So we hit the track last night (p.s. every Wednesday evening at 5, 5:15pm for an hour if you’re keen to join, then do) and we tackled some 100s. 30 of them to be exact. Now we rested in between each one so we could give them a good crack. While resting, we started doing a little maths about how “fast” we were actually running and started comparing to an Olympic marathon runner…
Note: I’m going to be rounding off and working with “easy” numbers here- the actual detail of wether it’s a 3:02/km or 3:03.5/km split is largely irrelevant. Both are really fast.
So let’s start with a 2:06 marathon time which equates to a nice even 3 min/km.
Breaking that down, we get 180 seconds for every 1000m. Or 18 seconds for every 100m.
Bolt covers the same 100m in 10s. You might say that these marathon runners are almost twice as slow. But then you consider they’re doing 420 of these 100m in a row. Non-stop.
Now we only did 30. At our max top end, we cruise in on 12 once in a while. 13-15 is about average. Up to 20 seconds is about “sprint speed” for your average active person. Give or take. We also rested for up to 1 minute after half those repeats. Roughly translated: the average active guy *might* be able to hold a marathon pace for about 100m, maybe even 200m.
That 18s 100m effort translates into a 36s 200m, and a 72s 400m but doesn’t stop there. Selah.
On a 20s 100m effort (just 2s behind), you’re looking at a 3:20/km pace. Let’s face it. That’s still pretty quick. Well, guess what. That gives you a marathon finishing time of 2h20. That would leave you OUTSIDE the top 50 at the 2012 Olympic men’s marathon.
Now, this is from a guy’s perspective. And that “slow” 20s 100m pace is pretty much what Tiki Gelana ran in the woman’s marathon. Do yourself a favour, and hit the track for a bit of fun. Feel what it’s like to run at elite marathon speed. Try keep that pace over 200m, 400m, 800m… See just how far you can go.
And then next time you’re sitting watching a race on TV, you’ll know and appreciate their effortless speed just that much more.