Friday, July 12, 2013

Yasso 800s: Accomplished

Happy Friday!  It's been a good week of running so far (and a good past couple weeks of running), but I think last night's workout was my favorite in awhile.  I met Mac at the track to try the Yasso 800 workout.  Any of my past few attempts at speedwork have been short tempo runs or mile repeats on the treadmill, so it was definitely nice to get out to a track with and do this.

The Yasso 800 workout was created by an executive (the Chief Running Officer - doesn't that sounds like an awesome job?) at Runner's World, Bart Yasso.  The basic idea is that you can predict your marathon time based on how fast you can run 10 800 meter repeats with an equal time of active (jogging) recovery in between each.  For example, if I want to run a 3:20 marathon, I should be able to run 10 800 meter repeats in 3 minutes and 20 seconds with a 3 minute and 20 second jogging recovery between each one.  He specifies that you don't need to be able to do this the very first time you try it in training and recommends starting with 4 repeats and gradually building up to being able to do 10.  You should be able to do the complete workout of 10 repeats about 3 to 5 weeks out from your marathon to predict what time you could run the marathon in.

Here's how we did:

We did all 10!  The goal for each was 3:20.  I'd say we nailed it.  After the 4th repeat, we decided that if we did one over 3:20, we'd give ourselves one more chance to get back under 3:20 or else we would stop.  We never let it get to that point though!  After 7, it was pretty clear that we were going to finish the 10 repeats.  Repeats 7-9 felt the hardest and then we cruised on the last one to finish strong.  For the most part, this pace felt fairly comfortable (as much as it could) for the 800 meter distance.  It was definitely hard, but not to the point where I felt like I was sprinting or giving every single last ounce of my energy.  I don't think I could have gone much faster and still been able to do 10 though, so this 3:20 (or slightly under) pace was perfect.

I was curious to see if there was any research on how effective this workout is in predicting a marathon time.  In the video on the Runner's World website (linked to above), Yasso says that he travels to races every week and runners tell him how accurate it was.  I hit the Google machine and found a bunch of blogs and forums with stories of the successes or failures of the workout to predict a marathon time.  Some indicated that the workout should be used as a negative predictor, meaning if I can't run the Yasso 800s at 3:20 pace, I can't run a 3:20 marathon.  But even if I can run the 800s at a 3:20 pace, that doesn't mean that I necessarily can/will run a 3:20 marathon.  Most of what I read said that you should do the Yasso 800 workout during marathon training, but you should also do other types of speed work like tempo runs, mile repeats, and some shorter speed work instead of only relying on doing the Yasso 800 workout each week.

I'm glad this workout went so well and it definitely helped to have someone else to do it with!  I feel like I say all the time that I couldn't have done it alone so maybe I don't give myself enough credit for the workouts I am able to do alone, but it really is a million times easier to have someone there running the whole way with me to push through it and make it more thanks Mac!  We even got in a little core workout after the run!

I REALLY wanted chocolate milk when I got home after the workout.  After staying at home in los suburbios the past few days, I got used to this diet:

iphone 003

What is your favorite speed workout to do during marathon training?

What is your favorite thing to drink after a workout?


  1. Awesome run girl!!! My favorite speed workout is probably 800s as well because it’s one and done (if you are doing laps at Olympia that is haha…I always have flashbacks to sprint/jog days during XC). Res seems to keep their gates locked at 5:45 AM, but Olympia has been working quite well (except when a dog walker thinks your waterbottle is trash and throws it out halfway through the workout – I have a sign for next time haha). I have been doing these repeats with only 200m recovery though (~1:30 jog) so they are not true Yasso 800s.

    I did a paced run this morning (7.7 miles for around 7:30 pace overall – some miles were a bite faster, some were a bit slower) and did not have any song in my head the entire time, it was kind of weird. I made a smoothie for breakfast today after my run and it was very refreshing. I hate milk.

  2. Thanks!! Yeah I think 800 is a good distance for repeats because its not too long but not too short. I would love to see that sign you made! And I don't know how you could possibly not like milk.