Here at Salty Running you may have heard us talking about something called Yasso 800s. Some of us have talked about doing them in our training logs. And some have referred to them in their posts. Cilantro’s a big fan of them and so is Clove, who wrote a whole post about doing a set of them on a treadmill next to the man who invented them! Maybe these posts left you scratching your head.
What the heck are these Yasso 800s and do I need to incorporate them into my training?
Yasso 800s were invented by Runner’s World columnist Bart Yasso. Yasso was called ‘Chief Running Officer’ at Runner’s World, and he served as an ambassador to the sport to help develop its growth and popularity throughout the country. Yasso is a veteran of several marathons and other races including Badwater, and he’s also completed five Ironmans. He’s also coached countless runners to many PRs of their own. This man probably knows what he’s talking about!
The basic Yasso 800 workout is 10 x 800 at Yasso 800 pace with equal time rest. The best time to do this workout is about 2.5 weeks out from race day in place of one of your speed workouts.
The Yasso 800s are a confidence boosting speed workout, mostly used in marathon training. Most runners do them on a track, but they can be done on the roads on a measured course or using a GPS. Of course, you could also make like Clove and do them on the treadmill.
The best part of Yasso 800s is that they are meant to predict your marathon time. Yasso the man based Yasso the workout on the premise that you can predict your marathon time based on your ability to perform 10 x 800 meter repeats with equal time rest. But the really extra cool thing is that the time for your repeats is your marathon goal time pushed over a colon. If your marathon goal time is x:yy:00 then your Yasso 800 repeat goal time is 0:0x:yy. For example, if you are striving to run a 3:30 marathon, you should be able to run 800 meters in three and a half minutes (3:30). The formula is simple, and it doesn’t discriminate between a 2:10 marathoner or a 4:15 marathoner; according to Yasso, the theory works for anyone training to hit a marathon goal time.
The key Yasso 800 workout is 10 x 800 at Yasso 800 pace with equal time rest. The best time to do this workout is about 2-3 weeks out from race day in place of one of your speed workouts. This is the workout that will hopefully predict your marathon time.
Of course, there are other factors such as weather, course profile and personal lives that affect marathon training and performance, but Yasso 800s are one way to assess your fitness level and whether your marathon goal is realistic. The formula is simple and easy to remember, and all you really need is 800 meters and a stop watch!
Lastly, you can use Yasso 800s to predict your half time, too! Just double your goal half time and add eight – ten minutes for your equivalent marathon time. Then go about the Yasso 800s as if you were training for a marathon with that goal time. For example, if your goal half marathon time is 1:40, your equivalent marathon time is about three and a half hours. Your Yasso 800s would be around three and a half minutes.
To incorporate them into your training, Bart Yasso suggests you build up to the ten repeats like this:
- About 2 months before your goal race: identify your goal marathon pace and start with 4 x Yasso 800s, with equal time rest (e.g. if your goal is 3:30, then rest for 3:30 in between each Yasso 800).
- Each week into your training plan, add one more Yasso 800.
- About 2.5 weeks before your marathon, do 10 x Yasso 800s.
So, let’s hear it Salty Readers. Do you incorporate Yasso 800s into your marathon training? If not, are you willing to give them a try?