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Predict Your Marathon Finish Time with Yasso 800

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Are you training for marathons? While being consistent is the key to Marathon running, there are a few other things you should be worried about -be it your regular marathon workouts or the new ones you are confused about trying. So here goes a new effective routine that will supposedly predict that you finishing time of your marathon race will have a session of 10 X 800 meters with an equal interval between each 800. The seasoned runners have already guessed it and as for the newbies, this new workout routine that we are going to discuss is called the Yasso 800s.

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History behind Yasso

Now you might wonder why to call this speedy workout as ‘Yasso’. Well, the Chief-Running Officer of Runnersworld and the ‘Mayor of Running’ Bart Yasso is the running legend who had come up with this unique running routine that is supposed to predict your marathon finishing time. In 1981 Boston Marathon, Yasso began doing this 800-meter repeats while trying to qualify. 3 years after that as he was going through his training routines, he noticed this marathon training plan comprising 10 continuous 800-meter repeats that correlated to his finishing time in each of his Marathons. 

For those who have not heard of this legend, he is the five-time Ironman finisher and completed the Badwater 146 through the Death Valley. He has competed in the Marathon races of all the seven continents, namely US National Biathlon Long Course Championship ’87, Smoky Mountain Marathon ’98.  

Bart Yasso
The Man behind Yass 800 (source)

What is Yasso 800?

Basically, this workout is a routine of at Yasso 800 Pace with equal time interval. The Yasso marathon training plan means running a half mile or two laps of a single track and repeating. The best is to do 10 repeats about 2.5 weeks before your D-day. The repeat time in minutes and seconds roughly correlates to that of the Marathon time you can expect to run in hours and minutes. That is, 10 Yasso 800s in 4minutes each in training correlates to the 4 hours in which you can expect to finish your Marathon distance. 

The routine works for anyone, be it a 2:10 marathoner or a 4:15 marathoner, you can predict your marathon time with this regime. Now you must be wondering how to do Yasso 800s. Read below. 

How to Do Yasso 800?

Before starting training for the 800m, you should obviously check how much your body can handle or how much you have pushed yourself so far. 

So as a starter, we would advise you to start with 4-5 repetitions in your regular pace and take a 400 meter i.e. one lap around the racing track walking or jogging in between. 

While starting, use minutes and seconds rather than hours and minutes and run in your goal marathon time for 800 meters. If you are running a 4.15 marathon, your Yasso 800 goal time should be 4.15 minutes. For 3 hour Marathon, your Yasso 800 meter goal time should be 3 minutes. 

The Workout Training

  • Do an easy warm-up jog for 5-10 minutes or a few warm-up track workouts for marathon training.
  • Try to run 800 meters i.e. half a mile at converted time (minutes and seconds as discussed above)
  • Take recovery period after each 800 by jogging or walking for 400 meters i.e. a quarter of a mile for the same amount of time. It does not have to be on a racing track; a smooth path will also work as long as you are able to measure your distance while running.
  • Continue with starting once a week and build sets and speed with 3 or 4 repetitions until you can hit 10 x 800 with consistency. 
  • While training for the 800m for weeks, you will find this routine to be relatively strenuous with a long day of consistent running –around 10 miles. Delve into this only if your body permits. In case you are having any trouble hitting your goal time, stick to that number of repeats in following weeks until you are able to achieve your goal. Still, if you are having trouble achieving your goal time, then please, reconsider whether it is the realistic goal for you.  
yasso 800
Preparing for Yasso 800

Stick to 10 repeats 

In addition to weekly Yasso 800s, don’t forget your regular marathon training workouts and running. Even with the proper Bart Yasso Marathon Training, and being able to do 10 Yassos in goal time does not guarantee that you will finish your marathon in your goal time. Besides training, there are lots of other factors that play a part such as weather conditions, pre-sports jitters, course terrain, physical fitness etc. So try to stick to your routine with 10 repetitions. 

How Many Yasso 800 is Perfect?

Firstly, there is no ‘perfect’ number for you. It all depends on how much your body permits and how much you can push. Secondly, it is all about planning how to do Yasso 800s. As we said, it has to be 10 repeats before you taper for the race. Beginners might start with 5-6 repeats 9-10 weeks before the race day and pushing to 7-8 repeats 7-8weeks before the race and then 10 repeats 5-6 weeks before the race. In between the Yasso 800, hard workouts such as tempo, hilly run, mile repeats should be done accordingly. 

The experienced runners might follow how Yasso followed his routine i.e. beginning with 4 repeats a couple of months beforehand and on each week from that adding one more repeat until you reach 10 at least 15-20 days before the Marathon. 

How to Get the Best Out of Yasso 800

A well-planned marathon training workout plan is the key to success. The conventional long consistent run is the main part. Then stick to the 10 repeat schedule of Yasso 800 half marathon. Apart from that stretching, lactate clearance running, planks, twists, squats, back extensions, lunges, hip extensions, shoulder press, tempo etc should be done regularly to keep your body adaptable for the long run ahead.

