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 Why have times slowed down?

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marty farrell Posted - November 27 2017 : 00:06:25
I heard a group of veteran runners talking after the Turkey Trot on how the winning times of area races today donít compare to years ago.First of all I would like to know if this is true and secondly whatís the reason for this? I would think that with all the new technology,popularity of the sport and increased coaching methods that times would be quicker.One person mentioned that a time of 19 miniutes is winning some races today and that time wouldnít get you in the top 100 in their time.What do John Furgele and the other experts think?

marty farrell
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ironpower Posted - December 11 2017 : 04:29:28
1986 is right. I made an edit to the above post. Senior in high school.


Push 'til you puke, then go harder!!!
Admin Posted - December 09 2017 : 14:13:57
( 1986 )
JF Posted - December 09 2017 : 07:42:53

1983? You was too young---I was only 15 that year and you are younger than me---are you sure that was the right year.

In order to run fast, you have to train fast----it is as simple as that.

ironpower Posted - December 07 2017 : 04:38:05
In 1986 I was 83rd overall at the Turkey Trot with a 28:11. That time this year, for gun time, would of made me 43. Interesting comparison.


Push 'til you puke, then go harder!!!
sspritzer Posted - December 06 2017 : 14:10:43
Its the beer me, its the beer!

"Most people run a race to see who is fastest, I run a race to see who has the most guts." -Pre
JF Posted - December 05 2017 : 20:35:48
One of my favorite topics. I think I have seen this first hand. I started running in 1983 and back then, there was much more depth. I ran the 1987 Turkey Trot in 26:33 and finished 49th overall. That time would have gotten me 15th this year---that is significant.

I ran the Run the Burg for Autism in 19:58 this past June and that got me 10th overall. One year, I ran Yalem in 16:19 and got 11th overall.

I just don't think people are doing the miles like we did back in the 80s and 90s. People might be fitter because they do pilates, yoga, cross training, elliptical, but they are not running and certainly not racing fit. The only way to race fast is to train fast and race. There really is no substitute.

I ran in college then took it easy for a few years. In 1995, I got serious again, running 50 miles per week. It really was only 7 to 9 miles per day for 6 days a week. But, living in Rochester, there were a lot of 20-somethings in the area. We used to meet Tuesdays at University of Rochester and do track and speed workouts and that really tightens you up. There were a lot of road races and the group ventured off to do them. I ran the miles hard, often at 6:30 or faster pace. You can't skip days either. If you run every other day, you will not be as fit. You can 7 miles on M, W, F and Sun, but you're not putting enough miles in the bank. You have to keep logging the miles---six days per week for months to feel the benefits. I just don't think there are as many people running 6 or even 7 days per week anymore. The less you run, the slower the race times will be.

I also never did many long slow days. I preferred 7 in 45:00 over 12 in 100 minutes. I just felt tighter by training faster. Some may disagree with that, but it is one of the reasons why marathon participation soared. Running 26.2 miles at 8:30 pace is pretty good; running a 5K at 8:30 pace is slow---so people chose to run longer and slower rather than shorter and faster. The person running the 24:00 5K would kill me in a marathon, because they can run the 24:00 forever. But, in a 5K, I got them by four minutes!

When you run 7 in 45:00 or even quicker the 5K and 10k doesn't scare you----you're ready to go and go hard.

I think people use races for the social aspect and like running them for fun. At the 2017 Troy Turkey Trot, a 5K with 4216 finishers, 10th place was 17:11. That's a solid time bit 10th place in a 4216 field---bad.

But, that's where we're at---I just think people are content running 2 or 3 times per week and then hopping in a race for the fun of the race.

We have more people running races than ever before, we just don't have more people TRAINING. You have to train fast to race fast and that takes lots of time and lots of commitment, something that we're just not seeing anymore.

The 100th Turkey Trot was in 1995---they had 5,484 finishers which was a major spike from 1994 when there were 3,372. We all that that the race had reached its peak, but today, they get 12,000 finishers and Furgele be damned, if there was 5K trot in Greater Buffalo, I think they'd get another 2,000 more.

I was always the guy just outside the top 10 (although I cracked the top 10 at the Trot in 1997). I was always chasing Bob Carroll, Bob Williams, Tom Proctor, Dan Grande, Jim Dunlop, Derek White, Larry Krajewski,Scott Peiser, Trevor White, Paul Hulme and all the Rochester guys too. That motivated me to train hard every day. If I didn't beat them, I went down in flames trying.

Where is the depth of the quality runners today? Are they motivated by other things? Perhaps, but to me there just aren't enough people training. They're running, jogging and cross training, but they are not running enough to be fast.

NSWC Posted - December 04 2017 : 12:38:54
I think people train a lot harder in high school and maybe college now which probably makes them more likely to get burned out. When i was in hs in the mid-late 90s we probably ran 20-25 miles a week and were one of the better teams in the area. Now you hear about high school kids running 70-80 miles a week. Combine that with probably even more mileage in college and you can see why someone would want to spend their time doing something else as soon as they graduate.
mjthiel Posted - November 29 2017 : 16:38:35
Originally posted by marty farrell

I heard a group of veteran runners talking after the Turkey Trot on how the winning times of area races today donít compare to years ago.First of all I would like to know if this is true and secondly whatís the reason for this?

This topic comes up at least once a year, which in some ways I'm thankful for because it motivates me to get out the door. But as someone who has trained hard after college at times and not so much at others, I would like to know what got the guys from the 70s and 80s consistently out the door to train to race like they did. I love training hard and racing hard but it is difficult to balance that with life outside of running. How did those guys prioritize training and racing with all the other things they had to do?

