Monday, July 20, 2009

PR Means What???

Don't look up my skirt
First off, you are all amazing! Thank you for support on They are making a decision tonight on who goes to Oregon, so I'll keep you posted. I have another possible surprise to share, but have to keep quiet for now on that one.

Remember when you used to just run for the hell of it?

I'm sitting here, 17 weeks out from my next marathon, contemplating how to train. I've got papers scattered everywhere - Hanson's, Higdon's, Smart Coach, Cool Running. What plan to use? Better to do higher mileage over more days or one long run per week? Better to take one rest day or three? How many hells, tempos, fartlickings?

I could devise my own plan, but it would probably include a lot of sleeping in, beer drinking and 1-2 mile runs, which will never get me to my goal of a 3:50 BQ time.

There was a simpler day when my running was basic and irresponsible.
  • A huge beef stroganoff lunch eaten 20 minutes before a run
  • Shoes bought clearance the day before a 10K at Kohl's because I liked the color. Couldn't walk for four days after. The kicker: they weren't even running shoes.
  • No compressions t's, body glide, ear buds, Garmins, gels, fuel belts, cell phones, training plans, mileage goals per week

It was a carefree type of running that had no structure. I was slow. I couldn't go far.

There has to be a middle ground between beef stroganoff and marathon plans scattered all over my desk. I think it's called moderation. It's also called: RELAX!!!

For the love of God! We spend so much time buying the right stuff, finding the right plan, reading the right books, eating the right foods, that we completely over-analyze ourselves. This can only lead to three things:

1. Extreme self absorption

2. Extreme race anxiety

3. Possible PRs.

Yes, we do it for #3!!

I think of my first marathon back in January. Having never run very far, my only goal was to run the whole thing and to finish. Despite pressure to have a time goal, I resisted. I just wanted to make it to the end in one piece. I was not focused on pace and time. Hell, I had no Garmin or fuel belt. I thought PR stood for pretty rectum (well, not really but you get the idea). And I ran a great race and I had a great time.

Fast forward to today. I've got a time goal. And with that comes a burden, an urgency, a requirement. Sure it is self imposed, but it is all those things nonetheless. The question is: can you relax and enjoy the ride during training and still get a PR?


  1. Oh, I thought this was going to be a post on Public Relations.

    Yes, I remember when I ran for the hell of it. My feet hurt, I chafed everywhere, I woke up sore and my toe nail fell off.

    Ahhh. The good old days.

  2. I was right where you are a couple of months ago when I was trying to figure out what the fu*k to do for a training plan. I obsessed for about three weeks straight until I finally said, "Screw it - I'm hiring a coach." And I did. And I LOVE it.

  3. That's why I hired a coach. She does all the planning and I mindlessly just follow the damn plan.

  4. I think it's definitely difficult to relax while working towards a specific time goal. The numbers are constantly running through your head, you can't miss a run, the pressure builds as race day approaches.

  5. 16 weeks ago, I plugged some numbers into SmartCoach on the runnersworld website. I followed that for about 8 weeks, then decided it needed revamped. I did exactly what you did; I had training plans, pace charts, you name it. I started to freak out! I stopped looking at it, then came back the next day. I copied the RW training program into Word and used it as my backbone and made adjustments, added hill training, increased mileage, etc. It's actually working out very well!

  6. I secretly miss the days in high school when I showed up to practice and my coach told us exactly what we would be do that day. No thinking involved, just listening and running. The forums on were the end of me...hours can be lost on there!

  7. I think there is definitely a balance, it can be hard to find... but thats what I am trying to do this time is enjoy the ride a little more :)

  8. My running coach is also the owner of the local running store. He came highly recommended by a couple of women who have had PR's. It's $80 a month and he makes my schedule for me monthly continuously checking on each run making adjustments if necessary.

    I love having the accountability and direction. It's nice to just be able to trust somebody's judgement and just do what they say. I guess time will tell come October if it was worth it.

  9. I need some sort of plan to keep me on track. And as much as I tried not to have a goal for my first marathon, I still created one. Now I'll shooting for that BQ...hopefully I'll see you there!

  10. I never would have guessed you ran your first marathon last January!!! You sound like such a seasoned pro. So now I have to ask: Have you always had those abs or did they come with the running? Just looking for some hope here. Good luck with your plan!

  11. Higdon is where its at... i love his plans! The intermeidate II plan is what i'm using and i love it! Good luck deciding!! :)

  12. Oy do I feel you on this one. I am definitely NOT relaxed. Must work on that. PR PR PR PR PR (that's my brain on running.)

  13. no chance of relaxing and getting a PR for me. Honestly I think that most people that run distance are just built that way. I mean really dont you think that anyone that runs a marathon and then wants to do it again but faster isnt a wee bit intense.

    Yous got to have a plan otherwise its just running ..LOL

  14. I think you can. It's a delicate balance. You have to have some fun days in there...

    I think this is easier if you have a running buddy.

    In high school, we use to do fartleks and Indian runs that were challenging but oh so much fun. We also played tag while running – the wrinkle was never stopping...

    So maybe if you're running on your own, make sure you pick a spot or trail you enjoy. Forget pace, mileage and all that. Just run and let everything flow past...

    We race for a PR. We run for us.

  15. Whose got the pretty rectum? Whose got the pretty rectum?

    OK, so I Marathon PR'd running only three days a week. But I am going to stop right there because what works for me, may not work for you or others.

    I think you have reached the point where you know what needs to be done to take it to the level that will get you into Boston.

    While asking yourself about commitment is good, you really should be asking yourself about your passion. Because regardless of what a training program throws at you, if you don't have the passion, you won't have any fun. It will just be runs that you have to do because of your commitment.

  16. Our self imposed goals are always the hardest, right?
    When you figure out how to balance, let me know. My version of balance involves wine consumption and dating men that are no good for me. It's not quite working.