When is the Best Day to Attempt a PB?

When is the Best Day to Attempt a PB?

When is the Best Day to Attempt a PB?

Written By: SportsShoes

The Best Day for Hitting a Personal Best, According to Social Media

Whether it’s achieving a faster time on your 5k, adding an extra kilogram to your bar at the gym or swimming 50m faster than you’ve done before, hitting a new personal best (PB) is often what drives us when exercising.

When striving to hit PBs, many people take to social media to share their progress for extra motivation, and so their friends can join in their celebration. And with PBs generally requiring weeks or months of dedicated training, we wanted to discover if there’s a certain time, day, or month where you can maximise your chances of hitting that personal record.

We took to Instagram, where the majority head to shout about their wins, and analysed over 35,000 social media posts, allowing us to reveal when the most common times for achieving a PB occur across different sports and fitness activities. The results may surprise you...

When is the best time to attempt a PB?

According to the data, 7pm on a Sunday evening is the optimal time for our best performance. Perhaps trying to find a way to hype ourselves up for the working week and wind down from the weekend’s activities, more PBs are posted to Instagram at this time compared to any other.

Alongside this, April and October were found as the months we are most likely to achieve that all important PB we have been chasing. With many people taking on fitness-based goals in the new year, April is a key checkpoint to mark our progress, with the most posts uploaded this year on the 5th. For most fitness plans, it’s generally agreed that it takes four to six weeks to see changes, and eight to twelve weeks to see real results. So, it seems that with many people starting new fitness journeys around the new year, April is when you’ll really come into your own with training. For those in the UK, this increase in PBs could even potentially be a nod towards banking in those final miles in preparation for the London Marathon, which occurs just a few weeks after.

Meanwhile, for those in the northern hemisphere, October’s success with PBs could be due to its residents ramping up training in warmer months for their holidays and with better weather resulting in greater participation in activities. But no matter where you are around the world, it seems the middle of the year is a popular time to hit refresh on your new year's resolutions and get back into training, which is culminating in a peak in PBs in October.

The Best PB Time & Day Per Activity

SportDayTime
All PBsSunday19:00
Any RunningSunday19:00
Marathon RunningSunday18:00
CyclingSunday18:00
Any LiftingMonday19:00
DeadliftMonday20:00
SquatMonday19:00
Bench PressMonday19:00
SwimmingMonday19:00
FishingMonday18:00

Running

If you’re looking to hit a running PB, the study found that Sundays are the best time for trying to hit that record. This is especially the case if you’re training for a marathon. With those in marathon training opting to complete their longer runs on a day where they have more spare time, this probably accounts for why Sundays see the most PBs for runners.

Lifting

When it comes to strength workouts, it’s the opposite, with the results showing that weekends are in fact the least popular time for lifting PBs. The majority of weightlifting PB posts are recorded on Monday evenings, accounting for 17%, followed by Tuesday and Wednesday (bringing in 15% of PB posts, respectively).

While an early morning or quick lunch break session is a go-to for many gym-goers, post-work lifting could be the answer if you’re looking to increase the weight you lift. Not only does working out at the end of the day have the bonus of convenience, but the evening is also actually when our bodies are in peak physical condition for training, with the hormones that allow us to be stronger documented to be at higher levels in the early evening.

Along with evenings being the most popular PB-posting time, Mondays were the most popular day to smash those lifting personal bests. While the Sunday scaries may make people dread a Monday session, those who choose to dive straight in at the start of the week could be benefitting when it comes to their workout progress. As many people opt for a rest day on Sunday, it could be having the bonus of starting the new week refreshed and raring to go, seemingly helping people doing weightlifting workouts achieve their PB.

Which communities are posting most?

With popular apps like the Couch to 5k boasting that more than 6 million runs were completed by those using the app in 2022, it’s clear that both seasoned runners, and those taking up the sport for the first time, are excited to take to social media to celebrate their wins – with the support of their fellow running community,

Apps like Couch to 5k are often just a stepping stone too, with many runners also taking on bigger challenges such as 10ks, which account for 7.6% of PB posts, and marathons, with 16.5% of posts sharing their long-distance running achievements with their followers.

Strength training records make up over 21% of the personal bests posted to Instagram. While a fitness activity in its own right, athletes across different communities also regularly introduce strength training to supplement their workouts to help them run, swim and cycle faster.

A popular power lifting exercise, deadlifting, accounts for the largest proportion of strength training PB posts, making it the most pride-inducing strength exercise on the ‘gram. And if you’re looking to get your own deadlift PB, Monday evenings at 8pm seem to be the best time to achieve it.

Fitness fanatics celebrating their wins on social media also include swimmers, making up 3.2% of total PB posts, where participants favour a late-night Monday swim to get their record lengths in. With a rise in interest for open water swimming, and many clubs regularly taking to icy waters, growing participation in recent years could account for the high number of PB posts.

RankSport% of PB Posts
1Marathon Running16.5%
2Fishing13.4%
35k Run7.9%
410k Run7.6%
5Deadlift6.6%
6Squat6.2%
7Bench Press5.4%
8Swimming3.2%
9Cycling2.6%
10Athletics2.5%

The participants most excited about their PBs

As well as finding out when we’re more likely to hit our PBs, we also looked at which communities were the happiest about smashing their PBs, using sentiment analysis.

PB Excitement Per Sport

RankSportAv. Excitement (Out of 10)
1Parkrun6.1
2Gym6.1
3Deadlift5.9
4Squat5.9
5Bench Press5.8
6Cycling5.6
75k Run5.1
8Marathon Running4.7
910k Run4.7
10Swimming4.4

1. Parkrun

Topping the list of proud PBers are parkrun athletes. A free event, parkrun encourages its participants to run, jog or even walk a 5k course taking place on Saturdays in towns and cities across the world. A community-based event that relies upon volunteers, the weekly race has now spread across over 2,000 locations with over 6.3 million members recorded in 2019. The sense of community, supportive fellow runners and shared volunteering responsibilities may be the cause of parkrun’s positivity across social media, with the highest satisfaction noted across parkrunners posts compared to any other sports.

2. Gym

Gymgoers come in second for being the happiest about their PBs. Whether it’s adding an extra plate on the leg press machine, or lifting a heavier weight in an exercise class, gyms often celebrate a similar community spirit as the likes of parkrun. Organisations like CrossFit and P45 create welcoming environments for those wanting to workout, and celebrating larger gains and getting stronger is something gymgoers are taking to social media to celebrate, with big smiles!

3. Deadlift

While deadlifts are a core exercise generally completed at the gym, the community who are equally happy about their progress in the weights room are those achieving deadlift PBs. One of the three powerlifting exercises, the famed deadlift is a staple in many exercise routines with over 5,600 posts under the hashtag #deadliftpb on Instagram. Successfully completing the deadlift after adding an extra plate on the bar is clearly a satisfying feeling amongst advanced and beginner athletes alike, with their posts shouting about their PBs being happier than any of the other powerlifting exercises.

If you’re training for a new personal best, be sure to take a look at our running and fitness hubs for advice, alongside ensuring you have the correct running kit or workout gear to give you the best conditions for your PB.

Methodology:

We analysed over 35,000 posts using 15 hashtags relating to personal bests on Instagram, looking at which sport the personal best referred to, and when the post was published. This data was used to find the most popular times of day, day of the week and month to post a PB.

Sentiment analysis was also conducted on hashtags and captions to reveal the average excitement score across different sports, to find those who were most excited about achieving their personal bests.

Data correct as of July 2023.







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