Some of those guys from that era I've talked to said they trained with a group of post-collegiates regularly and running fast was the norm. Regularly seeking out fast competition was something I've heard as well...

I'd love to hear some other insights on how they did it when this topic comes up again in the future because it seems to turn into "kids these days are slow and/or unmotivated" ..I think it'd be more beneficial to talk about WHY those races were so fast and maybe it could help teach us how to get back there.

I've got nothing but respect for the buffalo running community and their great runners.. I'd like to learn a bit more about how and why they got so good.

peteg2 Posted - November 29 2017 : 11:21:38
Again, there was a competitive running boom in the 70s and it carried over into the 80s. This is well documented. Look at the turkey trot times from 1990-1999. They are just as "slow" as they are now. The depth in the 70s and 80s was an anomaly, fueled by U.S. Marathon success on the international stage and further fueled by an enormous population of young people. By 1990, it was over.
jeanne Posted - November 29 2017 : 10:51:50
As someone who ran 19's and could not even place in my age group, I agree that the times now are much slower.
I have been running competitively for 31 years and have seen the decline in the quality/quantity of the times.
I look back and have to shake my head and wonder what happened. I would say the times started dropping off a good 20 years ago, so I can not blame that on technology. For the most part, these devices were either non-existent or very hard to come by.
I was off from running and most exercise completely for five months this year. I was most embarrassed to be placing in my age group in some of the races in the upper and mid-twenties (with no training). I am almost embarrassed to write about it.
This would have been even more embarrassing twenty years ago!!

peteg2 Posted - November 29 2017 : 05:21:14

I think the issue is there is no incentive for the good runners to keep running after college. No offense, but people like you and me should not be near the top of the results. I think one if the biggest issues is the popularity of the sport. Although big numbers help keep races afloat, kids right out of college see road races as "fun runs." If you run 14:30 and under in college, would you be incentivized to compete in races where the winning times are generally 16:30-20:00? It's a catch 22, because until the competitive spirit comes back to road races, people won't race in them. Maybe if there were just a few big races instead of hundreds of small races it would make the difference. And for the record, much nipple blood has been shed by the Checkers group (and I'm sure Checkers bar has been frequented by many BNACs.)

Shirfan Posted - November 28 2017 : 18:32:02
At the 1980 Skylon Marathon, 199 runners went sub 3:00.

In 2017, 156 marathon runners went sub 3:00... at Buffalo, Rochester, Corning, Erie, and Niagara Falls *combined*. Rochester and Niagara Falls each contributed TWO to that total. Erie is nationally recognized as a BQ factory, yet the total still stinks even with it included.

This is embarrassing to say the least.

What was the running culture like back then? Our national elites are just as good, if not better, than they have been in decades... but there seems to be very little air of competition among us mere mortals.

Were clubs more cutthroat? Do we need to bring that back? Very well. Checkers drools, BNAC rules! Gauntlet thrown.

buffalogal Posted - November 27 2017 : 07:12:29
What's causing runners to be slower? To me it's the new technology-heavy lifestyle. Kids are playing outside less and have been for at least 20+ years. Modern kids spend more time indoors and sedentary so their musculature is less developed than it was a few generations ago.

Sure, people can pick up running and sports in general as teens if they want to but you can never get back those years when kids should be playing kickball, running around with friends, spending hours using and building muscles and impressing muscle memory into their bodies.

Also, and this is a sidebar, people seem to have developed a greater aversion to suffering and lower pain tolerance. Training and running fast hurts. Who needs that?

Jeff Posted - November 27 2017 : 07:07:17
Millar1987, you'll have to look elsewhere if you want to be disparaged for running well. Nobody can, nor should they, try to take away from your valid achievement. You're not the one slowing down! You not only have kept it going for many years, but your 2017 TT is actually the best athletic performance we have on record for you on an age-graded basis: 82.67% - That's deep into the National Class. Not bad! That's good quality. Very few of us will ever run that well. You weren't born with that - you had to earn it over time.

My philosophy is that the skills we hone in pursuit of athletic excellence will serve us well in all walks of life. You are mentally stronger, more resilient, and understand and practice delayed reward. You do not require instantaneous gratification. You have practiced investing in the future via hard work yesterday, today, and tomorrow. That's maturity.

Peteg2, good representative commentary! We gotta look at that angle. But, I for one am not impressed by the specious argument that we "should have better things to do with our time...". That would be a cop-out and an arrogant erroneous statement. People of all generations have always been busy with a myriad of things to distract them from hard work of any kind. I'm pretty sure that's not the answer.
peteg2 Posted - November 27 2017 : 06:42:12
I also find it weird that anyone would be disturbed by 20-30 year olds today seemingly having better stuff to do than run 100+ miles per week. People are busier now. There is more economic competition and priorities have shifted for that population segment.
millar1987 Posted - November 27 2017 : 06:21:57
Originally posted by Jeff
I think so, but there really is an interesting trend here. We have a dramatic increase in participation with a concurrent dramatic absolute decrease in racing quality. Some may say its disturbing.

I find it hard to believe that anyone is truly "disturbed" by the trend. Running fast is difficult. If people have better things to do than grind out the miles, how is that disturbing? I try to do my best out there and won my age group at the Turkey Trot. For that placing, I received a nice trophy and a $20 gift certificate. That made me very happy but I can certainly see why it's not particularly interesting to other runners.

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