Friday, February 13, 2015

Yasso 800s

If you've trained for a marathon, you've probably heard of the speed workout called "Yasso 800s."  It was "developed" by Bart Yasso of Runners World fame as a simple speed session targeted at a specific paced marathon. You run a series of 800m repeats in the minutes:seconds equal to the hours:minutes of your planned marathon finish. Thinking about a 3:30 marathon?  Then run your 800m repeats in 3 minutes, 30 seconds. Recovery interval jog for about the same period of time (3 minutes, 30 seconds).  Faster marathon, then faster 800m repeats and less time for recovery.  I am currently shooting for a 3:25 marathon so I should run my 800m repeats in 3 minutes, 25 seconds. Start with about 4 repeats, then add one more per week until reaching 10 x 800m repeats. Last session should be about 2-3 weeks before the marathon. Simple, eh?

I like this workout. It pushes me just enough to feel like I'm working hard, but it's not too taxing. When I hit the 800m mark, I'm ready for the recovery jog. After the jog interval, I'm ready for more speed!  While I like this speed session, I'm not sure it's really the best for marathon training. Seems like longer repeats (1 mile or longer) might be more approriate for marathon training. Or just simple tempo runs of 3-5 miles at lactate threshold pace. (See this Runners Connect article arguing against Yasso 800s). The advantage of the Yasso 800s?  They are simple and fun. If things are simple, you'll likely try them. If they are fun, you'll keep doing them.  Even if not perfect, I figure it's still a good speed session and it shoudln't hurt my marathon chances. The key is long runs plus some speed work. For now, I'm sticking with my easy Yasso 800s. I'll let you know how everything goes after the Illinois Marathon on April 25.

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