The facts of life for a runner are this- starting around 40 years of age, you start slowing down.
The good news is you can still compare yourself to the open runners by using an age-graded calculator. Just plug in your age, sex, distance, and time, and you'll get a prediction of times you would be running if you were still at your peak. You'll also get a percentile grade for your performance- >90% is world class, > 80% is national class, >70% is regional class, >60% is local class.
My recent 2 hr 56 min, 36 sec marathon predicts a 2 hr 36 min 3 sec time, grading out at 81.2%. I can do better! The week prior to the marathon I ran a 17:40 5K, predicting a 15:16, or 84.9%. Based on past performances, that is about where I should be. If I did 84% in the marathon, my time would be around 2 hr 50 min.
Go to heartbreakhill.org to see how your latest performance stacks up.
(c) Dave Elger 2008 All rights reserved