Thursday, February 22, 2007

If You Can Do This, You Should Be Able To Do That

So now that I got through most of my little goals, will I be able to get through my big goal of walking the L.A. Marathon at a 12 minutes per mile pace? I went to the NARF age grading calculator and did some number crunching.
Mile Walk - 9:45

The calculator gives this a 66.32% age graded score. Someone that puts out this effort at their prime, age 20-29, should be able to walk it in 8:27. Running the mile calculates to 6:31 at my age (52) and 5:39 at prime age. Another interesting result is that if I trained properly for the marathon distance I should be able to walk it in 4:55:49 or run it in 3:34:06 at my age and at prime I'd be able to do a 4:30:59 walk or 3:10:44 run.

That's only one distance and it would be foolish to take just this one example to come up with a projected finishing time for the marathon, especially since the difference between one mile and a marathon is 26.2 times--but let's continue the foolishness a little further.

Some of my other personal records are:
3  Mile Walk -   32:28  -  10:49 min/mi
6 Mile Walk - 1:06:07 - 11:01 min/mi
10 Mile Walk - 1:54:35 - 11:27 min/mi

These distances aren't in the NARF calculator so the best thing to do would be to convert to minutes per kilometer and calculate the nearest metric distance.
3  Mile Walk - 6:43 min/km =  5,000 Meters at   33:36
6 Mile Walk - 6:50 min/km = 10,000 Meters at 1:08:27
10 Mile Walk - 7:06 min/km = 15,000 Meters at 1:46:43

These are by no means impressive times, but a year ago I was a couch potato and six months ago I was an injured runner. As a neophyte racewalker I feel that I have accomplished something and set attainable goals. Here's is how the NARF calculator is predicting my age graded performance and marathon time for each of the distances that I recorded PR's:
1      Mile Walk   - 66.32% - 4:55:49 marathon
5,000 Meters Walk - 62.05% - 5:16:11 marathon
10,000 Meters Walk - 62.62% - 5:13:18 marathon
15,000 Meters Walk - 61.22% - 5:20:29 marathon *

* On the official race results for the 10 mile walk my age graded percentage was listed as 58.56% which calculates out to a 5:35:01 marathon.

The oldest time is the 10 mile race I did a month ago while the newest is the one mile from this morning so it does appear that I'm getting faster. However, the greater the difference between the distances being compared the more prone to error all this number crunching is going to be. So how about the best long training walk?
20.5 Miles - 4:20:34 - 12:42 min/mi - 7:53 min/km

The closest distance would be:
30,000 Meters Walk - 3:56:44 - 57.39% = 5:41:51 marathon

But that was a training walk done at slower than race pace. How much slower? The target for the group was somewhere between 30 seconds to 1.5 minutes per mile slower. If that holds true it would put my marathon time between 5:06:32 and 5:19:38.

Sticking with the original goal of 12 minutes per mile would result in a 5:14:24 finish.

So what's the point of all this? Just a bit of a reality check to see if I'd be crazy to attempt to walk the marathon under five hours. What the heck--might as well go for it.

Marathon goal - 5:00:00 - 11:27 minutes per mile.

That's a 65.40% age graded effort. Tough but attainable. We'll see in a little over a week.