Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Adjusted Race Times

    Have you ever watched an athlete crush a course record and then be even more impressed when you find out that they have three kids, a new job, and recently moved? Or how about the other extreme - witnessing a new course record set by a 28-year-old with no social life, a part-time job, and nothing but time to train? Well of course they can haul ass with all that time to train. But how do you compare these breakthrough performances? I think we need a calculation for life-adjusted race times.

    The World Association of Veteran Athletes has Age-Graded Tables, a set of "age factors" and "age standards" that, when multiplied by a time or distance, allow athletes of any age and event to compare their performances with that of any other athlete (go here for a calculator). Perhaps we could have the same for adjusting for major life events. But where to start?

    I've seen a life stress test floating around (such as this one) to help determine susceptibility to stress-related illnesses. Perhaps we could use similar elements with a starting score of 100, where challenging life events subtract from your score, and calming life events add to it. Once you add/subtract all of your life events, divide by 100 to get your multiplier. I'll suggest some factors below - feel free to add to it!

    Remember, negative numbers improve your life-adjusted time by lowering your multiplier. You can think of it as "they clocked that time despite having xxx life challenge".
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