WMA Age Grading v actual performance

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Apr 2018
5:14pm, 12 Apr 2018
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Last night I tried out a bit of track sprinting and managed to 'complete the set' of standard distances (100/200/400/800/1500/3000/5000/10000). Looking at my best Age Grade %s across the board, including road and parkrun, I now go from 70.80% for the 100m sprint down to 52.43% for the half marathon, with a pretty linear sequence of shorter = higher % if you take out a couple of outliers. Nothing to shout about, but plenty to aim for.

My first, obvious reaction is that this simply proves what I always thought, namely that the shorter the distance, the 'better' at it I am. But on second thoughts it's not as simple as that, as the Age Grade isn't a percentile, but merely tells me how quick I am relative to the notional best for my age. Surely it can't be equally as impressive/difficult to run at half the speed of the theoretical fastest 100m sprinter as it is to run at half the speed of the theoretical fastest marathon runner, so what's actually going on? Has anybody ever done any analysis of how performances differ by distance (e.g. what % of runners achieve >70% Age Grade per distance)? How do other people's Age Grades differ across distance? Age Grading is obviously a great barometer per individual per distance (last month, for the first time, I set a new best Age Grade without beating the PB... and then did it twice more in the same month!), but is there a better way of telling if I really am 'better at shorter'?
Apr 2018
8:29pm, 12 Apr 2018
15,825 posts
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Interesting thought. Without checking the tables, I'd guess that for me I would be looking at, if adding about 50% to times, (or, around 67% WAVA) around 17s 100m, 47 minutes 10K (road) and 1:45 HM. I suppose the 100m looks a bit softer, but they are all about equally as far from what I have achieved in the last ten years.

Or I could look up the tables here on FE, I have realised muppet.
Apr 2018
10:29pm, 12 Apr 2018
2,947 posts
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Fragile Do Not Bend
My best WAVA is for 5k, 1 mile is the next best then they get worse the longer the distance (I’ve not raced anything shorter than a mile).

My theory is that my WAVAs vary according to how many ‘races’ I’ve run at that distance (for the purposes of this thread I’m counting parkruns as races), and therefore how much practice I’ve had racing those distances.
Apr 2018
10:43pm, 12 Apr 2018
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1 mile-62.25%, 5k-61.8%, 10k-61.11%, Half-61.43%, marathon-58.44%. Fairly level up to the half and marathon not to far behind. I think it all depends on the focus and volume of training. More speedwork and less volume will give much higher WAVA at shorter distances, to maintain a WAVA to marathon and beyond needs large volume.
Apr 2018
11:26am, 14 Apr 2018
2,460 posts
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My WAVA scores for my PBs are:
1 mile - 60.36% set in 2015 from 5 races
5K - 63.54% set in 2015 from 180 parkruns
10K - 62.21% set in 2016 from 27 races
HM - 61.33% set in 2017 from 30 races
Mara - 58.14% set in 2016 from 3 races

So this says I'm best at 5K, but then I've done the most of them.
Apr 2018
11:44am, 14 Apr 2018
1,564 posts
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Mine are;
Mile - 66.97% 2014 6 races
5k - 68.66% 2017 160 races
10k - 68.06% 2017 16 races
Half - 69.23% 2017 20 races
Mara - 61.63% 2016 95 races

I have always felt most at home with half marathon, it's the distance I feel I get the best from myself.
Apr 2018
12:02pm, 14 Apr 2018
125 posts
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Fetch WAVA's are stlil based on the (old) 2010 tables aren't they?
Apr 2018
12:35pm, 14 Apr 2018
38,106 posts
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I have a substantial database of my WAVA grades at various distances from over a decade of being adapted to running after a late start, and they indicate that I'm definitely a long distance runner but not a marathoner. My sweet spot extends from around 5km (I've never raced a distance between 1 mile and 5km) to around half marathon (I haven't raced much at distances between half marathon and 20 miles). I'm sure this is genuine, because I've run several marathons off good training.

Knowing that I don't get better the further I run is quite liberating :)
Apr 2018
6:11pm, 14 Apr 2018
1,092 posts
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Yes, although it's WMA now, not WAVA. :) Track events are graded the same in both 2010 and 2015 , it's only road that was updated in 2015.
Apr 2018
6:50pm, 14 Apr 2018
1,093 posts
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Back to my original question, I did a bit of digging yesterday when I was supposed to be working (I had about 12 spreadsheets on the go at once and at least three of them had distance/time progression graphs on :) ), and learnt all about things like Riegel and Cameron's formulae for race predictions. I then tried plugging 70% times at different distances into both Riegel and Cameron then converting the times back into %s, and which told me that a 70% 5K runner should expect to do 55.89% at 100m and 54.06% at 200m under Riegel and 106.18% at 100m and 80.08% at 200m under Cameron! If you ignore those two distances though, I can tell there's a fairly good fit between age grading and Cameron's formula, but less so Riegel's.

So, to answer my original question, I reckon simple age grading is "pretty good" at determining where a runner's strengths are. My cherry-picked stats:

Track (WMA 2010):
100m: 70.80%
200m: 70.65%
800m: 70.33%
Mile: 69.01%
10000m: 64.59%

Road (WMA 2015):
1 mile: 70.53%
5K: 68.85%
10K: 65.49%
10 miles: 59.64%
Half marathon: 52.43%

I think it's fair to say I'm better at the short stuff. :)

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Last night I tried out a bit of track sprinting and managed to 'complete the set' of stand...

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