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The average runner's genetic potential? (Read 271 times)

    For some reason, this poll got me to wondering what we're truly capable of running.  And since I love polls...

     

    Mostly we tend to set goals arbitrarily based on a reasonably achievable round number.  We want to break 4 hours, or 20 minutes, or BQ.  These hold meaning for us and help direct our motivation.  This makes sense.

     

    But what are any of us truly capable of?  How fast could the average runner aspire to become?  We don't know, so...

     

    What the heck is an "average" runner anyway?  Let's forget for a moment about those gifted with obvious endurance bias, whether that be ability to handle 100+ mile work load, insane VO2 max, skinny ankles or whatever the "advantage".  On the other hand, let's not consider the implications of chronic injuries, family commitments, or work schedules.  For the sake of argument, let's consider a person with average genetic talent who puts together years of consistent running using solid training.

     

    I think age grading performance is as good a way as any to level the playing field for this question.  So let me start off with my over-under at 70% of age graded performance.  Maybe 65% is more reasonable, but suspected that I'd be short changing the gene pool.  70% says that the average 35yo runner has the genetic potential to run a marathon in 2:58/3:16 (M/F).  For 5k, that 18:49 for males and 21:20 for the ladies.  That seems really fast, but do we all have that potential within us?  Why not?

     

    Conjecture away, fellow runners.

    2014 goals:   •  1st Marathon  •  3,000 miles

      Well, since I'm pretty close to 70%, I'll extrapolate that to the entire world of average runners.

      Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject.


      HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

        Just to clarify, we're talking only about the 70% AG runners, or anyway we're going to simplify and say they are sufficiently representative that we'll assume our average runner is a 70% AG runner. And now we vote on how fast this guy (gal) can run? Right?

        It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.

          Huh, I'd think the average female runner COULD run a 21:20 5k possibly with good consistent years of training.... but a 3:16 marathon I 'm not so sure about.

           

          Now I don't know how to answer

          For some reason, this poll got me to wondering what we're truly capable of running.  And since I love polls...

           

          Mostly we tend to set goals arbitrarily based on a reasonably achievable round number.  We want to break 4 hours, or 20 minutes, or BQ.  These hold meaning for us and help direct our motivation.  This makes sense.

           

          But what are any of us truly capable of?  How fast could the average runner aspire to become?  We don't know, so...

           

          What the heck is an "average" runner anyway?  Let's forget for a moment about those gifted with obvious endurance bias, whether that be ability to handle 100+ mile work load, insane VO2 max, skinny ankles or whatever the "advantage".  On the other hand, let's not consider the implications of chronic injuries, family commitments, or work schedules.  For the sake of argument, let's consider a person with average genetic talent who puts together years of consistent running using solid training.

           

          I think age grading performance is as good a way as any to level the playing field for this question.  So let me start off with my over-under at 70% of age graded performance.  Maybe 65% is more reasonable, but suspected that I'd be short changing the gene pool.  70% says that the average 35yo runner has the genetic potential to run a marathon in 2:58/3:16 (M/F).  For 5k, that 18:49 for males and 21:20 for the ladies.  That seems really fast, but do we all have that potential within us?  Why not?

           

          Conjecture away, fellow runners.

          PR's (certified courses)

          5K-; 21:45 ; 10K- 45:17; Half: 1:41 --- full : 3:40   (2009)

          Distance - 54 mi, 10 hours (2012)

           

          Current Weight: 185 lb

          Goal Weight: 130 lb


          day after day sameness

            ...

            Choosing my words carefully has never been my strength I've been known to be vague and often pointless

              wait, what?

               

              Today I am capable of what I am going out to run right now.

              As far as tomorrow, there's a good chance I'll be attacked and eaten by a mountain lion tonight on my run, so I will simply worry about the best way to kill a mountain lion with a water bottle and a pair of headphones tonight. If I survive I will worry about what I am capable of tomorrow.

                What's the question? Am I guessing the average runner's genetic potential somehow in relation to how fast a 35 year old male can run a marathon?or the average 35 year old male's genetic potential in the marathon. Or something else? I'm confused.

                 

                MTA: okay, I think I get it. You just want to know what age grade percent the average shmoe can hope to achieve regardless of age. I'll say 70%.


                Feeling the growl again

                   

                   

                  But what are any of us truly capable of?  How fast could the average runner aspire to become?  We don't know, so...

                    

                  If you want to know what you are truly capable of, don't whine and talk about it.  Get off your ass and find out.  Push yourself progressively higher in mileage and then intensity and probe the limits of your ability.  Piss off your family and friends with your single-minded pursuit of athletic achievement.  Forget these notions of averages, you are an individual and such notions cannot define your ability.

                   

                  Polls tell you what others think, all you should care about is what you can do.  And that is limited only by your personal breaking point.

                   

                  If you have not found it, there is only one way to do so.

                   

                  There is no telling the "average runner" what they can aspire to.  I know of an "average runner" who was of no stand-out in any way in his 20s, began training with an elite group in his 30s, and ended up being a 2:20 marathoner.  Seriously, a 2:40-something guy with no obvious elite talent.  If he could do that, how many 3:40 people can go sub-3 with the right training and dedication?

                   

                  I went through phases.  There was the phase I was not talented or fast.  Then I trained my ass off and there was the phase I did very well considering where I started, and I started feeling arrogant to thing I was not talented and had just worked harder than others.  I had to be talented.  Then there was the phase where I was running 70-80mpw and only slowing down the rate at which I got slower, and had to realize that I had some talent but had also been working incredibly hard to get to the level I had previously been.

