I have a question for my friends in the blogosphere who compete in individual events/races, like swimming, biking or running race. Since I don’t swim or bike, I’m talking specifically about running but this question applies to any event/race in which you could compete in the distance on your own (ie: not in an organized race).
Here’s my question: Does a PR (personal record) count if you didn’t achieve it during an organized race?
This weekend, I ran a fast-for-me 5k at Wash Park by myself. I’d just walked a couple of laps with my friends but after they left, I decided to run one last lap on my own. So no one ran with me – just my trusty Garmin on my wrist.
I’ve been running faster than I used to (pre-surgery days) and as I got halfway around the park, I noticed that my pace was much faster than what I consider ‘normal’ for me – but I felt good and decided to see if I could keep it up for the rest of the lap (2.5 miles). Holding that pace soon became challenging – but still doable. As I got closer to finishing my lap, I decided I would run a bit longer to make it a non-official 5k.
That is CRAZY to me! I have never trained to run a fast 5k or raced an organized 5k – they’ve always been a fun run with my friends or family – so I think my 5k OFFICIAL PR is like, 30 or 31 minutes. Not awful but certainly slower than the 27 minutes I ran yesterday!
When I finished, I wondered: does this count? Can I call this my new PR?
When I came home and asked Alex what he thought (he used to run Cross Country in his younger years), he said he wasn’t sure but didn’t really think non-race PRs count. Because there are no official timers and because the person runs solo, there is room for speculation: did you stop your watch if you walked? For a bathroom break? Did your watch measure the correct distance? Did the GPS track you accurately?
I definitely see the point but at the same time, I ran harder than I ever have for 3.1 miles and too bad it was by myself and not during a race! I think non-race PRs should definitely count. Like Mel said, paying $30 and getting a race t-shirt doesn’t make it anymore official. (Okay, well, maybe a little bit.) Official timers are nice to have so a PR can live in internet race results history forever but that shouldn’t be the End All Be All of a PR.
For now, I will call this my 5k PR at 27:22. And maybe on May 31, I can set an OFFICIAL PR at the Underwearness 5k I’ve just signed up to run and remove any doubt of it being official!