Race Analysis Paralysis‬

by EJN Comments (0) Articles, Racing

Saw a very interesting info graphic by Jeff Walker on Facebook. Just had to share it with the Legion (including the title, which was boosted from a hashtag he threw on the end of it). For those who ran Lone Gull on Sunday and in 2014, you might want to pay extra close attention.

From Jeff: “I compared Lone Gull 2015 to 2014 times for all runners that ran both years under 50 minutes. If you ran 2014 in 36 flat, you would be expected to run 2015 in 36:57.” Now this comment was directed right at Dave Dunham, a 51 year old male runner from Bradford, MA, so that’s probably specific to his age bracket.

Doug Martyn stepped forward and asked what many of us were thinking: “Any thoughts regarding factors? Humidity? Headwind? Another year of age?”

Per Jeff: “About 1.1 sec per year of age. So a 25 year old would be expected to run only 40 sec slower this year relative to 2014 while a 50 year old 69 sec slower. These numbers are probably inflated by some runners in 2015 giving into the humidity/wind and slowing down more than expected. Also the model doesn’t really improve by adding “Age” (the estimate of 1.1 sec/year comes with large error).”

So it’s not a perfect model, but still shows something of a trend. Back to our friend Dave, he ran a 35:57 in 2014 and a 36:42 in 2015. Going a little younger, one Joseph Navas (whoever that guy is) ran a 33:22 in 2014 and came back to run a 34:50 in 2015. Now Joe is 44, and after seeing this breakdown he said “This makes me feel a bit better. Here I was blaming ‘The Summer of the Fish Taco’.” So Joe’s time was slower than the predicted 50+ seconds slower he should’ve run, but the gratuitous amount of fish tacos he consumed between June 21st and September 20th probably contributed to the extra 30+ seconds on his time. Still not a bad result, all things considered. How many people would turn down an offer of unlimited fish tacos for only a 30 second drop in your 10k time?

Taking a look at the front runners, here’s a couple of the top male & female runners from the past two races, showing 2014 results first followed by those from 2015:

Glarius Rop 30:25 vs 31:02
Ruben Sança 30:17 vs 30:28

Katie Misuraca 35:27 vs 35:52
Laura Hagley 36:08 vs 36:02

Rop and Misuraca dropped by an expected amount of time. They’ve been running real well this year (Katie won the race and is the USATF-NE Grand Prix champion!), so it’s safe to say that their fish taco intake was moderate. But when you see that Sança only ran 11 seconds slower while Hagley actually ran faster, it gives you a greater appreciation for their efforts that day. They probably didn’t have any fish tacos all summer.

Solid analysis by Jeff, although now it leads one to think if theirs any correlation between number of fish tacos consumed and decrease in time.

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