The five stages of PRsNovember 11, 2008
1. You set PRs because, by definition, your first race at each distance is a personal record.
2. You frequently set PRs by large amounts because you’re still growing and maturing, and/or because you started training relatively recently, and/or because you’re in the middle of a successful weight-loss program, and/or because you’re now training much more sensibly than ever before.
3. You set PRs less frequently and by smaller amounts, and you find these modest improvements disappointing because you’ve become accustomed to stage #2.
4. As PRs continue to become more elusive, you learn to savor each new one.
5. You are now too old, too injured, and/or too unfit to set PRs. To compensate, you either invent new categories of achievement (such as “seasonal bests” and “age-group PRs”), try events that you’ve never done before (and thus return to stage #1), or stop racing altogether.
Congratulations to my World Cup 100K teammates Kami Semick, Meghan Arbogast, and Devon Crosby-Helms on their PRs in Italy this past weekend (7:33, 7:52, and 8:01, respectively). Congratulations also to fellow running bloggers Mike Salkowski and Michael Kanning on their recent PRs (a 2:37:08 marathon and a ~6:50 50-miler, respectively).
I’ll leave it to each of these people to tell you which stage they think they’re in.