When Do You Stop Calling it a PR?

Two years ago this weekend, I ran my fastest marathon. I trained hard, fueled well, caught a day with near perfect conditions in Washington, and ran my PR of 3:11:38.

When I finished that day, I had nothing left.  I stumbled around the finish area trying to get my senses about me and refuel. I was finally able to hobble out of the secure area where (thankfully) my dad was able to find me and hang with me as I continued to try to recover my wits. After sitting in the sun for about 20 minutes and getting some more recovery food and drink in my body, I was finally able to get up and move…straight to the beer tent!

2013 Marine Corps Marathon
2013 Marine Corps Marathon.

I have said before that I believe that marathon injured me in ways that have affected me in the last couple of years.  While I wanted to try to break under 3:10:00, I was never able to put together a training cycle without fatigue and malaise, mostly in my upper legs. After last fall’s debacle and near DNF at the Wineglass Marathon, it began occur to me that I may never run faster than I did in 2013.

If that is the case, I am actually fine with it.  It has been a two-year ordeal trying to figure out exactly what is wrong with me and how to fix it, but a lot of the frustration I had been having went away earlier this month with a much better than expected result in the Twin Cities Marathon – a BQ by 9:50. The result was less important than it being the strongest, most consistent race I’ve run.

Twin Cities Marathon, 10/5/15.  3:15:10.
Twin Cities Marathon, 10/5/15. 3:15:10.

So the real question is, then — how much time has to pass by before a PR is no longer a PR?  In 10 years from now – assuming I never run a faster marathon – it would be absurd to still be saying 3:11:38 is my PR.  What is the etiquette?  Do I qualify it?  “Well, I ran a 3:11, but that was in 2013.”  This is uncharted territory so for now, I’ve just been saying that and that I recently ran a 3:15.

That will likely have to do because I don’t know that I’ll be running any marathons again anytime soon.  I have all but guaranteed myself a slot in Boston in April 2017 – and that may very well be my next one.  I could use a break, but I also want to travel with my lovely bride next fall and let her know that it does not have to revolve around a marathon!


4 Replies to “When Do You Stop Calling it a PR?”

  1. That’s a really good question Kevin, I have wondered it as well. I think you are well within considering that a PR…plus you’ve achieved close times.

    This post made me realize how fast 2 years has gone though!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You have all the pieces to your question already in your blog. Your PR (Personal Record) is forever, but the general etiquette is to qualify it after two years, you can then follows it by your most recent best performance.


  3. Your PR is your PR. Maybe when you hit 50 or 60 you can set age PRs or something. When you’re 60, you’re never going to run as fast as you do now.
    I’m 51 and feel I still have a faster marathon in me. My PR is going on 2 years old also, but it’s a time I can be proud of even though it’s not a BQ.


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