Well, we made it through another week, and this one was better than last week! However, my workouts were kind of all over the place. More on that in a minute. I did another virtual race this week and ran my fastest 5k time. I’ve now “PRd” in the 5k, 10k, and half doing virtual races. This begs the question, can you set a new PR in a virtual race?
I know many of you have been telling me “it totally counts!” and I honestly appreciate the support and encouragement. Also, I’m not trying to downplay these accomplishments, I’ve just been thinking about this topic quite a bit over the past few weeks. I wanted to share a few of my considerations and I’d love to hear others’ input on this as well.
Can You Set a New PR in a Virtual Race?
In defense of a virtual race counting as a PR, technically if you are running the correct distance and don’t stop your watch, then it could count. The only difference when you’re running a real race is that someone else is monitoring the course and times. So it mostly comes down to being honest about your race. No one else really cares that much about your PRs (no offense!) so it’s really a personal thing. If you feel like you ran an honest race, set a valid personal record, and feel like it should count, then count it!
Here’s why I hesitate to count my recent races as PRs. I’ve been running them on a very familiar route, focusing on the flattest areas I can find. I know these roads inside and out. This has given me some huge mental and physical advantages when racing. If I am struggling, I can turn a certain way to go downhill. If I am running up a hill, I know how long that hill is which makes it mentally easier to push through. There’s also no weaving when you are racing by yourself, so I feel like that automatically cuts off some time.
A few years ago I was doing long tempo runs in marathon training that led me to running 10k PRs on training runs. I didn’t consider counting those as PRs, even though I could have. I guess I feel like we need to differentiate between “real” races, virtual races, and workouts somehow.
Virtual Marathons and Boston Qualifying
I won’t be running a virtual marathon, and here’s why. I hope to eventually qualify for Boston, and if I do that in a virtual race it definitely won’t count. How frustrating would that be to put in the work only to know I will need to do it again whenever real races happen again? Sure, I could do it as a practice run but I might as well stick to 20 milers in training rather than risking an injury or overtraining.
Besides that, I think I would go crazy running 26.2 miles by myself! Let’s not even talk about how early I would need to wake up to make that happen…
So I guess my point here is that if I wouldn’t count a full marathon PR, because a BQ wouldn’t count, why would my shorter races count?
I am in no way trying to dismiss anyone else’s accomplishments in virtual races, and I hope it doesn’t come off that way! I am simply explaining why I won’t count these races as my own PRs which is a personal decision. My race times on my blog, on my PR board, and on my Garmin will stay the same until I run a real race again.
Weekly Run Down
Anyway, it’s time for the weekly run down! Between the weather, sore legs, and a blister it was a weird week. I felt like almost every day I was changing my workout plan for the day due to one of those factors. This was a week of working on being flexible with my workouts.
Monday: Strength Training + Foam Rolling
Tuesday: 3 Miles + Hip/Glute Exercises
Wednesday: 5 miles with a virtual 5k
Friday: Strength Training + 3.1 Stroller Miles
Sunday: 10 miles
Live Give Run Virtual 5k
The 5k I did on Wednesday needed to be completed by 4/30, so I was cutting it close! I put this off because I wanted to fully recover from my virtual half which was less than 2 weeks ago. Then I tried to plan this around all the rain/wind we were getting as well as my strength training sessions. I ran it in 21:31 which was 8 seconds faster than my PR in 2013. This felt like a huge accomplishment because it didn’t feel THAT hard. I am thinking/hoping I can continue to chip away at this time. I tend to struggle with pacing and pushing hard in 5ks so this might be a good chance to really work on getting faster.
Strength Training and a Blister
On Thursday I woke up with a tightness in my upper back/shoulder area as if I slept funny. So I did some yoga and put off my strength work until Friday. It felt fine on Friday, so I lifted heavy. Then I went out for a 3 mile stroller run wearing a pair of Pure Flows that I found in my closet. They must have been from about 3 years ago and I never wore then because of my long injury. I had worn them on Tuesday’s run and they felt fine, but on Friday then gave me a blister! It started to become noticeable around 1.5 miles in and at 2 miles it was bleeding. It actually felt better to run than to walk, so I ran the rest of the way home.
I decided to take a rest day on Saturday because my legs were tired and my blister was still sore. While I was hopeful that other shoes would feel ok, but I didn’t want to risk making it worse. I also knew it may start hurting mid-run, not necessarily when I first put on my shoes or started running. Ugh, blisters are so frustrating! But at least they heal pretty quickly if you don’t keep aggravating them. I was able to run 10 miles on Sunday with no issues.
Well that might have been my longest weekly run down post ever! I probably should have split this into 2 posts. This is what happens when you take a rest day and have some extra time on the weekend to write a blog post!
[Tweet “Do virtual races count as PRs? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this! @milebymilerun #weeklyrundown”]
What do you think about PRs in virtual races?
Have you had a hard time planning your workouts around the weather lately?
Ever find a pair of running shoes you never wore in your closet?