"It's a treat being a runner, out in the world by yourself with not a soul to make you bad-tempered or tell you what to do." - Allan Sillitoe

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Yasso 800s - nailed them!!

This is a workout I did in the lead up to my first marathon. It went well and gave me a lot of confidence so I wanted to include it my program again this time. Figured that I would try to run 2.55s and if successful try to run 2.50s in a couple of weeks.

Here is what Greg McMillan says about Yasso 800s:

The theory behind Yasso 800s is that your time in minutes and seconds for a workout of 10 times 800 meters (two laps of the track) with equal recovery time is the same as the hours and minutes of your marathon time. For example, if you can run 10 times 800 meters in three minutes and 20 seconds with three minutes and 20 seconds recovery, then this predicts that you can run three hours and 20 minutes for your marathon. Run 2:40 for the 800s and you can run 2:40 for the marathon.

My experience, though, is that Yasso 800s predicts about five minutes too fast for most marathoners. Using the example above, my experience has been that 10 times 800 meters in 3:20 with 3:20 recovery yields closer to a 3:25 marathon for most competitive runners. Because this workout is easy to do, I try to include it two or three times in a marathon training cycle. It not only provides a good predictor of marathon pace but allows you to chart your increasing fitness - a big confidence builder.

It was certainly a good idea to run this workout today and not yesterday. Not only was I feeling 100% again (could have had a little bit more sleep but Rox and I got sucked into watching a Don Letts doco on punk on ABC2 last night that finished at 11.30pm) but the weather was perfect. Cool almost to the point of being cold and no wind at all.

Got to the track around 6.20am - still very dark and did a 15 min warmup. Needed to get started with my 800s to finish in time to get back home so Rox could take the car to work so got going while it was still too dark to see time on my watch clearly. Thought I'll just run the first one on a perceived effort basis and see how we go.

Didn't really push it but as with most interval sessions the first one feels pretty average, so was very surprised to see time when I stopped my watch - 2.44!

Hmm ... what to do? Still couldn't see watch well enough to check while running as the sun wasn't up yet and there was no artifical light at the track so decided to keep going at that effort and see what happened. Here's what happened:

1. 2.44.36
2. 2.45.48.
3. 2.46.54
4. 2.45.67
5. 2.46.72
6. 2.49.33
7. 2.53.09
8. 2.47.52
9. 2.47.68
10. 2.44.56

2.45 jog recovery in between each interval during which I covered 450-500m (ran one lap and then back up the straight far enough to turn back in time for next interval). Ran the entire workout on effort. The only time I looked at my watch was when I stopped it after each 800 and during recovery jogs. A bit annoyed about number 7, think I lost concentration on that one but it re-focused me for a strong finish.

Four lap warm down which was a bit short but time was pressing on . All up workout was around 17km. My average for the 800s was 2.46. There is no way I am in 2.46 shape but going on what Greg McMillan has found, I think I am getting pretty close to sub-3hour shape.

Greg McMillan also says:

Finally, the predictor workouts are for a normal marathon - one with mostly flat terrain and good marathoning weather. Adjustments have to be made for difficult courses (like Boston), races where the weather can effect the race (hot/humid conditions or windy conditions) or races where you may not have support in either race competitors, the crowds or volunteers. In these cases, you would be wise to be more conservative and create a race plan that is appropriate for your particular race.

Because of re-arrangements to my schedule, I haven't done one of the race specific workouts I did before the Perth Marathon (2 mile warm up, 20km @ marathon pace, 2 mile warm down). Need to slot that in somewhere in the next 2-3 weeks although it won't be a disaster if I don't as the runs I have been doing with Simon are quite close to this workout in distance and effort. Getting more hills in has to be a priority and that will be the focus of tomorrow's 23km medium long run.


DC64 said...

You're really in great shape at the moment ; great session this morning! A few goes at the pipeline and some nice hilly tempos should get you to the start line in great shape to nail your target.

Simon Elliott said...

Nice work Biscuitman! Usual plan in the morning?

Biscuitman said...

Thanks Sugar - looking forward to those hills!!

Simon - email on way re tomorrow.

Epi said...


You look in great shape from that workout.
Well done