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JEH
RE: Can most (50% or more) of guys run a 5 minute mile? 3/21/2007 1:59PM - in reply to kaitainen Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
What kait said.
brakejob
RE: Can most (50% or more) of guys run a 5 minute mile? 3/21/2007 2:01PM - in reply to JEH Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I'm constantly amazed at runners who think they are great athletes. For the most part we are bad team sports people who found the track team and got into great shape.

I'd bet that any of our Olympic Distance Runners would prefer to be making $10MM/Year in the NBA, if they had a choice. Running is not a first-choice sport.

Breaking five minutes/mile would not be tough for a representive college age male sample group that trained specifically for the event and had motivation to do so.

It's tougher for sedentary adults whose bodies have changed but not impossible. Most adult-onset runners train for half marathons and marathons. Not 800's and miles.
Guppy
RE: Can most (50% or more) of guys run a 5 minute mile? 3/21/2007 2:05PM - in reply to JEH Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I can tell you that almost any male who really wanted to run under 5:00 could do it, whether their fat, tall, short, muscular, couch potato, whatever. If they actually trained for it consistantly, they could do it. I would actually predict that over 90% of males could run under 5:00, excluding those who have disabilities disabling them from running.

I know a guy who had little talent. He was naturally a big guy, and not so much in a good way. He ran cross-country and track and played basketball from 7th-11th grade. He was never very serious about it, and often skipped runs or cut them short. His senior year he was a bit more dedicated and lost some weight, but ne never ran more than 40mpw. He ran 5:00 once, and 4:58 in his last meet. This was as an 18 year old too. You can't tell me that if a male dedicated several years to running and trained consistantly and passionately they couldn't break 5:00, especially if they were in their 20s.
JEH
RE: Can most (50% or more) of guys run a 5 minute mile? 3/21/2007 2:10PM - in reply to Guppy Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Yeah, after thinking about it more, I am upping my % to well OVER 50%. 90% is pretty high, but I would go with that before I would go with 3%... that's loony-speak.
Mandingo
RE: Can most (50% or more) of guys run a 5 minute mile? 3/21/2007 2:12PM - in reply to kaitainen Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

kaitainen wrote

11) of all the guys i knew in high school - which is really the relevant question - the vast majority could have run a 5 minute mile if they ran track for all 4 years, had decent coaching, and had the motivation to train on weekends and over the summer (remember we are assuming motivated).



I totally agree this is the relevant question.
Several people have sited how many in their high school/state did break five; as a starting point; and tried to extrapolate based on guys in other sports etc.
So we are talking potential to break 5, not those who actually did. When I think of my high school class which did have a fair number of football, basketball, volleyball and hockey players. No way could a majority of those guys break 5 if they dedicated themselves to it. Maybe you went to a school of gifted athletes!
distance guy
RE: Can most (50% or more) of guys run a 5 minute mile? 3/21/2007 2:16PM - in reply to brakejob Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I don't even know how to start to refute these huge percentages being thrown around. I asssume those of you citing proper motivation would agree that offering a $1 million prize would be sufficient incentive. I'd also guess you'd think 4 years of HS would be enough time, and the ideal time in a guy's life to undertake the sub-5 attempt.

Now I think back to the guys in my HS class. There were probably 4 or 5 of us who actually did break 5. Probably another 5 out there who could have if a season was dedicated to running. Now, I'd be willing to double that 10 to a grand total of 20, if everyone wanted to train knowing there was $1 million on the line, and was given 4 years to do so.

So now we're up to 20 guys in a class of about 150 guys (13%). And this is a total fantasy. Take away that $1 million, and take away everyone dedicating 4 years to this pursuit, and we're down to around 2-3%. This number is a more accurate assessment of how many guys are motivated enough, and train enough to actually break 5:00 for the mile some time in their lives.
brakejob
RE: Can most (50% or more) of guys run a 5 minute mile? 3/21/2007 2:18PM - in reply to Mandingo Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I disagree. The football, baseball, lacrosse, hockey players in my school were all more gifted natural athletes than the track geeks. The "leftover" runners by and large all broke 5 minute miles and we did not have a strong high school coach.
JEH
RE: Can most (50% or more) of guys run a 5 minute mile? 3/21/2007 2:18PM - in reply to Mandingo Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
You suggesting that Americans are just wayyy more talented than Canadians? Consider if all your HS buddies moved south to better climates, eh? Then, they would've been able to break 5.

