The personal record or PR is, to many runners, the Holy Grail of racing. It’s usually a time goal and so many of us meticulously chart our paces, our goals and every single workout so that, when the goal race comes up, we are be ready to beat our last best, to get faster, to be stronger. I have personally trained for PRs and even though it is so tough; it is so so rewarding.
But what if there’s another type of PR to shoot for, one that takes the same amount of time and focus but with a really different outcome? I’m here to tell you that while the time PRs are amazing, my favorite PR, and the PR I’m gunning for in Pittsburgh this May, is a PR in fun.
Before you dismiss this as silly, I want to assure you that a PR in fun takes a lot of work, planning and dedication. I want to lay out my plan for my major PR at the Pittsburgh Marathon – a major PR in fun!
- Choose your goal race wisely. This is something that has taken me 11 marathons to figure out. I love using the Pittsburgh Marathon as my goal race for a PR in fun. The weather is usually tops, so many wonderful people run the race, and the new course that was just announced looks like double fun. Tons of neighborhoods turn out into the street to support the runners. It is literally my favorite thing!
- Run for a reason. One of the best ways to ensure a PR in fun is to fundraise for a cause you believe in while training for your race. The Pittsburgh Marathon has so many amazing charity partners that you can sign up to run for. I’ve raised money for Team in Training with the Pittsburgh Marathon in the past and I’ve had friends fundraise for some of the other amazing organizations. Not only do you get the satisfaction of helping people in need, the organizations usually also have great incentives for their runners – special banquets before the race, motivational emails, training plans and more. Helping out, plus running a solid race, is a great way to PR in fun.
- Have an exciting post-race food plan. I’d be lying if I told you that I DON’T run specifically to eat the delicious food options that Pittsburgh has to offer. It starts with the fuel on the course – Honey Stinger get at me! Food in the finisher’s chute is almost as important to me as the medal – Herr’s chips, Eat’n Park smiley cookies, Dole fruit snacks – YUM! Then, I always make sure to have a reservation at one of the delicious restaurants in Pittsburgh. The New York Times (!!) reported early last year that the city is experiencing a food boom. Music to a runner’s ears! If you’re new to town, check out check out the Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s dining section.
- Get involved. If you’re running the half or the full marathon, come down early and volunteer for the 5K or at the expo. Of if you’re going to PR in fun at the 5K, make sure to grab your cowbell and get to cheering for the half and the full marathoners. Getting really involved in your goal race will truly enhance your ability to PR in fun. I love cheering and volunteering – I’m planning to cowbell pretty hard for the 5K so if you see a crazy excited lady with a sign that says Go You, make sure to let me know if you’re PR-ing in fun!
If you have any tips to add for a PR in fun – maybe a costume, customized shirt or favorite running playlist – make sure to share it in the comments. Can’t wait to see all of you during race weekend!