How to train to set a Personal Record?

Running Aug 04, 2020
Photo by Alexander Redl / Unsplash

Runners around the world view the process of preparing a new personal record by a certain time as their ultimate goal. Every runner has a different method when it comes to maximizing their personal record because there has never been a “global” way to showcase a competitive runner’s mental and physical self through a new achievement. The most important steps in the process of increasing our PR are to sleep/recover, eat well, train hard/stretch, be patient and also be self-confident at a mental stage.

Distance vs Speed?

The better situation for runners that are trying to break their personal records is to first build up their endurance through a certain distance relative to what they are running. Endurance through a longer distance even at a slow pace should come before a gradual change of speed. This decreases the chances of injuries to occur for a runner.


Photo by Jenny Hill / Unsplash

For a longer distance record, a run-walk method is very common as it benefits the runner’s ability to strive for a greater distance even if the process may sound slow and boring. The run-walk method helps the runner realize their amount of energy compared to when the transition from walking to running occurs. Another method includes running at a constant pace for a period of time and then slowly increasing the pace weekly, without pushing the limit too far.


Photo by Zach Lucero / Unsplash

For a faster time, a runner must stretch out the bands inside their muscle and then utilize a run at a steady pace. A tempo run of starting at a certain speed and slowly increasing it until the end can benefit the runner’s muscular system. A repetition of interval running, leg drills and a time for recovery before the PR is also very beneficial. Treadmills are the best friends of runners who are trying to increase their speed because this allows the user to control their minimum and maximum rate of speed.

Short vs Long Distance?

Both types of distances require the runner to participate in a repetitive phase of proper sleep, eating habits and running routine before the PR day.

Long Distance

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For long distance runners like cross country or marathon runners tend to usually run 70% of the actual race distance and then steadily increase it by 5%. The mental and physical stage of a distance runner is very crucial for the most positive result. The respiratory motion of breathing through the belly, nose and mouth at a constant rate is very key before an intense PR attempt. Repetition of adjusting to the race and recovering a day after a long distance run is very crucial. Runners must be 100% hydrated and well aware of how much energy should be used throughout the segments of the race. Training at locations with unusual terrain and ground level are also very helpful for the runner’s respiratory strength and capacity. Long-distance runners like the 400m to 10k usually prefer to wear lighter shoes that contain a firm/protective sole, capable of lasting a greater amount of time.

Short Distance

Photo by Serghei Trofimov / Unsplash

For shorter distances, it is best for the runner to stretch or complete drills like wall drives, sled drags, jump ropes or even short sprints on a treadmill. In short distance PRs, the drills focus more on increasing the muscle band’s capability of striving and forcing the runner to push off the ground at an intense rate. Short distance runners must have a knowledge on when to accelerate at a maximum velocity, how to set up the blocks, the starting running position and the arm-leg dependency motion throughout the race. Before a PR, the technique and motion of a runner must be above decent in order for the runner to cover more distance with a single stride. Short distance runners like in the 100m or 200m usually wear light-weighted shoes that are flexible and have spikes.

The goal for each passionate runner is not easy as countless hours of sweat, pain, and determination must be regulated repeatedly in order for a successful result. Any of the tips applied for a certain category can also be used for the opposite, and the process may vary based on your capability or age. A personal record is not just a quantitative data, but an idea that influences us to feel confident about continuing to the next chapter of our extreme limits.

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❤️ The StayRunning Team

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Hong (Zane) Zheng

Hello, I am from short distance runner from Texas. Some of my hobbies besides running track are chilling outside, helping people and spending time with the people I appreciate.

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