Personally, I think few than 5% has the talent to learn how to ice skate.
kaitainen
RE: Can most (50% or more) of guys run a 5 minute mile? 3/21/2007 2:18PM - in reply to Mandingo Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

Mandingo wrote:

I totally agree this is the relevant question.
Several people have sited how many in their high school/state did break five; as a starting point; and tried to extrapolate based on guys in other sports etc.
So we are talking potential to break 5, not those who actually did. When I think of my high school class which did have a fair number of football, basketball, volleyball and hockey players. No way could a majority of those guys break 5 if they dedicated themselves to it. Maybe you went to a school of gifted athletes!



why would you extrapolate based on guys in other sports? that's not the question. you can't seem to move away from your actual experiences in order to address the question asked: what percentage of male human beings are born with the physical talent to run a sub 5 minute mile?

and on what basis do you say "no way could a majority of those guys break 5 if they dedicated themselves to it"?

didn't you say earlier than you have run 6 consecutive sub-5 miles? and they couldn't even run 1?

most of us on here that ran in college could run at least 3 sub-5 miles consecutively in our sleep. i think it's beyond arrogant to think that other athletes couldn't run one sub-5 mile.

again, it's just not that fast.
kaitainen
RE: Can most (50% or more) of guys run a 5 minute mile? 3/21/2007 2:22PM - in reply to distance guy Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

distance guy wrote:

Now I think back to the guys in my HS class. There were probably 4 or 5 of us who actually did break 5.




ok, so how many guys in your class at your school ran middle distance/distance events all four years and were motivated? it would be pretty unusual for that number to be above 10. if we assume 10, then your numbers show us that 50% is normal, not 13% as you claim.

and the million dollar prize as fantasy? that's the question we've been asked to address - the hypothetical.
distance guy
RE: Can most (50% or more) of guys run a 5 minute mile? 3/21/2007 2:27PM - in reply to kaitainen Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I don't know what the percentages are, but a large percentage of guys don't even play one sport in high school. So, now all of a sudden, the guys who aren't even willing or able to participate in anything, will suddenly find the motivation and ability to train sufficiently to run this fast???

Physical ability is one thing, but everyone still has a brain, and most guys' brains will tell them after a while that running sucks and to stop doing it. The suffering and dejection wouldn't take too long to kick in, assuming an injury hasn't already sidelined them. Think of how many runners have a hard time putting together solid blocks of training without getting hurt. It would be worse for the general male population.

And I run a lot, and could never "run at least 3 sub-5 miles consecutively in my sleep". That's just a very conceited statement, which helps to show how far you are from reality.
distance guy
RE: Can most (50% or more) of guys run a 5 minute mile? 3/21/2007 2:31PM - in reply to kaitainen Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

kaitainen wrote:

and the million dollar prize as fantasy? that's the question we've been asked to address - the hypothetical.


It was never mentioned in the original post. Hypothetical and fantastical (is that a word?) are two different things.
W. Mitty
RE: Can most (50% or more) of guys run a 5 minute mile? 3/21/2007 2:52PM - in reply to JEH Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
JEH:

With all due respect, I think that everyone on the board knows the difference between what people COULD do vs. what they ACTUALLY do. The question is how do you go about answering the question of the OP, which Kaitainen restated quite precisely as:

"what percentage of men are born with the talent to be able to run a 5 minute mile under ideal conditions?"

The key thing is, how do you go about answering that question? What counts as evidence?

