Posted on September 22 2017
After making major changes to your training and rethinking the way you eat, you will finish a race more than five minutes faster than you did before. You will immedialely begin to celebrate on social media your new personal record.
We need to challenge ourselves to rethink the way we define "personal record." You need to celebrate a "lifetime best" and stop using the word "personal" to describe your success. What's personal about that new, better time anyway?
Do you really improve at any race by yourself?
When forced to really think about the changes we make to get stronger, better, faster, there are almost always other people involved: family and friends who show up for every race, holding signs and buying celebratory brunch; friends and family who have learned to schedule weekend gatherings around long runs — they all contribute to our ability to be better. Without this support, would any of us have the self-discipline to stick to training on those cold, rainy mornings when no one's around to push us out the door?
Your running club could make you reach the finish line faster. How many seconds could I attribute to their motivation throughout the Summer? How many seconds did I spare because they helped me run up the huge hills on this course every Monday night for three months?
More importantly, when you cross the finish line, you'll have them there smiling and cheering for you which is better than your finish time!
What's a race without community support?
What's a race without volunteers? A training run. That's it. And no one's training runs are as fast as that same distance on race day. How many seconds can be attributed to the perfectly placed water stop? That volunteer you see at every race who offers a high-five or a motivating word when you feel like stopping to lie down for a bit saves minutes off of every race. Strangers who devote their weekends to cheering, fueling, and motivating racers are worth time shaved off every training run.
What would happen if we couldn't rely on our local running stores to fit, recommend, and replace our battered running shoes? Without the guidance of the experts at the local stores, we'd never run again after our first blister, bloody toe, or lost toenail.
What are coaches and mentors worth to your time?
Apps like Fitonomy are the voices that keep you going when it's too hot, too cold, too something to get out of bed and go for a run, a workout, a swim, or a bike ride. Little phrases or mottos as a notification will help you start and not quit. You'll hear "focus and intensity" and "hustle up" most clearly on the days when you don't want to hear anything but an excuse to skip a run.
Perhaps there are runners who can completely claim that a personal record is personal; they received no support, guidance, or help in getting faster.
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