There was a three and a half year gap between my previous and new PR marathons.
I had made a number of changes in how I trained for the latter marathon. I could chalk the PR up solely due to those changes, but I also must recognize that I’m seven pounds lighter now.
Naturally, I’ve been wondering how much of my success was due to carrying seven less pounds versus being better trained. I knew they were both factors, but I didn’t know exactly how much of a role each played.
And then there was the question of age-grading – I was three and a half years younger in 2003.
In timely fashion, this month’s Runner’s World had an article in it called What’s Your Ideal Weight. The article had a link to an age and weight grading calculator – a tool that allows you to analyze your successes by comparing race times with a calculation involving your age and weight when you ran those races.
So I compared my 2003 PR:
Marathon Finish Time: 3:43:53
with my 2007 PR (update: see bottom for a more recent PR):
Age: 39 (actually, I was one month shy of the big 4-0)
Marathon Finish Time: 3:38:28
And here is what the Flyer Handicap Calculator had to say about those stats:
- My 2003 result would have equaled a 3:18 marathon at the age of 25.
- My 2007 result would have equaled a 3:13 marathon at the age of 25
What this means is that with weight and age factored out of the equation, my training is responsible for a very substantial improvement – just the kind of news I wanted to hear.
And that’s not taking into account the differences between 2003 and 2007 race course difficulty. The 2007 course was much more difficult than the 2003 PR course. I estimate I would have run this latest marathon at sub 3:30 if I had run it on the 2003 course.
And how would the picture have looked if I had run it in 3:30? It would have equated to a 3:07 marathon at age 25. Cool.
The Flyer Handicap Calculator is a terrific tool. It’s provided me with objective evidence that my training has been immensely successful.
Give it a try and tell us your stories!
Marathon Finish Time: 3:30:29
Age & Weight Graded to 25 Years: 3:04:30 (still improving with age!)