Mandingo, A-10, the 5:00 female runner, some others, and I all opted for conjectures based on an empirical approach derived from direct experience, observation, anecdote, vo2 max requirements, the relative incidence of sub 5 high schoolers, data from the 5th Ave mile, and some elementary statistical reasoning.

Our estimates ranged from 1% to 14% (ballpark figures), or 1/100, 1/35, 1/20, 1/7. That's still a pretty wide range if you put it in those terms. Could very well be wrong but I don't think it's "loony-speak". It's certainly a long way from the 50% - 80% that you and others advocate.

I'm sorry if it has escaped me but I don't recall any specific evidence that you have brought to bear on this discussion? You might (probably) have perfectly good judgment on this subject; but reasons and evidence are better than appeals to (personal) authority, or subjective memories of what high school classmates could have done. And, to repeat, I am perfectly aware of the distinction between actual and potential.

Which leads me to a possible way out of this impasse. Rather than argue from experience or estimates of innate potential, which can verge on the metaphysical, perhaps we need to identify the physical and physiological attributes that go with running a 5:00 mile. Things like vo2 max, ft/st muscle fibers, running economy, height to weight ratio, etc. I don't know; I'm not a scientist. (For the sake of argument, we can assume ideal motivation, although in real life we know that mental toughness is important.)

Then it becomes a question for the physiologists like Jack Daniels: What attributes are necessary for running a 5 minute mile OR what attributes have been correlated with a sufficiently representative sample of 5 minute milers (different but related).

Once these traits are identified, then simply count the proportion of the population that has them, fit a regression line, and you will have a reasonably close estimate answering the original question.

Surely there is some research out there already. I'm open to changing my mind.
kartelite
RE: Can most (50% or more) of guys run a 5 minute mile? 3/21/2007 2:53PM - in reply to brakejob Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

brakejob wrote:

I'm constantly amazed at runners who think they are great athletes. For the most part we are bad team sports people who found the track team and got into great shape.

I'd bet that any of our Olympic Distance Runners would prefer to be making $10MM/Year in the NBA, if they had a choice. Running is not a first-choice sport.


Saying that runners are bad at basketball has nothing to do with how good basketball players would be at running. Distance running and basketball attract people with different physical traits, and unless you're Skuj you should realize that genetics have a lot to do with whether you could ever break 5:00 or not.

I think if you took a group of typical, healthy 20 year old males and had them train consistently and they avoided injuries, between 40-50% would break 5:00 within 3 or 4 years.

1% or 3% as people have mentioned is just ridiculous. I've broken 5:00 thirty pounds overweight and having hardly run in months.

On the other hand, 90% is definitely too high. Some people, including a lot of people who are otherwise very athletic (explosive events), just don't have the genetics for it. There are plenty of people who run several times a week and can't touch 6:00; adding a long run and some intervals would not take over a minute off their mile time.

Among males who are not overweight and reasonably fit, I think the majority of those who are capable of breaking 5:00 would do it within the first 6 months of beginning quality training.
kaitainen
RE: Can most (50% or more) of guys run a 5 minute mile? 3/21/2007 2:58PM - in reply to distance guy Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

distance guy wrote:

I don't know what the percentages are, but a large percentage of guys don't even play one sport in high school. So, now all of a sudden, the guys who aren't even willing or able to participate in anything, will suddenly find the motivation and ability to train sufficiently to run this fast???

And I run a lot, and could never "run at least 3 sub-5 miles consecutively in my sleep". That's just a very conceited statement, which helps to show how far you are from reality.



the question asked stated an assumption. it said "if they were motivated". so yes, we are assuming motivation. if you reject the premise of the question, how can you respond to it?

and yes, most division one distance runners can run 3 sub-5 miles consecutively in their sleep. that's what i said, and i believe that it is true. i don't know too many division one distance runners who couldn't run 5:00 pace for a 5k. ok, maybe "in their sleep" is overdoing it. but most of them are able to do it on race day. and many do it during workouts. my point in mentioning that is not to belittle those who cannot do that; my point is that the truly talented slice of runners are running times that aren't even close to the 5 minute mile barrier, and the 5 minute mile barrier is one that is accessible to most male human beings.
kaitainen
RE: Can most (50% or more) of guys run a 5 minute mile? 3/21/2007 3:06PM - in reply to W. Mitty Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

W. Mitty wrote:

Then it becomes a question for the physiologists like Jack Daniels: What attributes are necessary for running a 5 minute mile OR what attributes have been correlated with a sufficiently representative sample of 5 minute milers (different but related).

