Defining “Personal Best”

Posted: April 19, 2011 in Motivation, Run, Training
Tags: ,
  • Tempo Run (click to see stats)
  • 11.16k (52:58)
  • Avg. Heart Rate = 161 bpm
  • Max. Heart Rate = 170 bpm
  • Avg. Pace = 4:44 /km
  • Max. Pace = 3:49 /km
  • Calories = 1070
  • Temp = 3º
  • SOTD: ‘Still In Hollywood’ by Concrete Blonde

Good, fast tempo run workout tonight.  Two particular key points of interest:

  1. New personal best at 5k with a time of 23:31
  2. Nearly did it again (23:52) for a new personal best at 10k with a time of 47:23

That’s an average moving pace of 4:43Holy shit!  Do I rock or do I rock?  Sorry, but sometimes you just have to ask these things.

I am pleased with my progress thus far on the running front even if I don’t always enjoy myself while doing it.  I wish I could say that I had some profound thought or other while doing all this that I could share with you now; however, the only thing I recall dwelling on was when my heart was going to implode inside my chest which, thankfully, it never did.

Tonight’s workout does raise an interesting question though, if you put up your best numbers, either in running, swimming or cycling and no one’s around to see it and therefore know about it, did you actually do it?  It’s the same ‘if a tree falls in the forest…’ mantra kitted out for triathlon.  Fortunately, I had my Garmin (linked above) handy to chronicle the event…but what if I didn’t?  Would it make any difference?

I know for some athletes, the reward is the goal; they are less interested in personal goals and more inclined towards those goals with more social appeal.  For example, there’s a misconception that performance time in a race is ‘official’ and that all other times don’t count if the stakes aren’t high enough, such as in training (as was the case tonight).  Personally, I don’t subscribe to that philosophy at all; personal best times are personal best times, regardless of when, where or how they’re achieved and should be celebrated accordingly, without qualifying them as “race times” and “training times.”  Victory is victory after all.

If you run a 5K or 10k race faster than you ever before, all that should matter is the accomplishment of doing so. Let’s be honest, if a race time has to be published on the Sportstats website just to make you happy then the accomplishment is no longer about you, per se, but other people’s perceptions of you.  And although this sense of public accomplishment is important, motivating and even self-gratifying in it’s own right, it doesn’t really encompass why I’m embarking on this whole triathlon crazy train in the first place.  There’s a much bigger picture going on: I’m doing things that I could never physically do before…ever.  How fucking awesome is that?

Knowing your motivation is crucial in training for the right reasons.  Sharing goals and accomplishments with others is rewarding, as I am doing now with this totally self-serving post about my swifty accomplishments. But never lose sight of the fact that you are the only person you have to satisfy and as it just so happens, this chubby stoner is mad happy tonight about his new personal bests.

What’s your personal philosophy about “Personal Bests”?  Do you give yourself the same credit during training that you do in races, or do you prefer the gratification of having “official” race times instead?

  1. Carolyn H. says:

    Dude 23:31 5k — you are rocking it. big time.

  2. Jan says:

    Hi Terry,
    I’m for appreciating the “Personal best!” without a doubt. EXCELLENT EFFORT Terry. These are outstanding times in 5 and 10K. You would SO hard. Just TAKE A BOW TERRY. It is very well deserved.

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