Welcome! Forums Running Forum age-grading

This topic contains 7 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  GTF 10 years, 9 months ago.

  • Author
  • #7479


    where in the world do they come up with these figures?


  • #25149


    I believe most age grading tables/calculators are based on extrapolation of age group world records. Of course, there are numerous flaws with doing such calculations, the biggest being that open world records are set by those whose livelihoods depend on running fast where age group world records are typically set by those who are at least slightly less concerned about making a living by running fast.

  • #25150


    Plus the AG records are often inaccurate.  I believe for the AG AR, one has to have a certain number of certified officials vouching on the right set of paperwork.  (It may be similar for the AG WR marks.)  So the current AG AR list is not exactly reflective of the fastest times ever run by people in those age brackets.

    I have never put much stock into them – as noted I find records to be overrated – but then I have never seen much point to age-grading, either.

  • #25151


    but then I have never seen much point to age-grading, either.

    as I have gotten older it is entertaining to “think” that I could have been faster when I was younger… truth be told, I could not have run as fast as the AG tables say…I was so slow in HS that the fitness booklet didn't have a time slow enough for me!! I think as people like Joan Benoit Samuelson & Colleen DeRuek get older the table should be tweeked to reflect a better reality… I will say that I smiled when a much younger runner (30 years younger) bragged to me how much faster she was than I, well YEAH, I should hope so, come back in 30 years and two children while working a full time job and training after you've cooked dinner and helped with homework…but I just checked out how we compared in the AG tables and I was a few minutes faster than her, but I wouldn't have used it as FACT, just entertaining to think about…

    similar to a chart I found in an old running book (circa 1974) that correlated mpw with marathon times… faulty logic as it stated that runners who ran 50 mpw ran below 4:00 and 60 mpw ran below 3:30, etc… but in reality it was more complicated than just puttin gin the miles, those who DID put miles had some talent… so even when I put in 60 mpw I could not have run even below 4:00 unless there was a cliff for the last half mile of the race…

    I guess what I'm saying is that AG tables are entertaining statistics… and as some famous person once said “There are liars, DAMN liars and then there are statiticians.”

  • #25152


    I believe the way they come up with the numbers in the age graded charts is by compiling times from thousands of races and grading them out by percentages relative to the world record for each age. It really does need to be taken with a grain of salt. As we all get older we slow down. I believe that runners who were very competitive in  their 20's and 30's lose interest because of high standards and knowing that they will never again run a “PR”. Runners who did not compete in college or at a high level seem to keep their hunger and desire longer than “elite” runners do. They get even more motivation as they see names coming back to them that were once untouchable. This is not meant to be critical to anyone, simply an observation. To use an analogy, I know a guy who was a scratch golfer in college and now rarely plays because it is too frustrating to him play at a lower level. I think most of you will see where I am going with this. As we get older there is less and less competition in our age groups due to this. I know I do not race as often as I used to because of this. I still train and do workouts and could win my age group in probably every race around but That does not excite me anymore.How could it when you used to be in the hunt for the overall in almost every race you ran. I do not mean to sound the wrong way please do not rip on me. I hope some of you know what I mean and can say it better. I believe you do not have to run races to have a love for intervals, running at the track or just timing yourself on a loop. In the end nobody cares how fast you ran but you and as long as you know what you can do that is all that matters. One last factor is children. I have five and would much rather watch soccer games and have my son or daughter have me see their goal rather than tell me about it because I was at the “fish valley 5k” winning my age group.

  • #25153


    runner 1 : I certianly understand what you are saying and think that I can agree with you in the sense that I also know people along the lines you have described. I think a lot of people relate on that level. However, I also know people that have moved beyond what they did at an elite level in college and compete now simply for the love of competition. I really don't think either is wrong, but I do think that both sides of the coin exist. Personally, as someone who enjoys competing so much, I like to jump in races no to simply experience the joy of competition again –  be it on a lesser scale. Its less about PR's and all that other stuff, and more about enjoyment now. I found that no matter how old, or what the ability is, just getting out there in a competition setting satisfies for me something beyond the personal glory we strove for in college maybe. Once you can put your mind past what you did when your body was indestructible, I think there is a lot of new ground to be found from a different aspect that is equally as enjoyable.

  • #25154


    I also definitely see what you are saying, runner1. I am one of those former collegiate runners. While I probably don't perfectly fit your description, nearly all of my former teammates do. No knock on them, they moved on with their lives in different directions and that's a perfectly valid and respectable choice to make. However, for various reasons, the fact is they aren't around anymore. As for myself, while I still race at a level that is at least close to where I was in college, I never raced as often since graduating as I used to. Even out of season when in college, I'd race 3 times a summer up in an area where there were relatively few races around. There have been summers since graduating when I didn't race that much during the summer and that should be my in season racing now.

    This year, I've run one race and that wasn't even a top effort as I incorporated it into a long run. I still went out and finished third in it but, had I taken it seriously, I would have been much closer to the winner. However, I had different goals on that day. That's just how things are now. I'm sure my racing plans will change a lot in the upcoming years as family events will dictate my schedule much more than they do now. As I do, I will probably race even less. That's just the path life takes. There's nothing wrong with it but it does mean that those who are in their 20s typically are living lives that are more conducive to getting the most out of their running. It's not just the aging process that slows many people down as they age, it's their life choices and priorities and, as you stated, sometimes the interest in competing when one finds oneself farther back in the pack.

  • #25155


    As near as I can tell by simple observation, adult-onset runners are at least as (irrationally?) obsessed with times and stats (PR or BMQ or AG) as any other demographic.  Those who have competed in high school and college also had something of a structured environment for training and racing that road racing, comparatively speaking, simply does not offer.  I do not know how it was with Ryan and his teammates, but a common perception among my teammates and I in high school and college was that road racing was rather a casual circus of fitness fanatics.  We might do a road race or two for grins in the off-season, but it was not something we took seriously.  In college, cc was a conditioning season for us and road racing was something we took even less seriously than that.  I noticed this perception well before I ever read a single word from Once A Runner, but there is good reason for John L. Parker, Jr. to have included that pertinent, pointed conversation regarding Cassidy's dislike of cross-country between him, Denton, and Mize during cross-country season, in chapter 4 — it truly was/is the view of those who are competing with aims (realistic or not) at the highest levels, it is a sentiment to which many of us could relate. 

    “Half a mile is what Mize usually gets you by, isn't it?”
    Cassidy feigned hurt. “You don't need to rub it in.  I told you I don't like it.  You distance animals can have it.  Milers are too fine tuned to enjoy that pastoral crap.”
    “So are road runners, race walkers, and orienteering nuts and a bunch of other folks looking to avoid real confrontation,” Denton said.
    “Right,” Mizner said.  He liked watching Cassidy having to take it for awhile.
    “Real confrontation is four laps and a cloud of . . . tartan dust,” Cassidy said.
    “That's clever.”
    “Tartan dust?” Mizner asked.
    “Oh yes, that's really clever,” Denton shook his head.

    It may not be nice or charitable or even grounded, but it could have something to do with why so many runners who competed in high school and college never cared to carry on to road racing after they hung up the spikes.  (A good portion of them may have completely satisfied their competitive jones during high school and college, as well.)  Personally speaking, I have come around but that has at least as much to do with my love of pure competition as anything else.  I could not recall the last time I ran a PR or even a CR – and I definitely cannot remember the last time I even thought about glancing at age-group results – but I sure as heck enjoy running down and dropping fellow runners, even if (or is it especially because?) they happen to dress like superheroes, and I am far from running out of fellow runners to run down and drop.  By the same token, I would not bother with training if I had no interest in competing. 

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.