Saturday, October 06, 2007

Calculating

I'm not sure how I feel about race predictor calculators. I love them b/c according to them I have the potential to get some PRs. For example, based on my 5K and 10K times I should theoretically be able to cut 55 minutes off of my marathon time and easily qualify for Boston with a 3:30 (a HUGE goal of mine that I've had for many many years). But I also think people have an optimal distance, and mine is not the marathon. I decompensate. I get injured training. I can never get my mileage up high enough to actually train for a marathon (except for my first one). It's all about survival. I haven't really raced enough (especially at 10 miles or the 1/2 marathon) to say what my optimal distance is, but I think it may be around 5K/10K.

I also think the calculator is wrong b/c it says, based on my recent 5K time, that I shouldn't be able to run a 10K as fast as my PR is-but I feel fitter, and less hung over, than when I ran my PR and I think I could smash what the calculator predicts. Also, I am pretty sure I could run a mile faster than what the calculator says.

I'm thinking about this b/c based on my 5K time last week I should be able to get a PR in a half marathon tomorrow by a few minutes. But what if it's hot out? What if it's hilly? What if I haven't (and I haven't) done enough long runs. How can the calculator be valuable when all of the courses and conditions and training for each event are different? It's ridiculous.

What do people think? Are those race predictor calculators accurate? How are they supposed to work?

3 comments:

Danielle in Iowa said...

I think they are based on a whole bunch of data in order to get the formula they use, but there aren't any error bars on that formula and I imagine that there is a lot of variation! I don't know who was used to create the multiplier, but if it was more elite athletes, then I don't think it is very valid for regular runners! (If I put in my 5k PR, I have never once hit any of the times for the distances greater than 5k!)

Fran said...

They can be hit or miss. So much depends on each race such as weather, hills and even how you're feeling on that particular day. They are, at best, guides. I find that they provide motivation though. A half is a good predictor for a marathon. If you can pull off the equivalent half time for that 3:30 marathon, you should be able to cruise into 3:40 with a marathon specific training program. Good luck tomorrow!

bryan said...

Yeah, I'm supposed to be able to run like a 2:40 marathon according to those. Um ... no. I don't see that happening.