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Why You Shouldn't Always Push for a Personal Record

Why You Shouldn't Always Push for a Personal Record

Holding back sometimes will ultimately help you grow stronger.

By Lucy MaherUpdated August 30, 2022


If you’re a regular on your Peloton Bike or Peloton Tread, it can be tempting to see each workout as an opportunity to best your previous personal record (PR). That’s because “hitting a PR is proof that all the work you are putting in is actually having an impact,” notes Peloton instructor Mayla Wedekind.

But by aggressively trying for a PR too often, you risk injury. There are lots of variables—such as sleep, stress, mindset, and nutrition—that affect whether or not your body is able to handle hard work on any given day. And if you don’t give yourself time to recover from previous hard workouts, it could come back to haunt you later.

Avoiding Physical and Mental Burnout

“Your body can't be pushed to 100 percent every single time or else it will burn out,” says instructor Sam Yo. “Think about the number of workouts you do a week and, now be honest, how much time do you dedicate to recovery after? People forget that we don't get stronger during the workouts, but when we allow the body time to regenerate.”

Trying relentlessly for a PR can be mentally draining as well, taking all the fun out of a great workout, Mayla adds. If your exercise sessions become frustrating, you’ll be less likely to stick to your routine.

Train Smart

But that’s not to say you should never strive for a PR. You can still aim to beat your previous record by following a few smart strategies.

First, you’ll want to plan ahead. “Think of your workout schedule as a four-week program,” Sam says. “Weeks one and two are the training. Week three is gametime to chase that PR, and then week number four is for recovery. Then repeat with a new PR to beat in four weeks.”

Recovery is crucial while following that plan, Sam notes. “When we rest, we repair, rebuild, regenerate, and get stronger,” he says.

Rest days don’t have to mean being a couch potato, however. Tapping into any number of yoga and stretch classes can help repair sore muscles, as can outdoor walks and low-impact rides. All, Sam says, “get the blood following to muscle without overload.”

Set Creative New Goals

If holding back is hard for you, you may benefit from setting some other types of goals, Mayla says, whether it’s perfecting your form out of the saddle on the Peloton Bike, hitting a new incline record on the Peloton Tread, or learning to exercise to the beat of the music.

Another important goal? “Get used to having fun just riding or running,” Mayla says. Learning to appreciate those quieter workouts will do wonders for you in the long run, we promise.

Whether you’re aiming for a PR or looking for something more low-key, there’s a class for you on the Peloton App.