Tuesday, 2 August 2011

#17: Come and Get It

In the few weeks that I've been blogging which just happen to coincide with the time I've been on Twitter, I've realized a few things...

1) A lot of people like to run
2) Many of these people write blogs or tweet about their own experiences with running
3) Lots of people like to consider themselves experts on giving running-related advice and yet...
4) Most of these people suck at running!

Okay, okay, they don't suck at it; I didn't mean to say that. What I meant was that they are all really proud of their running and training and their results which they write about thoroughly and passionately and yet comparably (to myself, most runners I know, and certainly the elites), they are pretty damn mediocre and unimpressive! Now obviously I'm not the best runner and I'm not saying that other people shouldn't be proud of their running-related accomplishments, but I do find it problematic to glamourize and celebrate mediocrity...not even mediocrity; sub-parity/ below averageness!

Therefore I think it is necessary to have standards by which all runners should compare themselves to see where they stand up to the crowd. And when we talk about standards in the world of running, that means one and only one thing: race times. The only way to see where you stand and to evaluate your training is in a race...and if you don't race, what the fuck are you running for?! Seriously! Every runner must stand on the starting line at some point and step up to the challenge. Whether it's a 5k or the full marathon, we runners are measured by our race results and nothing else matters.

So let's briefly recap my own personal opinions on what "real" runners should be capable of so you know exactly what I'm talking about. These numbers are not average times...because let's face it, the average runner is entirely sub-standard as most runners nowadays represent the new running/fitness boom that has been happening over the past two decades. This running craze has seen the sky rocketing popularity of run/walk programs, 10 and 1's, race walking and other legitimate forms of exercise that are all well and good, but are NOT running. So these values are not average finishing times to determine the above- from the below-average runner. Rather, these values represent my own personal evaluation of what I am certain all runners are capable of with a bit of training, hard work and dedication. So... In order to be considered a true runner you must complete a race in the following times (for males M, and females F, respectively):

5k: M sub 20 (4:00/k); F sub 25 (5:00/k)
10k M sub 42:30 (4:15/k); F sub 55 (5:30/k)
Half: M sub 1:35; F sub 2:00
Marathon: M sub 3:30; F sub 4:00

Most true runners will almost certainly agree with me on this; those who disagree are probably either new to running or those who can't be bothered to put in the necessary training to get good results. If your times are close to these but still above them, consider putting in a bit more time, energy and work and I'm sure you can bring those times down. For those who simply don't come close to these times but have honestly and earnestly trained hard to get there (a small minority I am certain); I'm afraid your genetic blueprint has let you down.

To compare, I am happy to provide my own personal best times which I have honestly had to work very hard for over a 2+ year span. I am not a born runner but adopted the sport as a way to get in better shape and have since taken my training and commitment to running to another level. Most of these times I am rather impressed with, while others are relatively disappointing; you can try to figure out which is which. All of these times are temporary and all will be reduced in the next few years when I can find ideal conditions/timing to make them lower...

Dan Way PB's

5k: 16:50 (3:22/k)
10k: 35:56 (3:35/k)
15k: 55:56 (3:43/k)
Half: 1:18:20 (3:42/k)
30k: 1:54:57 (3:49/k)
Marathon: TBD (on October 16th at STWM)

In sum:

The real deal of running (elites, pros, East Africans!):

Myself (an amateur but committed runner):

And finally, today's average runner:

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