How to beat your PB: what all runners need to know

How to beat your PB: what all runners need to know

As a long distance runner, enjoying your favourite sport becomes much more than just how far you can go. How fast you can get there also matters. Shaving seconds off your personal best can feel as good as running that extra 10km.

Here are some tips which will help you on your way to smashing your personal best:

1. Train to Win

Training to your upper limit and including a varied plan, such as speed sessions can be key to finding that little bit extra when it matters most. The harder you can train, the more your body gets used to the situation and grows to feel comfortable during your runs.

Pushing beyond your comfort zone will help you to improve your performance. This will lead to shaving off those crucial seconds.

2. Consistent Stride Length

Getting into your optimal rhythm as quickly as possible will aid your chances of beating that PB. Your most comfortable stride length is most likely to get you to that quicker time, so getting into the best rhythm fast, and then maintaining it, will help you to keep up the pace.

3. Keep up your Glycogen

Every runner dreads ‘the wall’. One way of combatting it is keeping your glycogen levels up as best you can. The preparation for this can happen days before your run, depending on the distance. Make sure you have a decent amount of carbs before your run.

The runners' market place offers an array of energy gels, bars and blocks but many runners will find a handful of sweets does the trick just as well. This will maintain blood sugar levels and help you to smash through the wall.

4. Listen to your Body

Never run when in pain. You’re more likely to end up injured for a long term period and this in turn will lead to you needing even more time out. You’ll end up even further away from your goals.

Having a thorough Gait Analysis (normally free in good sports shops) or a biomechanical assessment can help ensure you are keeping your body in the best possible condition to succeed.

5. Work on your Weaknesses

Understanding your individual weaknesses will help you know where to focus to succeed. Cross training can be extremely beneficial to your running.  Ensure you have a good core conditioning programme to compliment your workouts.  

This is where your gym can help, as any one of the trainers will be happy to advise what type of workouts could help you work on that weakness keeping you from your next PB.

A plateau of any kind can be demotivating and this is definitely true when you’re desperate to break through the PB barrier. With these tips, you may find yourself a little closer to achieving that aim.


The Author

Lauren Gregory

Lauren is a keen endurance athlete and qualified Personal Trainer. She has many long distance races and half marathons under her belt. Recently Lauren ran the Race to the Stones, the UK's largest ultra marathon - 100 kilometers no less - which in turn has ignited her love for trail running. Lauren works hard on core conditioning and believes this is key to being a strong endurance athlete. Lauren heads up a ladies-only running group and is a big advocate of the Couch to 5km programme.


Trevor D.
25 October 2015

Trevor D.

it can be too easy to rest on the laurels - thanks for the tips on keeping pushing!

Matthew C.
23 October 2015

Matthew C.

I would agree that cross training is beneficial. I got shin splints through too much running so I backed off and included swimming and cycling too, and haven't suffered since.

Frank H.
21 October 2015

Frank H.

I've had a couple of irritaing plateaus in the last year or so and it can be so demotivating like you say - these tips are really helpful though and I'm pleased to say my last plateau didn't last too long and I'll keep this in mind if (probably when) the next one comes along.

Emma C.
21 October 2015

Emma C.

I have to say my gym instructor was amazing for motivating me with stories of people he'd helped beat their PBs. Try to find out other people who've done it and how,. and this will really spur you on. I knocked 4mins 34 seconds off my 5k run and was so chuffed.

Mike D.
20 October 2015

Mike D.

I was always told that jelly babies were a good thing to have before a football match!

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