Warning: long post for lovers of data and talk of 5k times 🙃
Obviously C25K is not about speed, but I see a lot of people wondering and worrying about times and distances... the fact the program has 5k in the title with 30 minute runs sets up the expectation nicely and I am not immune to this lure!
I thought the graph in the picture was really interesting. It represents the race results for over 10,000 non-elite 5k runners in the US in 2010.
The average pace overall was 11’47 per mile (or 7’19 per km, translating to 5k in 36’35). The graph in the picture (if you expand it) shows the average pace per mile for your gender and age.
I love this, because my age/gender pace is super friendly! I looked at my local Park Run and the average time was 28’43 😱. I know this includes young men and women in their 20s and people who have been running for years, but it is still very daunting.
Park Runs show a percentile score (or an ‘age-grade’) on their results page. I thought initially that might be a good way of finding a realistic time goal - but basically, they take the World Record time for someone of your age and gender and give you a percentile score based on that - if you get 90% you are ‘world class’, over 60% you are ‘local class athlete’. It’s a tough system, being graded against a world record (!) and although it’s useful as a measure of how well one is doing for their age and gender, and works as a kind of handicapping system, it doesn’t feel very relevant to me as a beginner runner. I just wanted some figures that give me a bit of motivation and reassurance and this graph does 🙂