Age-Graded in running: what it is and how to calculate it

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Do you know that real running time is not your real running time? Real time does not allow you to compare fitness level with that of a younger or older athlete, as it does not take age and gender into account. In the article, you will find out how to calculate the reference age and time, with the help of science!

So how do we compare our performance to that of other runners, regardless of age and gender? We use the age criterion! Let’s see how it’s calculated.

How to Calculate Race Time with Age Rated

The calculation by age group it compares the runner’s time with the best benchmark performance for its own age group and gender.
The data collected by Masters Athletics is used for the calculation and the values ​​of the road races are considered, otherwise the reference values ​​are those relating to the times on the track. The database contains the values ​​of world performance records for all ages and all distancesfor both men and women, and serves as a reference time.

The formula

How to set the reference time

The reference time represents the maximum performance recorded by an athlete (male or female) of the considered age in the world over that specific distance. This time represents, by definition, the maximum performance that can be achieved by this athlete of this specific age and gender. It is taken as the reference time for that particular age and sex.

Here is a practical example

If the world record of a 40 year old man who ran 10km is 28:25 and Mario is 40 years old and runs 10 km in 35:45, Mario would have one weighted performance percentage of 79.49% (28:25 / 35:45) and could potentially improve its performance by around 20%!

Where can I get reference times online based on your age/gender and distance covered?

Benchmark times can be found online based on your age/gender and distance traveled.
Times refer to data collected from the Masters Athletics database.

Is it possible to compare the age groups between men and women?

Sure! If you wanted to calculate the gradual difference in age between a male and a female (obviously with the same age and distance, therefore leaving gender as the only discriminator), you could do the following. Suppose we take one as an example 30 year old woman whoon the distance of the half-marathon, has an age rated % of 75%. Now consider a man of the same age who, running the same distance, obtains a % by age of 83%. If we wanted to understand how much the gender of the athlete affects in this particular casethen it will suffice to relate the 2% based on age: 75% / 83% = 9.6%.

Article designed and supervised by:
Sandro Mastrolembo
Physicist and biomedical engineer

Friend of LBMsport and runner
See Sandro’s notes

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