Running a personal best time is a special feeling.
Having propelled your body the fastest ever over a given distance is indeed something worth appreciating. So rare is it in life that we can look squarely upon any endeavor and say, "this is the best I have ever done this." What timing footraces does is afford this added layer of personal competition, with razor-sharp objectivity uncommon most elsewhere.
However, some, well-intending but nonetheless erroneous people, place far too much emphasis on the time ran on race day. Don't get me wrong, in track, time does matter, but not that much. Racing to run a certain time is the equivalent of trying to play a game of H-O-R-S-E during a 5 vs 5 basketball game. You can do it, but most likely will lose the day's contest even though you won your "game."
The point of a footrace is to compete against the field on hand in an effort to win. Yes, only one runner can win, which is what makes it so hard, but this truth doesn't prohibit everyone in the field from putting forth their best effort to claim victory.
A common rebuttal is, "but I am not fast enough to win,"
My reply — get better.
Develop a better mindset. Surround yourself with better people. And engage in better preparation.
You'll be surprised what impact useful adjustments in those three simple areas will do. One effect is a shift of focus away from the clock but on competing to your fullest in the race at hand, no matter how it unfolds. And another effect is counterintuitive — you'll run faster, more often, than you ever had when you concerned yourself excessively with time.
If you don't believe me, ask Daniel Herrera who just ran a small personal best of 3:39.45 in the 1500m at the USATF Distance Classic. Nowhere in his preparations did we discuss time, only competitive elements, actions, and decision making. The result? The fastest he's ever run the metric mile, but a 6th place finish in his heat.
What was his response to running a lifetime best?
"That's nice. But I'm out here racing to win."
To which I asked, "what do you need to do now?"
"Easy," he replied, "get better."
Thanks for reading. I'm glad you're here. // jm