Thursday, December 10, 2009


All right, things seem to have settled down in my life, so let’s see if I can get this thing fired up again. I’ve actually been feeling pretty good about my running lately. After a cutback week the week of Thanksgiving, I bounced back with 62 miles last week. That’s basically my highest week since July.

However, yesterday we received our first significant snowfall of the year, so I’m sure I’ll be strapping on the skis soon. The weird thing is that I’m not super fired up about it yet. I am signed up for the Birkie and I do want to ski well there. However, I’m just not taking the approach that I have to ski as much as possible this season. When I think about last year, there were quite a few days that I tried to ski even though the conditions weren’t very conducive. For example, if it gets too cold your skis just won’t glide. This year I’m just going to go for a run instead. No sense banging my head against a wall.

I mentioned that one of the reasons I haven’t been blogging is that I was busy working on a Minnesota Runner of the Year project. The way it basically works is that there are a set of standards for various distances for each age group and sex. Anyone that meets those standards qualifies to receive points at each distance. Simply put, the person with the most points wins.

If you look at the standards, you’ll see that some are much easier to achieve than others. Typically speaking, distances like 20K and 30K that aren’t run too frequently are much easier to meet than the often run 5K and 10K. As a 40-year-old man, I’d have to run 35:30 for 10K (5:42 pace) or 2:06 for 30K (6:48 pace). If you’re familiar with a WAVA age-grading calculator, the 10K converts to 78.5% compared to 70.7%. That’s a huge difference. My all-time 10K PR only converts to 77.2%.

The reason I bring all this up is because the numbers don’t lie. The thing I noticed while working on the Runner of the Year project is that each runner is usually racing within a very narrow WAVA % band. They’re usually running between something like 83 and 85%, for example. They’re not running 76% one week and then 89% the next.

I understand that’s not an earth-shattering realization. But I got to thinking about my past racing, WAVA %, the standards for 40-44 year old men and how I could use this info for setting up my goals for 2010. If I look at my best races recently – say, the last 3 years – they convert to WAVA % between 71.4% and 73.9%. Now, if I convert the Runner of the Year standards to WAVA %, there are only 6 distances that fall within that range; 12K, 15K, 20K, 25K, 20M and 30K.

I’ve been trying to determine a 2010 race schedule based on meeting some of these standards. As I mentioned before, most of these are seldom run distances, so it’s not as easy as it sounds. There’s basically one race in the state for 12K, 20K, 25K and only two for 20M and 30K. Throw in the fact that the 12K and one of the 20M are the same day and that I’ll be on a vacation at the end of May. Therefore, it looks like I might only be left with 2 or 3 chances to meet those goals during the first half of 2010.

There will be more to come on the topic as I give it more thought.

Quote of the Day;

“God determines how fast you’re going to run; I can help only with the mechanics.” – Bill Bowerman


Matthew Gabrielson said...

How are the paths on the Johnny Cake-McAndrews-Cliff loop? Matt G.

Chad said...

I was surprised to see that McAndrews was plowed today. I'm not sure about Johnny Cake and Cliff. If I drive that way tomorrow, I'll let you know.

SteveQ said...

My best WAVA was 83.3 (25:35 8K at age 21); my best times recently are at distances not in the calculator - but probably in the 60's. Thanks for making me feel even older and slower!