P.R.E. stands for Perceived Rate of Exertion and is about 8000 times better at telling you how hard you’re working than your $200 heart rate monitor. “Pre” also stands for Steve Prefontaine, one of the gutsiest, most talented runners in recent history and whose untimely death at the age of 26 left an indelible mark on the running community.
Pre was all about guts and it was obvious in the way that he ran. He ran as hard as he could for as long as he could, setting records in every distance from 2000 to 10000 meters. He was a champ and he ran like one.
P.R.E. is all about guts, too. On any given day, you could have a great run or a seriously crappy run. You could feel like you’re flying or about to face-plant on the Harlem Hills. It’s a total crap shoot.
This is precisely why you should leave the watch and the heart rate monitor at home sometimes and just run how you feel. P.R.E. is based on the ‘ol 1-10 scale, 1 being how much effort it takes to sit on your couch and read this blog and 10 being what it feels like to dry heave after literally running your guts out.
So, if you’re honest with yourself and you’re running at an 8 but your time doesn’t reflect the splits you normally have at an 8 P.R.E., don’t get discouraged. You’re putting out the 8 effort for that run (or workout) and that’s all that matters.
Some days are harder than others on your body and the innumerable factors that go into having a perfect run are not always in your control. What IS in your control is the effort you put into each and every workout. If your P.R.E. is consistently high and you are working hard, be OK with that.
Am I running my fastest? Nope. Am I working as hard as I can? You betchya. Am I fast like Pre? Not a chance.
It’s not always about the numbers. Sometimes it’s gotta be about the heart.
Pre was all about the heart.
“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” ~Steve Prefontaine