The term perception of effort refers to a person’s subjective sense of how hard he or she is working relative to his or her limit during exercise. Distinct from pain, thirst, heat, fatigue, and other perceptions that are commonly experienced during exercise, perception of effort plays a critical role in running performance. The better you get at judging how close you are to your limit at an given moment in a race, the closer you will come to finishing each race in the least amount of time physically possible. No device, test, or calculator can do that for you; it must be done by feel.
The PR Score system awards points for every PR set by any runner on the team over the course of their season, weighted to reflect how many runners are on the team and how often they compete. Athletes and coaches can see how they rank against other teams in setting PRs at the national and state level.
What’s unique about the score is that it is based entirely on improvement. “The slowest kid on the team has equal weight on the score at the end of the year,” says DeKoker—provided that kid gets better and sets PRs. The freshman breaking 13 minutes in the 3200m for the first time adds as many points as the senior winning the race with a nine-something personal best.