Posted by: Joe English | June 9, 2009

Workouts: 10×800 at Marathon Hour/Minute Pace (AKA Yasso 800s)

Coach Joe English

Coach Joe English

This is week three in our new series of favorite speed workouts. This week I’ll take you through a workout that is famed for its simplicity, but has some underlying math (yes, I said math) that makes it magically more complex than it appears.

Workout: 10x800M at Marathon Hour/Minute Pace (AKA Yasso 800s)

Workout Summary: When I first heard about the Yasso 800 a long time ago and I remember my first thought: “geez, that’s really easy to remember!” and so it is. Bart Yasso of Runner’s World, in a 2001 article authored by colleague Amby Burfoot, set out a simple workout that goes like this: run 800 meters (two laps on your track) in the time of your marathon goal in hours and minutes (e.g. 3:00:00 = 3:00) — if you could work up to about 10 of these, then you’re ready to handle that pace for the marathon.

So what this meant was that if you were trying to run a marathon in 4 hours and 15 minutes, then you would run your 800 meter intervals (about 1/2 mile) in 4 minutes and 15 seconds each. If you could sustain that for five miles (10 x 800M) then you probably had the speed base to handle that pace in the marathon. Of course, you still need to do the long training to build your overall endurance, but this would be a predictor to see that you had the cardio-vascular efficiency to support that marathon pace. It sounds so simple, but there’s more here than meets the eye. Read on to understand how this workout really works.

To continue reading, click here.


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