Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Age Grading, and McMillan Running Calculator

Hey Y'all!

Just a couple of running-related thoughts on my mind tonight.

Like most of us recreational runners, I usually don't run races to beat other runners. Sure, I pay attention to my division placing (and even gender and overall placings, stat geek that I am), but I'm primarily interested in comparing my current performance with a previous performance at the same distance. That's why I started using Cialis an age-grade calculator. I recently went through ALL of my past races (high school track included) and age-graded every one of them, so I could compare a 10k from last year with, say, a 10k I ran in 1985. I used a calculator on a site called Runbayou. An explanation from their site:

The Age-Grade Calculator is used to calculate your age-graded performance from your actual performance. This data can then be used to compare your performance with athletes of different ages.

They also offer this chart, for comparison purposes:

Age-graded performance level:
100% = Approximate World-Record Level
Over 90% = World Class
Over 80% = National Class
Over 70% = Regional Class
Over 60% = Local Class

There are other age-grade calculators (Runners World has one), but I like the one on Runbayou because it offers grading all the way down to a mile (1000m, actually) whereas most others bottom out at the 5k distance. Who knows which calculator is most accurate. As long as you use the same one to compare your own performances, it doesn't matter.

Some interesting data came from my own results. First of all, my age grade numbers are not at all impressive. That said, my highest average grade is in the mile, at 72.25. Not a big surprise, since this includes my junior and senior high school track seasons (when I was at my "peak"). Excluding track, the 10k distance has been my strongest (63.14). As a masters runner, I've only competed last year and this year. My 5 mile race earlier this year graded out at 64.53 (highest), while my rather disappointing marathon graded at 57.4. Even my five official half marathons graded at a disappointing 60.83 average, leading me to think I've not yet trained myself effectively for longer distance races, even though I enjoy them. Or maybe I'm just used to racing shorter distances, due to my high school track and cross-country training.

Have you used age grading? How do your shorter and longer races compare?

On a slight tangent, but somewhat related, I'd like to bring up the McMillan Running Calculator. I've heard some runners comment that it seems to work well for them in predicting times (primarily a marathon time, using a result from a recent shorter race). For me...not so much. Yes, I had a crash-and-burn experience during the late stages of my marathon, but I know I was NOT trained to run a 3:25 marathon, as the calculator would have me believe, even though I ran a 34:55 five mile race a month before (which is what I plugged in). Even if I plug in my half marathon PR from earlier this year, it shows me a 3:33 marathon. Perhaps I underestimate my abilities, but again, I don't think I was trained to run that. Why? Maybe inexperience since it was my first marathon. Maybe because I did zero interval training (although I did hills and tempo work). There are other factors that may have come into play (overtraining? terrible heat?), but given perfect race conditions that day, I would guess I could have run about a 3:40, give or take. Maybe a little faster, who knows.

If you've used the McMillan Running Calculator, has it been accurate in predicting your times?

Sorry – feeling a little geeky tonight.


  1. Definitely! I use Age Grade calculators also, and as a fellow running geek take pride in my 5K through marathon distance age-graded performances all being in the same range. It took me a long time to get there, however! That you're not yet there is due to your comparatively limited long-distance running history, your prior injuries, and your limited training mileage.

    Don't get discouraged, however. Stay healthy and happy and your age-group performances and the applicability of race performance extrapolation tools - such as McMillan's - will follow.

  2. 100% with Mark U on this. It works...if you are a geek...like many of us seem to be. My ultra performances are still getting better the older I get. I suppose speed goes first. I've never been very fast anyway. My dad ran all his best times when he was in his early fifties! So there is hope.

  3. That post made my brain hurt. Where's Gil?

  4. I honestly never knew what age grading meant. Or, at least how it was calculated. I'm a little OCD like you, so I may go back and do that too...

    I feel McMillan is good, but most people are built for speed or distance - but rarely both. I'm actually built for speed vs distance. My 5K PR predicts almost a 3 hr marathon. But there is NO way that I could do that. However, if I put my marathon PR in there, it says that I could do a 21 min 5K which I could do in my sleep.

  5. i am 12 and do a 16:55 5k? How good is this