Is running all about PBs?


A few weeks ago I was in a running rut – I got myself so wound up all the time. I used to live, breath and sleep running, yet my running wasn’t improving at all. If anything it was getting worse and I was becoming physically and mentally exhausted.

After a while I realised that running was starting to feel like work and it wasn’t enjoyable at all! This is supposed to be my hobby, it’s supposed to be fun and I’m supposed to love it. I read a few articles about sports psychology and one of them mentioned, unsurprisingly, that being too tense and too stressed about always PBing can have a negative impact on your running.

So I tried to remember why I loved to running in the first place:

– Gives me a sense of freedom and gets me outside in the fresh air

– I’ve met some great people

– Gets me out at the weekends and makes me visit places I wouldn’t normally

– Gives me a sense of achievement

– Keeps me fit and healthy


Then I went back to basics – I started running without music taking in my surroundings and listening to my body, and tried to look at my Garmin less or run without it, and run what I felt like running at the time. I looked after my body and gave it rest when it needed it. I ran races and looked at the scenery, sucked up the atmosphere and enjoyed it.

What followed in 2 months was an unexpected bonus – I ran 3 new PBs:

– 5k in 25.04 – knocked a minute off

– 10k in 52.32 – knocked 2.5 minutes off

– Half marathon in 1.58.57 – knocked nearly 12 minutes off

With the start of the #Sub50Project it might look like I’m all about PBs, but I’m not. The objective of the #Sub50Project is to learn more about running and what makes us tick as athletes and it’s a chance to share these experiences with others. Running can be such a solitary thing and we can get so wrapped up in ourselves it will be nice to remember we are not alone in our struggles. I’m hoping the meet ups will also be a whole lot of fun! πŸ™‚ If hitting a sub 50-minute 10k happens as a result, then that’s a happy bonus!


11 thoughts on “Is running all about PBs?

  1. I think PBs are great motivation, especially to someone like me who is new to running and it’s great to see progress, but I can see how people can get too wrapped up in times and forget that the fact they are getting out there and doing these distances is an achievement in itself.
    For me running is like therapy, I can literally run away from all my problems (until I get back home) so I hope running never turns into feeling like work!

    • Just keep that thought with you! πŸ™‚ I think, like anything, the more you get into something the more ‘focused’ you become and goal driven (like at work!) – it’s nice to have goals but remember that if you don’t achieve them all the time it’s not the end of the world! πŸ™‚

  2. One of my main bad habits is checking the Garmin all the time and becoming addicted to staying at the same pace. It’s definitely too easy to always think about getting a PB and know the feeling of everything above all too well!

  3. I realised today at parkrun that I have become too reliant on my garmin I checked it a lot today thinking arrggh I am so close to PB but I won’t make it which then made me more tense and I’m sure made my running worse than normal. Why do we do it to ourselves we should all remember why we run and it’s mainly cos we love it, cos it’s an escape from real life, time to think through our problems and find a solution or just forget about them altogether.
    Woop to you for smashing your PB’s lately but you are so right it’s not all about those markers.

    • Yeah it’s not enjoyable when you are so focussed on pace and time ALL the time is it? I am so guilty of this and need to, as Joey said, leave the garmin at home! πŸ™‚

  4. “We should love, what we do else we will get stressed.
    If running is hobby, we should run for fun and PBs will take care of itself.
    I have noticed, sometimes when I am too focused on PB, my performance suffers.”

  5. I have been laser focused on a PR, really a BQ (Boston Qualifier). That was my holy grail. It turned out my horses were just coconut shells. (Monty Python ref) I missed my BQ by 22 minutes, but I set a new PR by 13 minutes. Simple math – I needed to knock 35 minutes off of my previous marathon PR. CaRazy! But I tried and gave it all I was worth and left it all out there in the course.
    I do have that fire in the belly that drives me to push as hard as I can during most races. However, I have plenty of races where I just want to run a respectable time and then drink beer the rest of the day.
    I have a few 5Ks to finish out the year and my primary focus will be fun, hanging out with friends and drinking really good beers. Well, IPA’s if I can help it!
    Sometimes you can over train and then you are just too tired or hurt to perform well during a race. I think you learned a valuable lesson that will serve you well for years to come.
    Cheers, Andy

    • Thing is I am really ridiculously competitive, but when it starts being to the detriment of enjoyment it’s not worth it. My job is stressful enough as it is and running is supposed to be my release. Anyway, running seems to be one of the few things that’s going well lately. Congrats on your marathon by the way – super speedy! πŸ™‚

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