Originally posted on: April 26, 2013
Is there a difference between a Personal Best (PB) and a Personal Record (PR)?
Personally I believe that there is.
Way back in the Dark Ages of the 70's and 80's, when I first started running, other runners, (many of whom were much older and wiser than I ever will be, in other words they were about my age now), that I hung out with back then strongly believed that there was a huge difference between a PB and PR.
Ever since then I have always thought that a PB is an unofficial record and a PR is an official record.
A personal best was an unofficial time/distance that wasn't done on a "certified" course and can't be independently verified by race results (which sometimes have their own issues). It was usually a training run, unofficial group run or on a treadmill.
Example. The 19:59, I ran for 3.1 miles on the treadmill last month was a great run and I use for achieving my goal this year of breaking 20:00 minutes for a 5K, but it is not a PR. That is a goal that I set, was for me and how or when I break it doesn't matter, other than I know that I did and achieved that goal.
To me a personal record is an official race result on hopefully a certified course. It can be verified and you did it with other runners around you.
An example of this - I had never raced just a half marathon before last October, so my half marathon PR is 1:41:10 and was set at the Runner's World Half Festival, even though I have run a 1:39:42 for the same distance on the treadmill and when I was training for back in the 80's at a lot faster pace at that distance, those are not my PR's.
So really the distinctions in my mind between a Personal Best or a Personal Record are when or where it was done and that one is an independent verification of your time/distance.
I can't verify that I ran a 19:59 that day on the treadmill, but I know that did, so that is a Personal Best for a 5K post 55 and meets my goal this year. While I can independently verify that I ran a 1:41:10 for a half marathon, so that is a Personal Record that still stands even though I have a personal best this year of 1:39:42.
Does this really matter to most of us? Probably not, since running and our definitions of what is a PR are a very personal thing, but I am still a little old-school and the distinction between a PB and PR does exist for me.
What do you think, is there a distinction between a Personal Best or Personal Record for you?
Does it really matter?