A new kind of track workout

Last night Barry and I headed to the track for my first track workout since beginning marathon training. I decided to try something a little different than the type of workouts I’ve done in the past. Instead of focusing on faster intervals like 200’s and 400’s, I decided to focus on 800’s in the form of Yasso 800’s.

I’ve seen Yasso 800’s mentioned here and there and after a bit of research on the internet via Google, I found some guidance on how to incorporate this workout into marathon training. You start with 4 x 800m, in addition to a warm-up and cool down. Your goal pace for the 800’s is derived from your goal for the marathon. So if you are shooting for a 3:00 marathon then you should run your 800’s in 3 minutes each. I am hoping to finish around 4:30, so I did each of my 800m repeats in 4 minutes 30 seconds. Clearly Bart Yasso had a premonition I would be doing this workout when he signed my bib at the Blue Ridge Half Marathon, after I told him I was going to train for my first full in the fall.

Each week I will add on an additional 800m repeat until I reach 10 x 800m. Mr. Yasso says that if I can complete a workout of 10 x 800m each in 4:30 then I should be able to complete the marathon in 4 hours 30 minutes.

We got to the track and did a 1 mile warm-up. Then we stretched and got going on the first 800. My splits for the four 800’s were: 4:19 / 4:27 / 4:26 / 4:24. I did ~200m un-timed jogs in between each interval. Once I completed the 800’s I did a 1 mile cool down, for 4 miles total (not counting the recovery jogs). Barry ran with me on the 800’s and did his own 400m repeats during my 200m jogs. He’s cool like that.

I ran here, except this picture is from May and there were no hurdles or starting block things.

The articles I read on Yasso 800’s varied on what you should do during your recovery interval. Some said to jog for the same amount of time you were doing your repeats in (so 4 minutes 30 seconds for me), while others said to do a 400m jog in between. I chose to do what I felt like doing in between repeats.

I think I will make this a regular Monday workout. I like going to the track and I enjoyed the longer intervals that are focused more on endurance than speed (although I was feeling it by the fourth one). Assuming I am able to add one 800m repeat each week, I will get to ten during week 14 (out of 20) of training. Mr. Yasso says the final Yasso 800 workout should be done 14 to 17 days prior to your race. So I’m not sure what I will do once I hit 10 repeats, since I will still be four weeks away from 14-17 days until race day. Maybe it won’t be an issue if I need to spend an extra week at seven, eight, or nine repeats. Time will tell. 

Have you ever done Yasso 800’s?

What would you do once you got to 10 x 800 with 4 weeks of training to go until the final workout should be completed?

18 Comments

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  1. Good work! Once you complete all of them, you start moving on to mile repeats!

  2. I would agree with Amy or just keep doing 10 each week until you are at the week you need to stop.

    I’ve also heard a lot about Yasso 800s, but I’ve never tried them myself. I’m excited to see how it goes!

    1. I am also excited to see how it goes! I hope I make it to 10 🙂

  3. I’ve done Yasso’s 800s before, but they predicted a much faster marathon pace than I’ve actually ever run. Maybe this year…

    1. Well if I make it to ten repeats we will put it to the test!

  4. I have never done a Yasso 800, lest 10 of them. I once did a 6 X Genesee 12 Horse Ale. Does that count?

    LUD.

    1. Hah I’m sure it counts for something, Dad. 🙂

  5. I love doing Yasso 800’s, but I don’t think I’ve ever stuck with them long enough to get up to 10… Not sure why.
    Sounds like your training is going well!

    1. So far training is going smoothly. I haven’t hit a new weekly mileage high, yet, so we will see how things go as I start getting into uncharted territory.

  6. I’ve never heard of Yasso 800’s but that makes sense! 10×800 is a LOT but I guess that makes sense since a marathon is a lot. Glad your hubby joined in for some!

    1. I’m pretty intimidated about doing ten of them in one workout, but I am just going to focus on the week I’m on. If I thought about having to do a 20 mile long run at this point in training I’d probably wimp out 🙂

  7. Good job, Meagan! The most I ever did was 8 x 800 because I liked to mix it up and do pyramids one week, 800’s the next, miles the next etc. Pyramids and 800’s were my favorites. I agree with Nicole; I was never able to run the marathon speed that my 800’s predicted. I guess I should have done 10 x 800’s, huh! Ha!

    1. Well that’s two that have proved Mr. Yasso wrong now. I guess we will see what it predicts for me. In general I just want to finish the marathon, but I thought Yasso 800s were a good way to incorporate speedwork in marathon training.

  8. I’d probably aim to get to 10 repeats about the time he suggests. So I’d do one or both of the following:

    1. Take a drop-back week, either before or after an extra long run (drop down to 5 or 6 repeats).

    2. Spend an extra week on a higher number (7,8,9) during the build.

    1. Those are both great options! Thanks for your input.

  9. *Sigh* I can’t follow up a Coach Holly comment with anything useful. I’d probably just do what she says.

    I will say that I thought the longer intervals I did the second half of marathon training were incredibly useful. I missed doing the faster, shorter intervals but thought those more tempo-like workouts did my mind a load of good.

    1. Haha, Holly gives such great advice! I’ve told her before that I often feel like I should be paying her for practically coaching me 🙂

      I think that’s the point of a lot of these longer interval workouts- to convince our brains that 26.2 really is possible.

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