First - c25k isn't about pace, it's about getting us moving, irrespective of how fast. But. There's a lot of mention of 30 minutes and 5k, and now I'm half way through the programme, I can't help but be aware that I am nowhere near that. So I thought I'd find out a bit more.
Even though I'm slow (and I don't actually mind that, even though I keep going on about it, but I would like to join in a parkrun at some time) my pace is gradually improving, so thought I'd have a look at age grading, as it is used on the parkrun sites. Very interesting - especially how much difference gender makes, as well as age.
Race paces - runningforfitness.org/calc/...
The '30 minutes for 5k' is reached by far more men than women - not surprising when you think that men generally run faster than women for biological reasons, but very easy to forget. Fewer than 50% of women my age get to 30 minutes for 5k - in fact *if* I did, my age-grading would be 58.1%. And considering that at school, despite being active and not overweight, I was consistently one of the slowest in my class (which would give an age-grading of 10% or less). In fact, as my current age-grading for 5k (walking a fair bit of it) is 35%, it looks as though I'm making amazing progress!
Mind you, I suspect that the age-gradings are a bit wobbly at the lower regions, as they are based, I think, on race results, maybe with extrapolations, so all those women who don't run at all aren't included. (Perhaps someone out there knows more?) So perhaps all us slow people should start doing races, so there's more information to calculate the lower ones from?!
Anyway - I thought it would be interesting to find out what age I'd have to be for 30 minutes to be an average (50% age grade) running pace.
For women, it is:
36! Doh! No wonder it seems a tough target for some of us!
For men - 53 year olds are apparently still average runners if they can do 5k in 30 min.
Average for 53 year old women is 34 min 50 seconds. That extra 4 min 50 seconds is the impact of 17 years! (An average 36 yr old male's time is 26.5min.)
So there you go, older ladies! It doesn't mean it is impossible, but we do need to remember we're not playing quite the same game as the men, so after c25k, our targets may need to be different. 10k at a slower pace may be better than trying to get to 5k in 30 min.
You can find out what your equivalent pace would be if you were younger! Dream on.
And before I stop rabbiting on: c25k isn't about pace anyway, it's about getting fitter, enjoying ourselves and keeping active for 30 minutes in one go, however far we go.