                   

                  90+% of runners have no idea what talent they have because they have never done the work to approach the limits of that talent.  So 90+% of runners are limited by their dedication and focus, not their talent.

                   

                  So, for most people, talent is almost irrelevant.

                   

                  I'm not saying the OP was whining.  This is just my typical rant on the subject.  Smile

                  "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                   

                  SillyC


                    If you want to know what you are truly capable of, don't whine and talk about it.  Get off your ass and find out.  Push yourself progressively higher in mileage and then intensity and probe the limits of your ability.  Piss off your family and friends with your single-minded pursuit of athletic achievement.  Forget these notions of averages, you are an individual and such notions cannot define your ability.

                     

                    Polls tell you what others think, all you should care about is what you can do.  And that is limited only by your personal breaking point.

                     

                    If you have not found it, there is only one way to do so.

                     

                    There is no telling the "average runner" what they can aspire to.  I know of an "average runner" who was of no stand-out in any way in his 20s, began training with an elite group in his 30s, and ended up being a 2:20 marathoner.  Seriously, a 2:40-something guy with no obvious elite talent.  If he could do that, how many 3:40 people can go sub-3 with the right training and dedication?

                     

                    I went through phases.  There was the phase I was not talented or fast.  Then I trained my ass off and there was the phase I did very well considering where I started, and I started feeling arrogant to thing I was not talented and had just worked harder than others.  I had to be talented.  Then there was the phase where I was running 70-80mpw and only slowing down the rate at which I got slower, and had to realize that I had some talent but had also been working incredibly hard to get to the level I had previously been.

                     

                    90+% of runners have no idea what talent they have because they have never done the work to approach the limits of that talent.  So 90+% of runners are limited by their dedication and focus, not their talent.

                     

                    So, for most people, talent is almost irrelevant.

                     

                    I'm not saying the OP was whining.  This is just my typical rant on the subject.  Smile

                     

                    VERY well said!   Bravo, spaniel!

                     

                    Yes, at this point in my life, I'm limited by how hard I want to work at my recreational activity.

                    jimmyb


                    port-a-bella-potty

                      Is it possible to switch on the genes that are necessary? I don't know. Just a thought. I'm sure they'll figure that out eventually.

                      Log    PRs


                      Muddling through

                        Before the first running boom, even before Boston required qualifying times, the average marathon time was under 3:30. Marathoners were pretty much a dedicated group that did train for the race. They may not have trained 80-100 mpw, but running 50-60 mpw was common. Based on that I'd suggest the average runner could probably run a 60-65 AG rating, somewhere between 3:15-3:30.

                        2014 Goals: Run first trail ultra, first 100K, and see what I can do in a 24-Hour race


                        Feeling the growl again

                          Is it possible to switch on the genes that are necessary? I don't know. Just a thought. I'm sure they'll figure that out eventually.

                           

                          It's not so much switching on the necessary genes, but possessing the most advantageous alleles of those genes.  If muscle fiber composition is important, you already express those genes or you would be either malformed or dead.  The question is which version of those genes you carry.

                           

                          And no, gene therapy....changing genetic composition...has not been awfully successful, especially in solid tissues, for a number of reasons.

                          "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                           

                          TripleBock


                            I think every runner has a different genetic potential - I believe I had genetic potential to run @ a 6 minute paced marathon (2:37), but never ran better than 2:45:58 when I was in shape to run 2:43.  We also make choices along the way that are hard to instantanously overcome.  When I ran 2:45:58, I had been a weight lifter for 15 years and was pretty lean at 205 pounds.  If I had made different choices along the way and could weight 160 pounds (6'3) maybe my true genetic potential is lower than 2:37.  THe last time I weighed 160 pounds was when I was 14.

                             

                            So genetic potential is kindof a messed up thought.  It would mean that every perfect choice was made from conception by your parents, you and the rest of the world that touched you.  It would mean that sleep, eating, training ... every second of your life was perfect to get you to a race with the perfect amount of speed and endurance to maximize the genes you have.  No inuries, no missed workouts etc.  Then during the race, this perfect your must run a perfect race.  This means that you have to have the mental fortitude to push your body to get every once aver milisecond out of the body, the effort has to be perfect and absolute.

                             

                            So likley, whatever we think our genetic potential ... we are way off and we could do much better.

                            I am fuller bodied than Dopplebock

                            TripleBock


                              So you trained religously from age 12 until 30, not going to matter .. remember that nasty crayolla eating habbit you had when you were 1?  Or those times you stayed up late and did not get enough sleep?  Or at the bacon double cheeseburger at bar time to soak up the booze in college?

                               

                              I have made a million decisions in my life that go against expressing the maximim potential value of the genes I have been given.  You think you could have run a 2:59 or 2:49 or a 2:29 ... maybe 2:19.  "The average" runner does not get really close to knowing genetic potential.  Run 50,000 miles before 18, eat, drink, sleep, rest ... do everything perfect.  American lifestyles almost gurantee that we will come up very short to our genetic potential.  Most Europeans are not much better.

                               

                              Even most elites have not had perfect "Training" lives since conception and have current setbacks and do not hit perfection.

                              I am fuller bodied than Dopplebock

                                Not sure where you are getting your numbers from but in my experience far greater than 50% of male runners at age 35 can run faster than 4:10.  If I had to take a guess, I would say 50% is closer to 3:40 or 3:30.  OTOH, the top 30% of male runners at age 35 running 2:58 or faster also seems a little high.  If I had to guess based on the runners I know I would say maybe top 10%.

                                 

                                Also, a 18:49 5K is far easier to achieve than a 2:58.

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