The Aging Athlete (5) ENDURANCE – 1500M

Photo courtesy of Rob Jerome

It’s time now to see what aging does to our ability to continue on at an above “normal” pace … our endurance. And the 1500m (the “metric mile”) is as good a place as any to start that analysis.

While the 1500m certainly packs a speed element into it, by far the bigger slice of success revolves around the endurance component. Look how John Walker (never the quickest thoroughbred on the course) uses his superb endurance to win the 1500m in the Montreal Olympics.

That’s all fine and good! But once we have endurance, how long do we hold on to it? And to what extent? How fast does it slip away?

First, let’s look at the trend of the 1500m as we age. This chart shows the trend of the AVERAGE “best performance” times from mastersrankings.com (2013-2016). [For new readers to this blog and the background behind this site, you can go here to read and understand how the statistics I use are pulled together.] The chart compares Men’s and Women’s 1500m averages over time. Get a blown up look at the chart by clicking here.

MW 1500m

All times are in seconds.

You will probably note, both the Men’s and Women’s curves are quite flat in the beginning. For Men, the average ANNUAL decline is somewhere around 1/2% (see the table below)  until M45 .(Note the “annual” decline I refer to is simply the arithmetic average of the loss of performance from the previous age-group divided by 5. It’s not foolish to assume the majority of that decline is in the final 2 years of the age-group, while the first 2-3 years’ performance hit is likely to be much less pronounced.)  At M50 the yearly decline doubles to 1%+ up to M60, then edges upward until it reaches over 2% at M75, then over 3% annually thereafter.

.For Women 1500m runners, the average ANNUAL slowdown begins very much like the Men. Performance slips 1/2%-3/4% every year until it hits 1% at W55. Then the decline reaches 1.8% (W60), eases back smartly at W65 (1.25+%), and then starts to increase again thereafter You can see all the details in the table below..

Age-GroupMen's Avg 1500mM Avg Decline per YearWomen's Avg 1500mW Avg Decline per Year
M-W 354:48.68
n/a5:40.28
n/a
M-W 404:55.40
0.47%
5:46.87
0.39%
M-W 455:03.32
0.54%
5:58.94
0.70%
M-W 505:18.34
0.99%
6:12.08
0.73%
M-W 555:36.20
1.12%
6:31.57
1.05%
M-W 605:58.07
1.30%
7:07.06
1.81%
M-W 656:30.39
1.80%
7:34.08
1.27%
M-W 707:03.01
1.67%
8:28.48
2.40%
M-W 757:47.97
2.13%
9:44.77
3.00%
M-W 809:00.69
3.11%
10:42.29
1.97%
M 8510:32.50
3.40%
n/an/a

To sum up on our ability to hold our endurance … we lose 1/2%-1% per year until we hit age 55. Then the next 10 years (Men to M70) our performance will decline somewhere between 1.3% and 1.8% annually. In our 70s the performance decline gets a little faster … 2%-3% per year.

You know what? That’s really not too bad at all!

Next we will go into more detail on the Men’s 1500m

And you can, of course, easily see how your 1500m rates versus your age-group peers by checking out your duncanSCORE. Simply click here , enter your age-group and time, and you will see how you score against all in your age-group, not just against the elite of the elite.

 

To be notified immediately for the next post, click on the “follow” button at the bottom right of your screen OR become a duncanSCORE friend on Facebook here 

 

The Aging Athlete (4) – Men’s 100m

Photo courtesy Dan Slovitt

The previous posting analyzed the available statistics on Masters Women’s 100m and tried to make some sense of all the numbers. Let’s do the same with the Men’s 100m and follow where the numbers lead.

We have charted the average time for Men’s 100m by age group (in blue) versus the existing World Record (in red) for each age-group (note the M90 average is blank because the number of performances is fairly low from our reporting years 2013-2016). See full size Mens100m

One thing to note is the early Men’s WRs (M35 and M40) which are 9.92 and 9.93, held by 2 incredible Olympians (Justin Gatlin and Kim Collins). Secondly, except for the big increase between M40-M45 in the WR (and that is due to the incredibly small increase of 0.01 second in the WR for M40 by Kim Collins), the upward slope (ie the decline in performance) is gentler for the WR line than it is for the “average” male sprinter. But both lines slope rather gently (certainly more gently than Women’s) until M80 in the average line, and M90 for the WR.

