A blog by runners. For runners.

5 ways to measure your running success – beyond the PR

new-ways-to-measure-running-successMany of us measure our running success with numbers – most often, our personal records. Shave time off XX:XX from year to year, and it feels like making a slam dunk every time. And that’s a fine way (and one of the surest ways) to see progress from point A to point B. However, that’s not the only way to feel good about running. Nor is it the barometer for success.

Check out these other great ways you can feel good about putting one foot in front of the other.

Instead of focusing on your finish times, consider flipping your attention to the number of events you complete each year. You can collect miles, memories, and race medals, of course. Start by signing up for one event each month. Try running the same races without skipping years. Check out a back-to-back racing event. Or try something totally new like an adventure race. Crossing the finish line with lots of running friends is a great way to boost confidence and keep motivation stoked.

Perhaps you should try for a running streak! They’re not for everyone, that’s for sure, but intriguing regardless. Basically, go running at least one mile today, tomorrow, the next day, and don’t stop for, well, as long as you can manage. There are a bunch of pros and cons to this approach. However, if you’re up for a new challenge and way to push your limits, go for it. Alternatively, you can set a distance goal for the month or year and try to work toward that certain number of miles. It’s not exactly the same thing, but it will keep you going strong.

Shake off your tendency to slog along the same paths and add some inclines to your routine. You’ll gain some major mental and physical benefits.

Revel in your running glory by simply taking note of how you feel while jogging along. Compare this feeling to how it was a couple months or years ago. Have you finally made it through a race without walking? Or maybe you felt like you had way more energy at the end of your last 10K than normal? Good for you. This is a huge milestone in your running career. Try recording your mood in your training log after each run to see if you’re happy and feeling good more often than not.

Lately I’ve had my own ups and downs with feeling like I have much to brag about related to my athletic endeavors. So, I’ve chosen to measure my own success by adding up all the years I’ve been running. I started with my first jog back in 2002, during my freshman year at college. So, that’s a whopping 13 years for me. Consistency – however varied with pace, distance, etc. – is to be celebrated. I may go run 13 miles just thinking about it.

Written by Ashley Marcin.