I have done over 400 races in my career at distances including 5k's, half-marathons, marathons, triathlons and the Ironman. I don't really have a favorite race distance but by far the 5k is the race distance I have completed the most. In my career I have completed 186 5k races. That means that 46% of the races I have completed in my career have been a 5k. Even I was a little surprised by that amount.
Now like a lot of runners I keep very detailed records of my running stats. I analyzed my 5k racing stats over the years and found some interesting data. I looked back and tracked just my 5k races over the last three 10-year-age-categories I have been in. Keep in mind I am only 41 so I have not been in the 40-49 age group for very long. Now the below data includes total number of 5k's completed, average time, how many times I broke 20 minutes, and how many age group places (1st-3rd).
20-29 Completed 45 5k races-average time 19:56-broke 20 minutes 29x (64% of time)-placed 17x
30-39 Completed 124 5k races-average time 20:05-broke 20 minutes 62x (50% of time)-placed 39x
40-49 Completed 17 5k races-average time 20:21-broke 20 minutes 4x (24% of time)-placed 6x
My lifetime average time for all 186 5k races is 20:04. I have always said I feel OK with my 5k time if I break 20 minutes. As you can see above I have broke 20 minutes 95 times which is 51% of the time. I also have placed 33% of the time which has stayed pretty consistent despite the age group changes.
Enough stats already!!! Why am I outlining all of these stats? If you exclude a dozen or so bad performances/great performances basically all of my 5k's for the last 20 years have been between 19:15-20:15. My question is the title of this post...Impressive longevity or depressing mediocrity? Regardless of your answer you have to give me one thing...At least I am consistent.
Every year (for the last 10 years) around this time I prepare to compete in the Good Times 5k Spring Series. I have written a number of posts about the Good Times Series. (check out the series here). This is a 10 week series where you run a 5k on Tuesday nights. By competing for 10 weeks in a row (not counting any additional races I compete in on the weekends) at the 5k distance you get a good feel about your fitness. As I look forward to starting this series on April 8th I am in reasonably good shape and feel I can run some fast times.
Despite all of my training this winter and the hope and promise a new racing season brings somehow I think I will be somewhere right around 20 minutes.....(hopefully a few seconds under)