15 Doable Tips to Follow to Set a Personal Best

The strategies you can follow to ensure you are setting a PR at your next race

Each of these tips below, by themselves are attainable and will help push the needle toward setting a PR – that’s the good news. The bad news is that even if you do each and every one of the 15 tips, you aren’t necessarily going to set your personal best.

15 tips to do so you can set a PR
15 easy-to-follow tips to follow so you can set your next PR

Find a training plan that works for your current needs.

Your plan might be static (doesn’t change based on improved fitness) that you find online or a customized plan from an online or in-person coach. However you get your hands on a plan, it’s important that you find something that addresses your needs.

Add Strength Training

Being a strong runner will keep you healthy when you ramp up your training. Not only does strength work improve running form, your running economy, and your overall ability to run faster. Being a strong runner will keep you healthy when you ramp up your training.

15 tips to follow so you can set a personal record at your next race
15 useful tips for you to follow so you can set a personal record

Emphasize the Long Run

I take my long runs very serious. I treat them like mini-races. I wear the gear that makes me feel good and I go in with a plan that I’d like to execute: run hills hard, negative split, run 60 minutes, run 90 minutes, after 10 miles run 3 at tempo pace, etc.

When I go in with a plan, I’m practicing what I’d like to happen on race day. I’m giving myself the opportunity to set and reach attainable goals and this boosts my confidence.

Get Lots of Sleep

If you’re wondering why you’re not fully recovering from workouts or a race, it’s probably because you’re not sleeping enough. A solid 8+ hours is crucial to optimal performance – no matter what you are training for. When we sleep, our body recovers and regenerates, leaving us stronger and fitter than before. If you’re cutting your sleep short, you aren’t fully benefiting from the health benefits from a full night of sleep.

The 15 tips you can follow to help you set your next PR
The 15 tips you can follow to help you set your next PR

Be Consistent

Being consistent is the key to being a good distance runner and setting a PR. Whether it’s 3, 4, or 5 days a week, it’s a good idea to keep it consistent. What you don’t want is to go all in for a few weeks only to not sustain that amount of work. As Des Linden once said, her training log resembled “Swiss cheese” because of all the gaps and holes in training. Whatever you think you can sustain over 3-4 months is what you should do from the get-go.


TrainwithMarc’s Recent Newsletter Stories:

Track Your Training

Keeping a training log is the road map to where your training has taken you. Without knowing where you’ve come from it’s hard to see where you need to go. A training log helps you makes sense of the plateaus, valleys, and the peaks of your running. You’ll be able to see trends in your running to confirm your fitness or show why you’re not exactly where you want to be.

Practice Various Race Day Scenarios

If you really want a PR, you’ll want a Plan A, a Plan B, and a Plan C. These contingencies should have various goals and strategies to achieve those goals. For example, when I was competing at Villanova, I would have these “nightmares” that I would fall during a race. In my dream, I would fall and get back up; this would help assure me that even if I did fall during a race, I’d be okay because I had a plan.

Target 1-3 Races

If you want to set a PR, you’ll ideally want to focus your running efforts on 1 to 3 major races. Preparing mentally and physically for a peak race takes a tremendous amount of energy, so focusing on a select few will allow you to fully prepare to perform at your best.

Build a Good Base

Research suggests that the bigger your running base is, the more speed work you can do. That means, if you can safely log higher and higher weeks before adding speed work, you’ll have a larger and longer peak.

Find Trainwithmarc on Instagram
Find Trainwithmarc on Instagram

Learn Periodization

Instead of doing the same workout week in and week out, periodizing suggests that before you start training for a new race, you begin with some down time or time off. From there, start with a good base of easy miles (see above) and then incorporate workouts and strength training (see below). From there, you’ll build your mileage to its peak, add in your toughest workouts that will prepare you for your peak race and end with peaking or tapering 7 to 10 days prior to your peak race.

Add Running Workouts

Workouts, including tempo runs, threshold repeats, and intervals are an important ingredient to reaching your personal best. You’ll want to do your best to periodize your training and peak for your race, so the type of workout you do and when you do it depend on where you are in your training plan.

Get Good Running Shoes

The feeling of new running shoes is worth every single penny a good pair of running shoes costs. Good running shoes – shoe that fit YOU and your running gait- are the most important piece of equipment that you need.

Improve Running Form

Good running form is a big component to setting a PR. With good form, you’ll be less likely to have running injuries. You’ll be efficient and have more energy for a kick at the end of your race. And you’ll look good for all those race photos you want to buy.

Fuel Appropriately

The secret to fueling appropriately is there really is no secret. If you eat well and limit your processed foods, you’ll have clean energy to directly impact your running. It’s not easy – trust me – but the best thing to do is start small and make manageable changes so you’re not overwhelmed and likely to fall back to your old habits.

Accept Cross Training

There’s no real substitute for running, so the primary focus of your plan should be running. That being said, cross training is very important to the longevity of your running. Mix in cross training to extend your recovery days or to assist in building up your base.  

Summary

The 15 tips above certainly are not going to guarantee that you’ll set a personal best, but I assure you, if you AREN’T attempting to work on these tips, there is NO WAY you’ll be setting a PR.

Did you find this article helpful? Let me know by leaving a comment below or join the conversation on Twitter or Facebook.

Need a running coach for your next race?

A coach will create the training plan so you can focus on your running goals!

Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT & USATF Certified Running Coach
Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT & USATF Certified Running Coach

Marc is a USATF Track and Field & Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT O2 certified running coach. I have more than 19 years of experience running and more than 10 years of experience coaching runners. Click for more information!


WELCOME TO THE RUNNING COACHES’ CORNER!

For runners: Link up with running successes of your own and gather insight from running coaches!

For coaches: Link up each week to post your favorite running tips and coaching ideas.

LINK-UP RULES

Join your hosts: Coach Debbie Runs and TrainwithMarc each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup!

  • Your link must be running related. You don’t have to be a coach to join but you do have to post something related to running. Unrelated links will be removed.
  • You must link back to your hosts — it’s common courtesy and a lot more fun!
  • Spread the link-up love by visiting at least two other #running bloggers! Leave a comment and find new blogs to read!
  • Use hashtags #running, #coachescorner, and #runningcoachescorner to stay in touch and promote your content!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter
https://fresh.inlinkz.com/js/widget/load.js?id=ef8b06cc10bc6002458d
Advertisements

6 thoughts on “15 Doable Tips to Follow to Set a Personal Best

  1. deborahbrooks14 June 12, 2019 — 8:24 AM

    sleep and more recovery seem to be much more important for me as I age. Thanks for the tips and the linkup

    Like

  2. Janelle @ Run With No Regrets June 12, 2019 — 11:07 AM

    Excellent tips on getting a PR! I think that having those tempo runs and intervals really made a difference for me getting my marathon PR last year! And I definitely agree that it’s important to be consistent and have a good plan!

    Like

  3. No more PRs for me but these were strategies I followed back when I was training and running hard. I still want to run well, of course, even if I don’t push as hard as I used to I still focus on long runs, base building, and some speed training. And like Deborah said, as we get older sleep and recovery time seem to be even more important.

    Like

  4. I hear you, I’m not aiming for short-distance PR’s either, but I’m still doing my best to do everything the “right way”.

    Like

  5. Definitely focusing on those two as well. Without either I’m cranky and injured, which sucks for everyone.

    Like

  6. Yeah, I love tempos! They make me feel ready for any race distance.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close