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Age & Weight Grading Calculator Analyzes Race Success

Posted by Filed Under: Science and Research, Tools for Runners, Training

tools.pngThere 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:

Age: 36
Weight: 167
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)
Weight: 160
Marathon Finish Time: 3:38:28

And here is what the Flyer Handicap Calculator had to say about those stats:

  1. My 2003 result would have equaled a 3:18 marathon at the age of 25.
  2. 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!

Update:

Age: 40
Weight: 165
Marathon Finish Time: 3:30:29
Age & Weight Graded to 25 Years: 3:04:30 (still improving with age!)

About Mark Iocchelli

Also known as the "Running Blogfather", I'm a 40-something marathoner who has beaten stress fractures and terrible shin splints. Now I'm running double the mileage with no pain - and I'm getting faster. I love to talk about running form and Arthur Lydiard. I also enjoy taking photographs, have a beautiful (and very patient!) wife, and am the proud father of two crazy kids. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments about the site.



4 Comments
  1. Jessica on June 26th at 5:03 pm

    Wow. My Marathon time would have been 45 minutes faster if I were 5 years younger and a lot lighter.

  2. Adeel on June 26th at 7:36 pm

    Mine would’ve been 8 seconds slower if I was older and fatter.

  3. A Passion for Running » age & weight graded running statistics on September 19th at 12:06 pm

    […] few months ago, I posted an article about age and weight grading on CRN. Here’s an update on my PR age+weight grading history including the new Regina […]

  4. Leigh-Anne on April 17th at 8:09 am

    perhaps you could help.

    There 7 of us going to be running a half marathon in a few months time. We all range in age, fitness and weight. We were wondering if there is a handicapping system that would tell who should be how fast ahead or behind the next one in order to win (between the 7 of us)

    Details:
    Sex Age Weight Height
    M 25 83kg 1.87m
    M 31 93kg 1.79m
    M 45 106kg 1.89m
    M 47 104kg 1.90m
    F 22 55kg 1.64m
    F 38 65kg 1.60m
    F 42 88kg 1.65m

    Cleary the 47yr male should not expect to run it in the same time that the 25yr male would. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Kind regards

    Leigh-Anne

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