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Age Grading, and Marathon Goals

BANGLE

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It's taper week, and I have extra time on my hands.

As one gets to my age (55), running for PRs is just pretty dang hard. Even improving year to year becomes a struggle. Over the next few decades I know it will be less about getting faster and more about limiting the inevitable slowdown. So I've been just measuring age group PRs for a while. But sometimes I will see an age-grade % in a race result, and I realized that's a pretty good way to measure my times against past performances.

So I pulled up the age-grading calculator and opened my race spreadsheet and proceeded to look up and enter age grades for all 306 races I have done since 1977. Now I can sort by age-grade to really see my best performances. It was fun! And results were pretty accurate. My best grades were still from my early youth PRs when I was 18 and 19. But my races now are pretty close to those, considering my ancient body.

My top score was a 78.46% for my 10K PR at age 19 of 34:03. I had six other races in that period over 77%. But then my top old man score was not far behind at 75.45% for a 5K of 20:10 at age 54. All my top scores lately are in the 5K, so I guess I'm under achieving in the longer ones. I have 22 5Ks in the last 5 years over 70%, but only three 10Ks and one Half over 70%. Last year's Phoenix half in 1:35:47 got me a 70.47%.

As for marathons, my top score remains my first one at age 18, my PR of 2:58:55. But it's only good for 68.77%. But my next two were my BQ races at age 49 and 53, both around 66%. So now I have a new goal for Sunday, an age-graded marathon PR. To beat 68.77% I need to run under 3:28:33, which happens to be right about what I'm shooting for!

So anyway, yes, the LA marathon is Sunday. I've been tapering hard. I decided that my injury-forced 5-week taper from two years ago worked so well, that I needn't worry about running too little these last three weeks. Two weeks ago I dropped to 4 runs and 38 miles with nothing over 11. Last week I skipped a run and only ran twice, 7 and 12, and I'm feeling pretty fresh. This week I will only do two runs, 7 today and 5 on Thursday. I do have a little injury tweak. One foot is a little sore, in the ankle and the arch, but not a big deal. Still, enough to make me want to cut back. The weather looks to be perfect! Colder than usual. 45-55 degrees during the race and partly cloudy or maybe a little rain. So I've got no excuses.

Goals. Well, as usual, the main one is to BQ, which means under 3:37 to be safe. But my training suggests I'm really capable of sub 3:30, maybe 3:25. So I will be shooting for under 3:30. And now hoping to crack 3:28:33! Likely I'll be at 3:25 pace for twenty miles, like usual, and then we'll see if the increased mileage helps me maintain better through those last 6 miles. My facebook should be posting tracking if you're curious.

The calculator is here if you are interested. Go ahead and wish me luck! I'll be wearing the Loopville All-star shirt and thinking about you guys!

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Of course I'm interested.

You've got some excellent training behind you, so a good day will do it. Best of luck.

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Conditions perfect for an awesome race. My goal lately has been to break 70, but I only managed once, when I was setting PRs in 2015, I managed a 70.12 in a 5k. But in the glory years I claim victory - a 78.50 10K at age 20 (34:02)

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2 hours ago, Jersey said:

Conditions perfect for an awesome race. My goal lately has been to break 70, but I only managed once, when I was setting PRs in 2015, I managed a 70.12 in a 5k. But in the glory years I claim victory - a 78.50 10K at age 20 (34:02)

I find it amazing that our 10K PRs are one second apart. With AG, I can still hope to beat that 78.50. Just need to get older.

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I am amazed that you have all your race results between 1977 and now.  That's a huge achievement in itself - along with your smokin' fast times at all ages!  Go get that marathon age graded PR!

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Very impressive. I've never come anywhere close to 70.

Good luck Sunday!

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Did you sort ALL 306 races?? 

Your training has been ammmmmmmmmazing. Some sort of magic always happens to you in L.A. and methinks this will be no different. I still remember reading your 2012 race recap - big inspiration in my own BQ journey. Go get 'em!!!

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ha yes, I like to play with the age-grading calculators too.. can't get anywhere near any PR, but maybe can hit the percentage ! says he excitedly..

last time I looked, a 1:50 halfmarathon is roughly equivalent to 1:30 when not suffering from old age, about 64%.
Ya know I might be able to run 1:50..
My PR half was 1:14, 78.9%, translates to 1:29 now.. that ain't happening.

Best of luck in LA !

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24 minutes ago, doug in co said:

ha yes, I like to play with the age-grading calculators too.. can't get anywhere near any PR, but maybe can hit the percentage ! says he excitedly..

last time I looked, a 1:50 halfmarathon is roughly equivalent to 1:30 when not suffering from old age, about 64%.
Ya know I might be able to run 1:50..
My PR half was 1:14, 78.9%, translates to 1:29 now.. that ain't happening.

Best of luck in LA !

78.9%!

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Really interesting stats Bangle. Never really looked into age gradings. My running when I was young was just fitness work for other sports so I don't really have times to compare. I'm not too many years off you so I'll have to work out my recent PR's. I can't get my head around running a 34min 10k! That is smoking! I think I ran maybe one 10k race in my teens in around 50mins haha...my (now) brother in law (we ran as a team) did around 34 mins from memory & he wasn't too pleased I was so slow!

Best of luck this week. Hope you get a good day & all your hard work proves fruitful.

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Will be tracking that BQ and AGPR this AM. GL!  (Good luck, and, I guess, go long!)

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