Last summer, I first heard about Yasso 800s and thought it sounded like a great way to try and prepare for my first marathon. I was already doing a long weekly run, some fast 5ks and hill repeat training so this could be the speedwork supplement I was looking for.
My personal experience was extremely positive and I found myself getting faster and I also enjoyed the running my Yasso loop (I can get quite competitve, even against myself!).
Since last summer, I have read several articles in support of Yasso 800s and several which do not believe the hype around this type is training is warranted.
After rummaging around on the web, here are a few artciles for and against the Yasso…
What is a Yasso 800?
Thanks to the folks at mcmillanrunning, here is a very simple explanation of what they entail:
“The theory behind Yasso 800s is that your time in minutes and seconds for a workout of 10 times 800 meters (two laps of the track) with equal recovery time is the same as the hours and minutes of your marathon time. For example, if you can run 10 times 800 meters in three minutes and 20 seconds with three minutes and 20 seconds recovery, then this predicts that you can run three hours and 20 minutes for your marathon. Run 2:40 for the 800s and you can run 2:40 for the marathon”
In my experience (and from discussing this with other runners) it’s better to aim slightly quicker, for example: If I want to run a 3:30 marathon aim for a 3:25 Yasso.
What are the pros behind Yassos?
This is a very easy piece of training to fit into your schedule. Find yourself an 800m loop and run it at the desired pace.
It’s very simple and personally I have found after 5/6 loops my legs start to really feel it! Speed work isn’t an exercise I particularly enjoy but these make the most of a tough evening.
What are the cons behind Yassos?
Perhaps for shorter distances the principle of Yassos can be applied more accurately, but those training for longer distances, such as a marathon, may be better served by doing longer repeats (i.e 1600m).
You may also be conned into performing a particularly quick first half to a marathon, only to find the second half a very difficult and tiring struggle.
Will I be running Yassos?
Absolutely, whilst the evidence is there for and against Yassos, it’s a type of training I enjoy and helps me to better myself at shorter distances. I will be doing them every week for the next 8 weeks leading up to the Warwick Half Marathon. Perhaps I can judge their effectiveness based on how I perform?
By ensuring I put in some longer distance runs (with a few sprint finishes) then I hope to have the basis to beat my current PB.
Do you do a different speed workout?
What are your thoughts on Yassos?