No matter the level of runner I have spoken to who has any hint of a competitive streak, I am yet to meet one who is 100% satisfied with their PBs.
From those at the very elite end to the club athletes not blessed with natural ability, but who still care; I still get the wrinkle of the nose or wry smile accompanying their explanation of their PBs.
I have had the fortune to be around some of the UK’s fastest athletes and it’s amusing and also reassuring to hear them sharing this characteristic with the everyday runner. Even though they are working on seconds and split seconds improvements, as opposed to minutes or more.
I’m no different. My PBs in the 10k and marathon in particular give me a scratchy feeling. It’s because they were achieved on very hilly courses. I refuse to think of myself as a faster runner than what I officially am. How can I even consider myself a 3:15 marathon runner, if my PB says 3:22?
What causes me the minor annoyance is that I didn’t use those occasions wiser when my fitness and I’ll be honest my age were on my side. Had I tackled flatter courses when I was in good shape…well, as I said, you can’t speculate. You are what the records say you are.
That’s why I urge some fellow runners I know to make sure they don’t miss those golden moments of peak fitness. Make sure you get the good times banked when you can. You never know if they will come back in the future.
There’s no better souvenir of your peak than a fast time on the records. Even if it’s a time doesn’t entirely satisfy the perfectionist in the competitive runner, make sure you get one that will give you some satisfaction in your old age.