Thursday, March 22, 2012

"I Get A Little Bit Stronger", YASSO 800 Style

"I get a little bit stronger ..."  That's a line from a song by Sara Evans.  She's a country singer.  Yes, I like female country singers ... sue me.   But that's how I felt during this morning's speed workout ... ever so surely ... stronger with the new stride.  I wrapped an 11 mile run around 9 Yasso 800's - the average pace per mile during the 800M's was 5:58/mile ... which was great for me!  And considering there was fog and 95% humidity, I felt pretty good about it.

If you follow my blog, you probably know that I'm not a huge believer in Yasso 800's as a predictor in marathon finish time - but I really like them as a speed workout for shorter races.  For instance, based on today's workout, I should be able to run about a 2:58 marathon ... I CANNOT run anywhere close to a 2:58 marathon.  Runners World editor Bart Yasso developed the workout, and the idea is to bunch 800 meter runs back-to-back with minimal rest in between.  If your target marathon finish time is 4 hours, you run the 800 meter intervals at 4 minutes.  If it's 3 hours, 30 minutes - you would run the 800's at 3:30 ... and so on.  The workout is a nice break from everyday mileage and pace work - plus it's great to get a little bit of a break between fast 800 meters.  But I've just found that the formula doesn't necessarily compute to faster marathon times for me - which in visiting with Bart at the Austin Marathon last year, he agreed.  He admits that there's nothing necessarily scientific about it, but it's a formula that works for him and many runners.  But I enjoy the workouts and do them from time to time.

Today's Workout: 9 Yasso 800's w/3 min moving recovery in between (apprx 8:45 pace)
Weather: 54 degrees, 95% humidity, wind 5mph NE
Avg Heart Rate During 800's: 168 bpm
Note: Ran workout on street, not track - but minor elevation change
How I Felt:  Overall pretty fluid, had to push it a little to keep pace and form broke down a little
800 Meter Pace: 2:57,  3:02,  2:54,  3:00,  2:53,  2:57,  2:55,  3:08,  2:57
... be great today!


  1. Fast workout, Jim!
    Looks like the new foot strike and (temporary) lower miles is lending to some nice speed work.

  2. Great job on the 8s, that has got to feel good after changing all that footwork :).

    I could never run a marathon close to my 800 times either, but agreed: great speedwork (especially for shorter races).

  3. Well done sir speedy!

    Interesting that Bart said there's nothing scientific to the Yassos. Like so many things I think it's more a confidence builder than a performance builder. So much of racing is between our ears.

  4. Country music?!! Where's my wooden stake, garlic and pitchfork? Or is that for vampires?

  5. Again - outstanding; quick. I tried/attempted to work on the foot strike last night. Wow - slow and awkward.

  6. I'm in total agreement on the yasso's--not so sure they are accurate, but a great workout, still. You rocked them!

  7. I bet Bart isn't very good at WWF if he's having trouble with formulas already.

  8. Wow! That is serious speed. Nice workout!

  9. Phenomenal effort! You are really adapting to the new midfoot strike well! Hopefully I will be able to join the midfoot strike party sometime after my injuries heal. Only time I've ever done Yasso 800s at that pace was back in high school! lol

  10. Dang!! Those are some awesome 800s you ran. Seriously yowzers. I most definitely agree that they do not necessarily compute to marathon times (at all) however I still think they are great workouts and definitely help make you stronger. Way to go!

  11. I'm just gratified that my 800 pace is still faster than your recovery pace. :^) Great work, and I'm glad the new stride is feeling more natural.


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