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
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.