Bart Yasso is my new BFF (kind of)

10 Oct

Earlier I mentioned that I had my first run in with Yasso 800s a couple of weeks ago. I also mentioned that I’d be hitting the track one more time for another round. Well, that second part turned out to be a big fat lie. I couldn’t manage to get to the track at a time that involved any kind of daylight, so I had to scrap it. Bummer.

So, this little post is going to be all about that one time I did Yasso 800s.

If you aren’t familiar with Yasso 800s, it’s not hard to find out about this classic workout with a simple Google search. Originally designed as a speed workout  to predict marathon times, it can be used to help work toward a goal pace for half or full marathons.

The formula is super simple – whatever your goal time is for the marathon, just shimmy that decimal over a little and you have your goal time for your 800 meter run. For example, if you want to run a marathon in 3 hours, 45 minutes (3:45:00), then you shoot for an 800 meter time of 3 minutes, 45 seconds (00:3:45). For a half marathon, take your race goal time and double it.

The workout: Warm up for about a mile, run 800 meters at your target pace, jog 400 meters, then repeat. It’s recommended to begin with 4-6 repeats and working your way up to 10 within the last few weeks of marathon training. Or, if you’re like me, you do one set of them 3 weeks before your half marathon.

I determined my Yasso 800 goal time by making a guesstimate on my half-marathon time. I picked 1:45 because it seemed realistic considering how my last one went. Then I doubled that time to get my “marathon” pace of 3:30. That gave me a goal of 3:30 for each 800 meter run.

Yasso 800s in the dark

The sun set on me while I was running my last 800

Since it was my first time with Yassos, I gave myself a goal of 4 sets. Here’s how it went:

  1. 3:15 – Whoops, too fast. This actually hurt a little bit.
  2. 3:24 – OK, a little better. Still too fast but not quite as painful. Wondering how people ever work themselves up to 10 of these…
  3. 3:26 – Much better, still pretty hard. Wondering if Bart Yasso designed this workout as a form of torture.
  4. 3:26 – Hey, a little consistency! Ow. That was tough. My body hurts…. Sooo ready to be done. 

Then, I essentially limped and plodded home cursing Mr. Yasso. After my legs loosened back up, I started to feel that distinct high that comes from smashing a tough workout and decided that I might really like these Yasso 800s after all. And then Bart Yasso and I became BFFs…. image imageOr something like that….

Question for you: Have you done Yasso 800s? What was your experience? 


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