Where To Do and Why To Do

As for the ‘where', Yasso 800 is best to do on a properly maintained race track. But as it is not accessible to many, you can obviously take your Yasso 800 routine on smooth flat stretched road or even on a treadmill. Depending on how fast you are running, if you are running slower than 8 mph, no adjustment is required whereas if you are faster than, you need to bump up the incline to 1%. So, you see it is not such a big deal!

Now coming to the ‘why’ part, you already can guess that. You will be able to gain mileage, achieve your goal time for the main race, get one piece 800 predictions and most importantly, it will improve your performance a lot if done correctly. So tell us, why not? 

How Fast Should I be Running?

As discussed above, you can simply aim to hold the Yasso 800 correlating your marathon goal time. That is, a 4-hour marathon would require 4.00 Yassos and similarly, a 4.30.00 marathon would require 4.30 Yassos. If you are using the Yasso 800s to predict your finishing time, then aim for the challenging but sustainable effort. 

In many cases, we have seen runners falling somewhere between a half marathon race pace. If you want to finish in your goal time then each of your repeats should be finished around the same time, give or take a few seconds. So brace yourself to keep your pace according to your workout plan.

stride rate
Perfect stride rate

Limitations of Yasso 800

If your Marathon day gets really warm, the Yasso 800 will get less effective in predicting the time. Rains, bumpy terrains will also slow you down, affecting your routine and affecting in failed goals. So remember, this is not a full proof routine. All depends on how long you are out there racing and how you are running.

Before the marathon, don’t indulge yourself in doing Yasso 800s more frequently than your actual training schedule. You need to build up your repetitions slowly and consistently. Overdoing will result in fatigue, injury and many other complications. You need to give your body enough rest to stay in the run in future. 

After all, what is the big deal if you cannot achieve your goal even after training vigorously? 

How much can you expect?

Yasso marathon training plan is only predictor workout. As mentioned earlier, it alone cannot prove to be fruitful unless you indulge in long runs with mileage gains, stretching and other running workouts. Remember the fact that you will be able to touch your goal only 3-4 times in an entire 16-20 weeks of doing Yasso 800s. The Yasso will give you confidence and help you stay on the right path of accomplishing your marathon goal. 

Correlation & Causation

You will be amazed to know that according to even the legend, Bart Yasso, there is no scientific or physiological reason behind this prediction workout. So how come this workout is considered as one of the best marathon workouts? 

Well, according to Bart, there is a simple correlation between marathon finishing time and the average 800-meter splits while you are performing the workout of 10 x 800 meters. But is correlation and causation the same thing? Ask for yourself. 

Would you bet all your hard work for your D-day on a correlation between this Yasso 800 and your conventional marathon running workouts? Let us delve into deeper space. 

Yasso 800 - A Speed Boosting Workout

As we know, not all runners are seasoned and hence they lack the strong aerobic background achieved from years of running with higher mileage, something the experienced runners have. The inexperienced runners have low endurance and that affects their maximum speed. While most experienced ones can finish a lap in 90seconds consistently, but very few inexperienced can run 4 x 90 seconds with equal pace. They lack around 5 minutes to reach their goal time.

Here comes the Yasso 800 in rescue. The 800-meter interval is short and consists of equal rest so that you can stay on the long run and that too with grace and pace! But it is more a test of speed than a marathon potential. This workout does not take the issue of fuel utilization in the account. As we said, it is not a scientifically proven workout. The Yasso 800 never tests your ability to store and conserve carbohydrate while running. And this ability varies from person to person.

improves sprinting
Pump up your speed performance

Benefits of not-a-marathon-potential workout

While the key to success lies in the physiological adaptability and progression, Yasso 800 does not challenge your physiological endurance. Marathon specific workouts should consist of a run where the body has to work at 95-105% of Marathon pace. So you need to do other workouts that make up your body to take up the marathon pace. Here you are trained to run at your goal pace even when you are worn out and have little glycogen left in your system.

But the Yasso 800 is basically a VO2 Max Workout where you run at maximum speed for a fixed time and take an equal amount of rest in between the intervals. VO2 Max does not specifically improve your aerobic threshold. But instead of the limited benefit prediction, this workout helps you build your stamina and speed consistently and steadily. While the marathon specific workouts are rigorous and make you tired rapidly, Yasso helps you gain composure. So why not mixing your marathon-specific workouts with Yasso? 

Summing Up 

Taking up a sustainable challenge is better than quitting in the middle of a rigorous challenge. After all, we want overall fitness, no fatigue, no injury and an easier marathon pace that can predict our finishing time. Yasso 800s are not one of the best sought after workouts for nothing. 

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