see if I can duplicate it. I have been trying to break a 35 minute 5K for something like 8 months. I am very pleased.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I count race PRs and anytime PRs. My 5k and 10k anytime PRs are faster than my race PRs, simply because I have more opportunities. :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. My "official" PRs are from races, however I do keep track of PRs set during training runs. (My official 10K PR is slower than my unofficial 10K PR from a training run.) As for setting "official" PRs at shorter distances, when running longer races, I think it's valid, if that shorter distance is officially timed.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is a great discussion, Libby! I only count PRs at races, but I do keep track of my neighborhood training runs and note to myself when it is a "course record." A course record is almost like a PR in my mind. I love to have something to strive for when I am training. I run more half marathons than anything else, so I have more shots to officially PR at that distance. However, this keeps me entering a few 15K and 10Ks a year just for the variety (many of them are the free monthly DRC races). I typically race only 1 5K a year, so I'd better be good on that day if I want a 5K PR!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I've only been counting PRs at races, but I think I will start paying more attention to my time during training runs. Very interesting discussion, indeed...

    ReplyDelete
  11. Personally I think that any recorded time (chip or Garmin) counts towards a PR. For instance, I'm a beginning ultramarathoner, and I haven't actually run a road marathon yet (I will probably rectify this at Big D). However, I set my marathon PR of right around 3:55:00 on a training run. I don't think that treadmills count, because you can run faster on a treadmill than on roads since you aren't pushing your body weight.

    That being said, an important question to ask yourself is what does PR mean to you? Is it a marker by which you are gauging your improvement? Is it about bragging rights? Is it going to go on your running resume (if you are a running coach, for instance)? I consider myself a middle of the pack running, and since I'm doing this to push my own limits I consider PRs only as interesting factoids and improvement markers. A year ago I ran the Cowtown Half Marathon and could barely walk for the rest of the day. This year I ran the Cowtown Ultramarathon and was a bit stiff but could get around just fine. I didn't set a PR for time, but I did set a PR for distance traveled without walking.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I run faster during races because I really push myself so all my PRs are from races but I'm not sure if I would count a training run? I guess it depends on how good the PR is. :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. So many variables go into this requirement set of what constitutes a PR or not - I'm so in agreement on the treadmill and think that's an important caveat to throw in there. But, Jeremy, I'm glad you brought up the motivation thing - I'm a back-of-the-pack runner so PRs are a celebratory way to gauge improvement, but you're right that answers will vary based on the reasons people are tracking their PRs at all. Great comments, very insightful! Congrats on your Ultra finish Saturday! And I'm running Big D Half so maybe I'll see you there!

    Allie, it's funny because I actually think a training run PR is a bigger deal than the same PR in a race because you did it without the aid stations, crowd support, and race day adrenaline! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  14. (The below is just my "completely analytical" analysis and is not intended to take away from anybody's accomplishments. Great running everyone! :-)

    In my humble opinion, true PRs are only with respect to the same course - i.e., "my (new) PR for the Cowtown Half-Marathon course is ..." Otherwise there is too much difference between courses, elevation changes, terrain, etc. for as fair comparison. (Even on the same course there are weather differences and other factors, but c'est la vie). So you can PR on anything - race, training run, or treadmill - but its just with respect to the same course, route, or treadmill settings.

    That said, looking at the Cowtown elevation map (the half-marathon & marathon have a shared routes through Mile 8 ... and merge back again at Mile 11/24), the total elevation change between the start and Mile 6.2 is very close to zero so I do think, Libby, that your "10K distance PR" is a good representative of your running improvement and not some fluke and your half-marathon PR proves it as well! :-)

    http://www.cowtownmarathon.org/maps/elevation_marathon.jpg

    ReplyDelete
  15. Andy, from what I've learned about you over time, I would expect nothing less than an analytical explanation from you. :-) Very very good points.

    And I also want to stress to everyone that, like Andy ("Wanger") said, no one's opinion should take away from anyone's accomplishments. We all compete against OURSELVES every time we run. Just because someone doesn't count or does count certain things in establishing a PR doesn't make your PRs any less awesome!

    I really appreciate everyone sharing their thoughts on this topic that I think for many isn't very black and white.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Being quite new to running, I was surprised when I saw @theburnster saying his new PR hadn't been official - I had never really thought about it before. IMO, if your timing method is reliable, you did it & it counts! I love reading everyone's feedback, it's great to have this online community as a resource.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Such an interesting point to bring up....I originally only counted "official" times. But it is so true that a PR is a PR. But the points about the course bring up an interesting point also. I have always felt the need to be able to "prove" it, but really after seeing people skip parts on the last Half, I realized that just like golf, running is such a sport of personal accountability. I mean...who does that...who skips parts of a course...intentially nonetheless. But, again, my PR is my PR, and really who is going to ask for proof. :) So, all that said, I think I'll start counting or rather comparing times for similar routes. That is probably a better comparison.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I wanted to thank everyone again for all your thoughts about treatment of tracking PRs! I incorporated a lot of your comments, and credited you, in my new blog post here:
    http://theactivejoe.blogspot.com/2010/03/what-makes-personal-record.html
    Happy Running! And may 2010 continue to bring many of you PRs!

    ReplyDelete