Once these traits are identified, then simply count the proportion of the population that has them, fit a regression line, and you will have a reasonably close estimate answering the original question.

Surely there is some research out there already. I'm open to changing my mind.



good points. another measure that i would suggest would be to look at those who actually were motivated and who actually did the training. what percentage of those males have broken 5 minutes in the mile? can you honestly think of a single person who you know who ran for 3-4 years, did sufficient training, and who could not break 5 minutes in the mile? (again, limiting this to an appropriate age range, around 15 to 25).

sure, plenty of freshmen and sophomores in high school struggle to do so, but how many seniors? how many college mid-distance and distance runners, whether DI or DIII, cannot break 5 minutes in the mile?

surely you will come back and say "that's a self-selected group." i certainly can't deny that. but if the numbers in that group approach 100%, then why would you assume that people self select for sport so well that something that some of you view as nearly impossible for others to accomplish (3% chance, including the track athletes) is accomplished at a rate of close to 100% by those who attempt it?

did you all really know that you had that much talent in running before you even stepped onto a track?
naysayer
RE: Can most (50% or more) of guys run a 5 minute mile? 3/21/2007 3:18PM - in reply to Some common cents Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
no
Coach D
RE: Can most (50% or more) of guys run a 5 minute mile? 3/21/2007 3:21PM - in reply to kaitainen Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Dr. Daniels' Oxygen Power equations give a VO2max figure of 59.4 for a 5 minute mile, while the typical non-training person has a figure of 40-44, and for people who are not high responders to exercise, gains over 15-20% with training are not commonly seen. This yields a median VO2max value in the 52 range, which is not even close to what is needed do run sub-5.

These figures fit quite well with what we see in road race results, with often only 10% of contestants breaking 20 in a 5K, which is roughly equivalent to a 6 minute mile, and many fewer breaking 18. Keep in mind that about 40 million people in the US (15% of the population) chose to run at all, and less than 10 percent of these chose to race. And of this group (somewhare between 1-2 million from Running USA surveys) still it seems a very small number actually can run sub-5.

The median value in the US would be roughly a 6 minute mile (with training), not 5 minutes.
A curious observer
RE: Can most (50% or more) of guys run a 5 minute mile? 3/21/2007 3:31PM - in reply to Coach D Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
My high school had about 600 seniors. 5% of them (30) were in the XC or track (distance) teams, and we only had two sub-5 runners.

Assuming a third of the seniors in the track team were complete slackers, and another third were partial slackers, we have 10 dedicated guys on the team, and only 2 of them broke 5.

That's 20% folks, not the 60-90% range that many people are talking about.

I observed other high schools, and the 20% figure was about right there too.
Mandingo
RE: Can most (50% or more) of guys run a 5 minute mile? 3/21/2007 3:38PM - in reply to kaitainen Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I thought we agreed that looking at ability (not achievment) in high school was a logical starting point since for many this is their peak or close to peak physical condition. IT really becomes a question of the sample size of guys is x; a small portion of those actually train for running and achieved a 5 min mile, and how many of those who didn't could have. So you start going through the sports and the sedentary people who didnt' but 'could' have. Citing division 1 runners who can do 3 in a row is extremely irrelevant. I know the training I did and can compare against even the running population to know where 6 back to back sub 5's places somebody but it doesn't get us closer. I think the analysis of mvo2 is the most scientific. THe mvo2 needed versus the average and how much people can improve put the percentage much lower than 50%.
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