Want To Achieve A Personal Best? Here’s How!
Nothing feels better than when you achieve a personal best and that’s why Runtastic is excited to present a great feature for our Premium members on Runtastic.com! Runtastic Records is a fun & motivating new feature which helps you keep track of your personal records. No matter what your activity or goal of choice, you’ll definitely find something to keep you pushing your limits! With 70+ records just waiting to be set, we’re excited to see what you can do with this new feature.
Not sure where to start? No problem, we’re here to help! In order to help you take off on your path to greatness, we worked with our friend Jason Fitzgerald, the man behind Strength Running and a USATF-certified running coach, known for helping people push through plateaus and achieve a personal best. If his post about how to set your own records doesn’t inspire you, we’re not sure what will! Let’s go!
How to Achieve A Personal Best
When was the last time you set a new personal best? Whether you’re running a new 5k time or bench pressing more weight in the gym, achieving a personal best – or PB – showcases your most impressive performance. Even if you’re not a competitive athlete, monitoring your personal best performances is both rewarding and fun. After all, who doesn’t love to improve?
Most runners remember their running PB better than their kids’ names. It’s how we measure our progress and stay motivated – and of course, they provide us with bragging rights when we improve on our best times.
Almost every athlete has the potential to improve on their current performances. Running faster, lifting more, or cycling longer is possible with the right training upgrades and approach.
Ready to see how you can achieve your next personal best?
Take The Next Logical Step
Mark Wetmore, the University of Colorado Cross Country Coach, often summarizes how athletes can improve by saying they need to, “take the next logical step.”
This phrase means that your training needs to be progressive – or, constantly evolving. If you want to lift more weight in the gym, you need to train with more weight than you ever have before. If you’re a runner and have been doing low mileage, refocusing on proper endurance training can get you big results.
Most runners can see the biggest improvements by changing just a few aspects of their running. In the order of importance, I recommend:
- Run a longer long run
- Run higher weekly mileage
- Be more consistent and don’t take unnecessary time off from running
- Run longer workouts
- Run faster workouts
Since most races are almost entirely endurance-oriented, your aerobic fitness and endurance are the most important elements of fitness to develop. Speed comes from strength which is why it’s last on my list (and fast workouts are riskier for overuse injuries).
If you’re a cyclist, weight lifter, or other athlete you can follow these same principles to improve. What element of your training can be taken to the next logical step?
Focus on the Fundamentals
Many athletes focus on minutiae and the wrong things to improve, like what brand of gel is best for fueling during a long bike ride or whether a certain type of running shoe can result in a faster race.
Instead, focus on the fundamentals. Learn the handful of training principles that give you the most rewards. In an endurance sport those principles are consistency, volume, and speed.
And since most recreational athletes don’t train enough, you can often improve the most by simply being more consistent and exercising slightly more than usual. If you’re a runner, run higher mileage. If you’re a cyclist, spend more time every week in the saddle. If you swim, do more laps.
When you’re doing more than you ever have before, focus on injury prevention. Most athletes can stay healthy by doing several bodyweight training workouts per week.
Doing more volume – consistently – while getting stronger is the surest path toward dramatic improvement.
Go ahead, take the “next logical step” and you’ll be setting new personal bests in no time!
Jason Fitzgerald is a 2:39 marathoner, USA Track & Field certified coach, and the founder of Strength Running. Get proven running advice on the blog, or get a free presentation on how to prevent injuries.