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Running Tips - Yasso 800's: Speed Workout For Marathoners

Runners are always looking for some magic formula to get faster and help them to run a good marathon. Well, there is no secret formula - you still need to get out there and put in the miles and the hard work. However, here is a workout that runners have been doing for years to help them reach their goal marathon time.

Yasso 800s are a great marathon workout. I have done them for years - I qualified for Boston using this speed workout. They are named after Bart Yasso from Runner's World Magazine who "invented" this workout. He realized that there was a correlation between 800 times and marathon finish times. People thought he was crazy at first, but then they tried the workout and realized that it does work.

Here is the Yasso 800 workout. First of all, you want to take our marathon goal and then convert it into minutes and seconds. For instance, if you want to do a 4:15 marathon, then that breaks down to 4 minutes and 15 seconds. That is your goal time for your 800 repeats.

Run 800 meters (about ½ mile) in your goal time - 4 minutes and 15 seconds. Then, do a recovery jog for the same amount of time (4 minutes and 15 seconds). Then, do another 800 meter run in your goal time followed by the recovery time. The first time you do this workout, try to do 4 repetitions. Then, each week add one more repetition until you can do 10 800's at your goal pace.

As with any running, make sure that you are doing a warm up before this work out and a cool down afterwards. Also, make sure that you stop doing about 2 weeks before your marathon to be rested and ready for race day. And, make sure that you doing your long run each week in addition to your speed work.

This workout is not a guarantee of your predicted race time - but I've used it many times in the past and it works out most of the time. Of course, weather conditions, course condition and your long runs will also figure into your finish time.

Yasso 800's are not easy to do - especially after you get to 8 or 9 in a workout. But, if you do them one day each week in addition to your long run, you will definitely be race ready when the big day comes.


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