It’s ok NOT to PR: setting race goals

header-maine-half-marathon-logo-v3I hope everyone had a fun and relaxing holiday weekend! I was thrilled to be in town after so much traveling–and doing my 14 miler on familiar turf didn’t hurt either (more to come in the weekly recap on Thursday). I finish up my first summer course on this week, which means I have one weekend of freedom without having to worry about school before my next class starts up. Of course, we’re going to be out of town–first heading to Portland, ME for a half marathon to celebrate my OG running bestie Bry’s 30th and then to Lake Winnipesaukee in NH for another good friend’s wedding.

Dis is Bry. She's really smart.
Dis is Bry. She’s really smart.

Bry and I were chatting a couple of weeks back about our goals for this race. She has been dealing with an injury and is planning to take things nice and easy. I mentioned something about taking things a little bit easy too and she said something like “Wait a minute, have you ever taken a race easy? Come to think of it, have you ever even taken a run easy??”


While it’s a little bit of an exaggeration, she’s pretty spot on (as usual). Running has shown me that I have a very hard time giving myself a break. Whether it’s racing, work, school, or yoga, my biggest challenge is knowing when to back off and be ok with not giving 110%. For example, my past three half marathon times have looked like this:

  • 1:55:45
  • 1:46:29
  • 1:40:27

Basically, I’ve been stuck in a rut where I feel like I have to PR every race that I run. I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with this–it feels incredible to see what I can accomplish, and I hope all of this fast running will get me a qualifying time for Boston. But sometimes pushing myself to the limit can take just a little bit of joy out of the experience.

So this coming weekend, I’m looking at my race as a joyful, extra special marathon training run. My goal? To run at my marathon goal pace and feel like I still have gas in the tank at the end of race. Will this be a PR? Nope. My 8-ish minute miles will put me around a 1:45 half, which will be at least 5 minutes slower than my last race. And as it turns out, that is 100% ok.

Oh yeah–one more goal for this race: to have FUN! I can’t wait!

Linking up with PattyErika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the run!

8 thoughts on “It’s ok NOT to PR: setting race goals

    1. I love your attitude! It’s really all about the experience, especially if we want running to be a part of our lives in the longer term. Thank you for the good wishes, and best of luck with your running!

  1. Janelle @ Run With No Regrets

    Wow, that’s awesome that you had such amazing progress in your half marathons over time…I need some of your intensity! I hope you enjoy taking it easy and having fun for your next race. Trying to PR each time can add a lot of pressure and definitely suck the joy out of running.

    1. Thanks so much, Janelle! Starting to do weekly speedwork has made a huge difference for me in terms of cutting down my half times. But I completely agree that it can take the fun out of running–which is really the point, right?

  2. Laura @ Mommy Run Fast

    Absolutely- it’s so easy to get stuck in the trap of always wanting to pr. But it can be so nice to take the pressure off and run for the pure love of it!

  3. Pingback: Chicago marathon training: week 5 | My GF Boston

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