As the table below shows, the average ANNUAL decline in 100m performance is very similar if you look at the WR and at the average as I have calculated from mastersrankings.com. Close, but generally we slow down a little bit more for the “average” than the WR might indicate. That is until M75 when the difference becomes much more pronounced (and perhaps this is partially due to the decreasing participation rate in the older age-groups)

Typically your performance will erode around 1/2% per year until M50, 3/4%-1% or so annually until M70, and then  1 1/2-2% a year until you hit 85.

Age-GroupWorld RecordWR Avg Annual DeclineMen's Avg 100m TimeAvg Annual Decline
M359.92n/a
12.58n/a
M409.930.02%
12.930.55%
M4510.721.59%
13.180.40%
M5010.880.30%13.590.61%
M5511.300.77%
14.130.80%
M6011.700.71%
14.820.97%
M6512.311.04%
15.811.35%
M7012.770.75%
16.300.61%
M7513.491.13%
17.551.53%
M8014.351.28%
19.442.16%
M8515.081.02%
21.552.17%
M9017.533.25%
n/an/a

So as I tried to point out in the Women’s case, even though your training is good and consistent, as you move into a different age-group, your age-grading may slowly get worse, and you may not understand why.

Here’s the answer. Not to worry. You’re typical!

I plan to investigate this with more cuts at the various percentiles to see where the changes begin to occur between “elite” and average. I’m very curious about this.

But my next project is to look at the decline over time in endurance. So next up will be the 1500.

And you can, of course, easily see how you rate versus your age-group peers by checking out your duncanSCORE. Simply click here , enter your age-group and time, and you will see how you score against all in your age-group, not just against the elite of the elite.

 

To be notified immediately for the next post, click on the “follow” button at the bottom right of your screen OR become a duncanSCORE friend on Facebook here 

 

 

Delving Into The Aging Athlete (1)

We all age. That is if we are lucky enough to live so long. And supposedly, we all age at different rates. Probably that is true, but the data showing that is surprisingly light. Tracking aging is particularly important (and interesting!) for Masters athletes.

I am hoping to be able to provide some basic information on how we age as track and field athletes. Unfortunately, what we won’t be able to quantify is the slowdown by individual year ie how much is a 49 year old slower (on average) than a 48 year old. One day I hope enough data will be available for that.

And how does it differ Men versus Women? Or maybe it doesn’t? We will definitely look into that.

And perhaps in the not too distant future, we can look at how top performers tend to do over advancing years versus the average Master. I’m very interested in that.

We will start with the 100m, men and women, using 4 years of mastersrankings.com data (2013-2016). Then we will move on to some other events.

But first 100m. Stay tuned.

To see how your 100m time compares with your age cohort peers click here

And to be notified immediately for the next post, click on the “follow” button at the bottom right of your screen OR become a duncanSCORE friend on Facebook here

Beginning to Mine the Motherlode

Well, let’s get this going. “This” being the blog part of the duncanSCORE site.

My hope is to post here weekly, with news, updates, and information on duncanSCORE, and associated material. The duncanSCORE is a new wrinkle for Masters Athletics … something different. And I suspect what I write here may be a little different, too.

There is a wealth of information accumulating about Masters track and field performances, and my goal is to be able to mine it a little, and shed more light on our unique attack on aging than has been been historically shone. I would like a few facts to get in the way of some of the “truths” that are out there.

Though likely sometimes data “heavy”, I will try and cut to the chase as quickly as possible to point out the relevant points for us. I’m very excited to be able to begin analyzing all of this incredible data being accumulated. Thanks to John Seto at mastersrankings.com, it’s a motherlode of data on our sport.

Not only do we enjoy the hard training and competing, but we all love and  appreciate the camaraderie that comes along with Masters Athletics. There’s nothing like it! But I also think that by studying the data, there is an opportunity to learn … to help us compete better, and be healthier.