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Calculating your true race potential

  • 30-08-2018 12:02am
    Registered Users Posts: 921 ✭✭✭

    Now I know this question is ridiculously broad and is reliant on infinite variables, but has anyone ever taken a stab at working out an individual's full and final potential for a given race?

    I know there are lots of calculators out there giving theoretical times at different distances given a known time, but has there been a scientific study into the maximum potential given someone's ability to finish in a time of X off Y amount of training at Z race distance? Muscle composition and physiology would obviously be important too. Is it a stupid question to even ask (quite possibly!)?

    Obviously any research will be hugely flawed, but it would be interesting to have a rough idea of where you MIGHT have got to if you'd fully committed to running and/or were given elite training from early on.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,340 ✭✭✭TFBubendorfer

    Your present potential can be estimated to some degree by looking at recent race results and putting them into a tool like the Macmillan Running Calculator.

    Your full racing potential in the next 5, 10, 20 years is a different thing alltogether.

    I vaguely remember reading "Lore of Running" by Tim Noakes a few years ago, and there was a graph that was supposed to show your potential over a given race distance by looking at your first race of that same distance (it's been a few years ago, and I can't remember the exact details). Either the calculations for that graph were wrong or I used it in the wrong way but I distinctly remembering exceeding my alleged potential by quite some amount.

  • Registered Users Posts: 921 ✭✭✭benjamin d

    Maybe if they took a recent race after a quantified level of training it might have been more accurate, your first race is hardly representative of potential. I wonder is every human (maybe just men?) capable of a sub-13 5k or 2.10 marathon with the right focus and commitment or can we tell where their limits are.
    I'd assume more people are theoretically capable of good distance times than sprints due to their natural levels of fast twitch fibres etc?