Yasso 800s for Marathon, Half Marathon, AND 5K Training
Yasso 800s are a type of workout used by runners as a form of training for marathon or long-distance running. This workout was popularized by Bart Yasso, a veteran runner and Chief Running Officer at Runner’s World magazine. The Yasso 800 workout involves running 800-meter (or 0.5-mile) intervals at a pace that corresponds to your goal marathon time in hours and minutes.
Whether you are a beginner or a veteran runner, if you are looking for good running workouts to help you get into the best possible condition for race day, Yasso 800s is an excellent workout to help you become a stronger runner.
What are Yasso 800s?
Bart Yasso, also known throughout the running community as the Mayor of Running, is the chief running officer of Runner’s World. Also an exceptional motivational speaker and race announcer, Yasso is a well-respected icon.
Yasso 800s is a great track workout with the athlete running 800-meter repeats. An 800 involves running two laps around a standard running track. The original Yasso 800 workout had the athlete running 10 of the 800 repeats.
The 800s are done at your intended race pace. Between each rep, you are to do an easy recovery jog for the same time as your effort.
Here is an example:
If you want to run a marathon maintaining an 8-minute mile goal pace, your 800-meter intervals should be done in 4 minutes. The recovery run should be a very easy jog. The recovery equals the effort time; therefore, the athlete should jog for 4 minutes before jumping into the next effort.
What is the Goal of the Yasso 800s?
When completing this popular workout, the goal is to hit a consistent pace for all 10 800s. If you can accomplish this interval training as intended, it is often used as a marathon goal time predictor.
Yasso 800 Predictor
The predictor is that if you take the time, you can run all 10 800-meter repeats. Whatever that time is, many athletes believe it to be an accurate marathon time predictor.
So, if you run all 10 Yasso 800 repeats in 3:30 (assuming you are doing the active jogging recovery in 3:30), your marathon pace time predictor is 3:30.
Yasso 800s Training for a Marathon: Our Tips
When you start your marathon training, the idea of holding your desired goal pace over all 800 repeats can seem daunting. Of course, if you are setting a lofty goal for yourself, you have figured out that reaching it won’t be easy.
Athletes who are new to doing repetitions of 800 meters are likely going to struggle when they start.
If you can’t do 10 at the same pace immediately, don’t feel bad about that. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Yasso 800s Training for Half Marathon: Our Tips
When digging into your half marathon training plan, you can do 800s and benefit. Although you might want to vary your speed workouts, there is real value in repeats of the half-mile distance.
Instead of aiming for your half-marathon pace for the repeats, lock in on your 10K pace during this workout—work to complete all 10 repeats at the goal pace.
Yasso 800s for 5K: Our Tips
There are two different approaches for 800 repeats when 5K training. One is to use your 5K goal pace, so you get into a groove and learn precisely what that feels like. The other is to aim for a time faster than your goal.
A common tactic is to take your 5K PR pace, figure out your minute per mile pace, subtract 30 seconds, and then try to nail your 800s in that time. If your PR is an 8:00-minute-per-mile pace, aim to get your 800s between 3:30 and 3:40.
How Many 800 Repeats Should You Do?
Yasso 800s calls for 10 repeats. It is perfectly acceptable to start out doing way less.
Especially for those who are new to this type of training, start with 4-5 repeats and work your way up.
What is the Average Pace for 800s?
A common goal pace for people doing 800 repeats is to finish them in 4 minutes each.
Having said that, your Yasso 800 paces are determined by your times. It is truly a personalized workout.
Implementing the Yasso Workout
- Warm Up: Any good running coach will tell you to adequately warm up before jumping into any workout. This includes easily jogging for a minimum of 5 minutes, dynamic warm-up stretches, and intentionally warming up and stretching any problem areas you have.
- Workout: This is the meat and potatoes of the workout. If you are trying to hit 4×800 (four 800 repeats) in 4:00 minutes, you do this. Run the 800 in around 4:00. Jog easily for the same amount of time. Repeat.
- Cool Down: After finishing the workout, you should adequately cool down. This involves easy jogging and light stretching. You can also spend some time with your foam roller.
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