The Aging Athlete (9) Speed vs Endurance – Women

In the previous post, we looked at Men’s drop off in Speed (using the 100m) vs Endurance (looking at the 5000m), to see which seemed to drop off first, and to what degree. Let’s now use the same process for Women.

To recap the methodology, we compiled the average performance ( 2013-2016) in each age-group, then compared those with the average times from W35. (To refresh your memory on how the averages were calculated, go here.)

To see the chart full size, click here.  w_ch_egg

Well … this is different!  Unlike the Men, for Women there is NO appreciable difference in the rate of performance decline (vs W35) endurance vs speed! There is a small difference seemingly at W50, but apart from that, the rates are surprisingly close right up to and including W70. (Note we have not produced information for the average 5000m performance for W80 and W85 as results are not numerous enough for good data.)

Interesting! But does that hold for elites (World Record and 90th* percentile) and those women at the 75th* percentile? This table compares through the age-groups the relative decline vs W35 100m vs 5000m. Look closely, because there is a difference!

[table id=9 /]

What we see is that at the “elite” level (World Record holders and those women running at the 90th* percentile performance level) generally experience a greater decline at distance than speed … though note the WRs are near equal in decline at W55 and pretty close for 90th pc W55-W65. The 75th* percentile performance declines are near identical until W70.

A bit confused? It’s understandable. Here’s the summary. For Elites ( World Record  holders and 90th* percentile) there is a small but discernible larger decline in endurance over speed. For the 75th* percentile, the declines are very similar until W70. For the “average” woman, speed vs endurance declines are near-identical until at least W75.

Good racing ladies!

If you would like to see how your performance in the 100m or 5000m (or any other track event) measures up to the whole of your age group, go and get your duncanSCORE.

Track DE

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  • * It is important to realize that when I refer to “90th and 75th percentiles” these are statistical reference points and do not necessarily refer to actual performances or averages of actual performances.


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