What’s a PR? A PR is a “personal record.” Once you’ve run your first race, you have a PR. It refers to your best time in a race of a specific distance. So, if you run a 5K race in 28:45, that’s your PR for the 5K distance. If you run faster than 28:45 in a subsequent 5K race, then you have a new PR for that distance. So you’ll have PRs for different race distances, from 1-milers to marathons.
Not all races are “chip timed” so I only count official chip timed races. Last week I participated in The Color Run. The Color Run is not chip timed, so I didn’t even bother with tracking how long it took me to complete the race.
Yesterday I participated in the Best Damn Race. It’s an official chip timed race. But what’s chip time?
Chip time is another way of saying “net time,” or the actual amount of time it takes a runner to go from the starting line of a race to the finish line. Many races feature a timing technology in which all participants run with a computer chip attached to their running shoe OR to their racing bib (this is what I prefer.) As you move across a special mat at the starting line, the chip registers that you’ve started the race. Then, as you cross the finishing line, the chip registers that you’ve finished the race. So, in other words, the amount of time that it takes you to reach the starting line (since most people are not right at the front of the race) doesn’t count in your overall time. In some cases of very large races, it can take runners at least 20 minutes to reach the starting line. Your chip time is different than your “gun time,” which is the amount of time it took you to finish the race from the moment the gun (or horn) went off.
I personally went through my PR setting stage in 2012. I hurt myself in a 1/2 marathon in early 2013, so I spent most of 2013 just trying to finish races, not concerned at all with setting any new PR’s. Now that we’re a full month into 2014 and I’ve run two races, I’m not really seeing 2014 being a year of PR setting either. But maybe it could be? What would I need to do to run towards a new PR in 2014? I’ll be running Iron Girl Clearwater in late April and I ran this same course last year, and that seems like a good enough time as any to try for a new PR.
I’ve done my research and in order to set a new 5K PR there are three things I need to focus on:
- race-specific fitness
Now I just need to figure out how badly I want it? Can I fit any extra running into my typical workout routine? I guess that’s a decision I’m going to have to really think about.