I can see for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles
January 9, 2011 6:59 PM   Subscribe

Please help me come up with rules for a friendly long-distance running competition for runners of different abilities.

I am trying to come up with a set of rules for runners of different abilities to "compete" against each other over the course of the year. I want the rules to create incentives to run increasingly more miles as the year progresses, but also create some sort of point system where runners starting at different baselines can still compete on a level playing field. Ideally, the rules will not allow for any gamesmanship either -- it would be best if runners simply have incentive to run increasing distances. Here's what I've come up with so far, but I would like to hear any ideas/suggestions/revisions that people have to improve these rules:

(1) Each runner runs however many miles they run in January and is awarded 100 points.
(2) For each subsequent month, you predict your mileage for the month prior to the first day of that month.
(3) If you fail to reach your prediction in a given month, you get zero points.
(4) If you reach your prediction, you get X points, where X = 100 x prediction/(previous month's total).
(5) However, to prevent low mileage runners from reaping huge points in early months where their monthly mileage increases by a high percentage each month, any single month is capped at a maximum of, say, 120 points.

So, for example:

January: Run 80 miles.
February: Predict 100 miles. Run 110 miles. Earn 100 x 100/80 = 125 points.
March: Predict 120 miles. Run 130 miles. Earn 100 x 120/110 = 109 points.

It would be nice if there was also some way to reward runners for going over their prediction in a given month. My first thought was to award additional points on the cap for the following month for each % point over your prediction you run. However, that would greatly advantage low-mileage runners, since they could go from, say, predict 20 miles for a month, actually run 40, and then get a cap of 200 points for the following month. Even if they just increased by another 20 miles, that would give them 150 points for the following months. A higher mileage runner couldn't increase their miles by 50% in a month without risking injury.
posted by ootsocsid to Health & Fitness (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't like the idea of the prediction -- I strongly believe that one of the most important things that we can do is teach newbies about proper training and incentivizing them to increase their volume recklessly is pretty much exactly the opposite.

If I were to do this, I would have two winners. #1 is volume based, in order to make it fair this would either be based in minutes or "virtual miles" (come up with a conversion factor such that everyone runs 6-minute "virtual miles" or something), #2 is simply the most improved over the course of the year -- and I would consider the best way to determine this is via race or time trial times.
posted by robokevin at 7:31 PM on January 9, 2011

Well, that's another reason for capping the points at 120 each month, which basically means there's no extra points for increasing by more than 20% over your previous month.
posted by ootsocsid at 7:43 PM on January 9, 2011

Okay I must have read it wrong then.....nevermind I think that's good.
posted by robokevin at 7:44 PM on January 9, 2011

I'd just log it in minutes. I'd have to run a little over six miles to get credit for an hour, but Mr. fast guy would have to run ten. As people get faster, the miles needed for equivalent credit go up. Sure some folks can run for an hour right now and some of those just starting would have a hard time ramping up to that but it's an easy way to track and understand.

I would also give everyone votes for bad ass of the month. You can't vote for yourself. Some times I might vote for a fit someone for something epic. Other times I might vote for a beginner that ran their first 5K.
posted by advicepig at 7:51 PM on January 9, 2011

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