Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Get Track'n

Big Girl headed off to school on the bus..
I drove Little Girl to pre-school.
And then I went to school too...

I'm not a big fan of track sessions.  In fact, I'd rather run intervals on the treadmill (crazy, huh?).  I'm not sure what prompted me to head to the track today. Perhaps I just needed to be outside. The temps were mild in the mid-30's and the sun tried to peek out every once in awhile.  A little windy, but otherwise perfect running weather.

Today I put the Yasso 800's to work on the track.

Recently I finished reading the book "My Life on the Run" by Bart Yasso. I met Bart Yasso last fall at the Quad Cities Marathon, where he signed my book and inspired me with all his great running stories. His book is a fun easy read, each chapter storytelling from the entertaining adventures of Mr. Yasso, chief running officier of Runner's World.  At the end of the book, you'll find his training plans, as well as the background on the now infamous Yasso 800's. It's an intriguing premise... run 10x800m at a consistently hard pace to predict your marathon finish time.  i.e. If you're able to run each of those 10 intervals in 4 minutes, you can run a 4 hour marathon.

Read more on Yasso 800's here.

The goal of my first marathon was just to cross the finish line (achieved in 4:43).  Now training for #2, I obviously have a time goal... not exactly sure what that is yet, but I'm thinking under 4:25. A month ago, I started incorporating the Yasso 800's into my training. My results from those workouts are helping me narrow in on a 'goal time' for the May 5 Wisconsin Marathon.

Here's how today's track workout went down...
YASSO 6x800'S
2.1 mile warmup in 19:06
800m in 4:08
400m recovery in 2:35
800m in 4:10
400m recovery in 2:39
800m in 4:13
400m recovery in 2:47
800m in 4:14
400m recovery in 2:45
800m in 4:11
400m recovery in 2:49
800m in 4:10
1 mile cooldown in 10:45
TOTAL 7.35 miles in 1:08:33 (9:19 pace)

I'm not up to 10 sets quite yet, but I'm ready to bump up to 8 sets next week.  The important part is that the 800m splits are fairly consistent. I'm happy with a 5 second spread! They weren't all out sprints, but definitely felt hard, especially with the wind on the backside of the track.  No Garmin? No problem... All you need is a cheap stopwatch to track your splits. 

Even if you're not training for a full marathon, the Yasso 800's are a great interval workout.  The 800 is a tricky distance for me... If I all out sprint, I'm dead after one lap. However, the pace should definitely be faster than 5K race pace. I managed an 8:16-8:28 pace during today's intervals so I was right in the ballpark. If you're unsure how fast you should be running intervals, check with these great resources to find your optimal training paces: Run Less Run Faster and McMillan Running Calculator. Just input your recent 5K time and they spit out a nice chart for you.

Have you ever done Yasso 800's before to predict or train for a marathon?
If so, I'm curious how accurate it was?
There are fierce opinions (both ways) all over the web on this!


  1. I've used Yasso 800s before - I LOVE track work. Well...I hate it while I'm doing it but I love the results!

  2. Kelly from Running Kellometers told me about your blog. I'm training for my second marathon right now (first was Chicago last year). I've been unsure how to go about speed training. This blog post was very helpful. I will have to try it this week. Thanks! And good luck on your marathon!

  3. 800s are tough. I did them yesterday for the first time this year. My problem is simply finding a flat enough area to do them in where there are not a lot of hills. I keep telling myself the hills make me stronger but i sure hate them! i love your socks!

  4. You rock Jess. I have not done the Yasso 800s, not ready for those yet.

  5. I love Yassos! I think that they made me a lot faster! And it pretty much worked; I did 4 minute Yassos and did a 4 hour marathon!

  6. Scary, that's all I have to say! I need to get on the ball and give this a try, but on the treadmill, no easy to access track nearby. Great job Jess!

  7. You totally rock! If I want to get faster, I need to do these. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. i've never done a track workout...i've been wanting to attempt it, but am terrified! i'm not even sure when you're allowed to use the school's track?

    you are doing awesome and every day when i read your blog, it pushes me to go out and push myself further than i thought...seriously, thanks for that!

  9. Great job! My husband and I just started to add some speed work to our training. I'm not sure I will like 800 repeats but we will most likely have to do them!

  10. I've read about this workout but I don't have any kids in school. I would feel a little weird showing up at a school and knowing when I can use their track - how do you handle this?

  11. Great post! How often do you/should you do these workouts?


I appreciate your feedback and comments!