Tag Archives: track

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? 


Etiquette for Runners: On the track

26 Jul

The weather has finally been beautiful lately with lower temperatures and less humidity. On Wednesday evening I took advantage of the gorgeousness and headed to the high school track for another round of 600 meter breakdowns. Have to keep working on some speed for upcoming races – a 5K next Saturday and a half marathon on August 10!

600 meter breakdowns


1.7 mile warmup, stretch

600m – 2:10 (5:37 pace)

400m – 1:31 (5:57 pace)

300m – 1:11 (6:11 pace)

200m – 0:44 (5:39 pace)

1.75 cooldown, stretch

Total: 5 miles, 48:00

This workout kicked my butt! I didn’t feel as fast and strong as I did last time I hit the track and it took my lungs a long time to recover. I’m going to attribute that to the strong headwind on the back stretch of the track, I was definitely sucking some wind and it hurt!

tracksunset_rbbSeveral other people had the same idea about the track and were getting their run on as well. Awesome! However, I think a couple of the track goers could have used a little lesson in etiquette. So I will just leave a few tips here and maybe somehow this information will find its way to them. I’ve also added some general points that can be helpful to anyone considering a track workout and wondering about the do’s and don’ts.

  • A little friendliness goes a long way. If someone nods, waves, says hi, etc. and you aren’t in mid-sprint, at least smile or nod back for crying out loud.
  • Run counterclockwise. Unless you’re on a track south of the equator.
  • If others are on the track, reserve the innermost lanes for people doing speedwork or going at a faster pace. If you’re moving slow or walking, take an outer lane.
  • If you’re passing someone in the same lane, pass on the right.
  • If you’re coming up behind someone or passing, let them know by calling something out such as, “behind,” or “on your right.” This can help avoid collisions in case the person you’re passing suddenly decides to switch lanes.
  • If you bring any gear, stash it on the grass, on the bleachers, or anywhere nearby that is off the track surface.
  • Stretch in an area out of everyone’s way.
  • Unless everyone else is in agreement with your choice in music, don’t blast your tunes at max decibels.
  • Check the track schedule to make sure there aren’t any practices or events going on. It’s also helpful to find out any policies the school or facility has.

There you have it! Now you can head to the track with some confidence and manners.

Question for you: Any track rules you would add? Have a bad track manners story to share?

Weekly training log for the holiday

7 Jul

This past week in training was an overall success! I managed to get in all of my planned workouts even with a long holiday weekend. The only thing I wish I did more of is strength training.

Monday – Rest. (Remember all that walking from the NYC weekend???)

Tuesday – Arms circuit, Didn’t feel well, Went back to bed.

Wednesday – Up and at ’em and feeling ready to go! 3 miles with Mark for a total time of 27:40 / 9:09 avg pace. I got in an ab circuit also.

image_1My Garmin was being really finicky, which gave us the opportunity to take a photo and provided the mosquitos with the chance to feast on us. The downside of living near a river…


Thursday – Celebrated the 4th of July with another 600 meter breakdown track workout. I split off from Mark and headed up to the high school. The sun was already hot shortly after 8:00 AM when I got to the track. Another woman was working out also and I said, “Good morning” and smiled when she stopped to stretch. She gave me the stone cold shoulder in return. Ouch.

trackredwhiteblue wm

I forgot to hit the Lap button for the first 600m, so I’m not sure what my time or pace was. Here are the other splits:

400m – 1:30 time / 5:53 mile pace

300m – 1:07 time / 5:54 mile pace

200m – 00:42 time / 5:32 mile pace

Total workout: 5:00 miles / 46:32 time

Friday – Arms circuit followed by a couple of miles with Mark before continuing on solo for a full 4 miles, with 36:06 total running time (avg pace 8:54).

Saturday – I set my alarm for 4:30 AM and I was up and ready for 10 miles at sunrise. The weather was much more comfortable at this time and I didn’t struggle to finish. Phew! Since I was out by myself, I mapped a neighborhood route rather than using the bike trail and I got to explore a residential area I hadn’t been to before. 10.06 miles / 1:27:49 total time / 8:44 avg pace.


After stretching and cleaning myself off, I headed to the lake with a few girlfriends for some relaxation in the sun! Perfection. This holiday weekend was the perfect blend of training, seeing family and friends, fun, and relaxing.


With the successful completion of a long run, I’m feeling more confident about finishing next weekend’s Boilermaker 15K. I’m planning to take it relatively this week so I’m nice and strong for the race.

Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend!