Thursday, January 22, 2009

Yasso 800s

Time: 84:30
Distance: 12.5 mi.

Target: 8 x 800m in 2:35 down to 2:25 with 320m jogging rest (one lap on Georgetown's Ellington Track)
Workout: 2:22.5 (96 sec), 2:26.3 (92), 2:23.4 (93), 2:25.1 (93), 2:24.1 (102), 2:25.0 (97), 2:24.4 (105), 2:23.4 (110); average: 2:24.2

The Ellington Track, next to Georgetown University (photo from 1960)

I headed out to do a medium-length track workout without even thinking about the "Yasso 800" workout, a marathon preparation workout that Bart Yasso developed and running experts like Amby Burfoot and Greg McMillan tout as a great predictor of marathon time. McMillan describes how the workout should be run:

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.
As it turned out, my workout was fairly close to this (without planning on it) though with shorter rest and only 8 intervals. When I felt so good running way too fast on the first interval, I decided to just stick with 2:25s throughout the workout, trying to keep the rest between 90 and 100 seconds for one lap of Georgetown's Ellington Track, which is 320 meters (or 7:30 to 8:20 pace). My legs got tired (I'm still running in beat-up Elites), but aerobically I felt great. McMillan thinks this workout over-predicts by 5 minutes, but I tend to think that I race better than I workout, so I'm fairly happy with today's effort.

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