Yasso 800’s

So today I had my second set of Yasso 800’s. I am in the final few weeks of my training and my coach wanted to see where I was in comparison to when I did them back in July.

The whole concept of the session is that you run 10*800m with an active recovery. The time you choose for the 800m is what your recovery should be. So if you run the 800m in 4 minutes your recovery should be 4 minutes.

They were invented by the mayor, Bart Yasso, and in his words….

“I’ve been doing this particular workout for about 15 years,” he continued, “and it always seems to work for me. If I can get my 800s down to 2 minutes 50 seconds, I’m in 2:50 marathon shape. If I can get down to 2:40 (minuses), I can run a 2:40 marathon. I’m shooting for a 2:37 marathon right now, so I’m running my 800s in 2:37.”

So the idea is, if you can run the 10 sets in 3.20 (minutes not pace) you will run your marathon in 3.20. Obviously assuming you have done all your long runs etc.

I did my first one back on July 9th – I was aiming for around a 4.20 m/km pace which is 3.25 minutes for 800m.

I ended up doing the following – all times, not pace.

  • 3.30
  • 3.30
  • 3.30
  • 3.21
  • 3.28
  • 3.26
  • 3.29
  • 3.19
  • 3.21
  • 3.05

Each one of these had a recovery of 3.25mins at a really slow pace. So based on the above I would be aiming for approximately a 3.24 / 3.25 marathon?

10 weeks later and coach recommended I go out at approximately 3.57 pace so about 3.10 minutes for the 800m. It was pretty windy so a few sets were affected by that – the same effort wasn’t delivering the same result. And my last one I decided to go ‘balls to the wall’….which was ironic as when I finished it turns out ‘balls to the wall’ was the same as my previous effort without the nausea.

  • 3.05
  • 3.17
  • 3.06
  • 3.15
  • 3.06
  • 3.14
  • 3.07
  • 3.09
  • 3.06
  • 3.06

I was spent by the end but felt good to have reduced my time so substantially. And I got an unsolicited hug and a high 5 from my coach. It was just the 2 of us doing this session this morning – no one else who is doing the marathon was there. Legs 2, 4 and 6 were thrown out a bit by the wind; but we’ll see in a few weeks how accurate this session is!

However the best was yet to come! I tweeted Bart Yasso after the session and he tweeted back!!!! Now, I am not a big twitter user….I follow like 4 people and rarely tweet. So maybe it’s normal that he responded. Twice!

But in my eyes I am now best buds with Bart. I am BBB…….Bart’s Best Bud.


Thanks Bart, will keep you posted on my results.


This morning we had Yasso 800’s – my first time doing this workout. You can read a detailed description here but essentially they are a “predictor session”. And a very difficult predictor at that! I am shattered all day.

The name “Yasso” comes from Bart Yasso, the chief running officer at Runner’s World magazine, who popularized this workout. Here’s how to do Yasso 800s:

  • Take your marathon goal time in hours/minutes and convert this to minutes/seconds. For example, if your marathon goal is 3 hours and 10 minutes then convert that to 3 minutes and 10 seconds.
  • Try to run 800 meters in your converted time (3:10 in this example).
  • Repeat 10 times at this same pace. So you need to make sure you don’t go out too fast to keep your pace consistent.
  • Run an active recovery for the same time (here 3:10) between each 800M
  • Simple!

 So my goal is 3.25. Which means I ran:

  • 800M in 3.25
  • Recovery for 3.25 (as slow as you like)
  • Repeat for 10 times.

 You obviously need to take it with a pinch of salt but my coach rates it. We used today as a base session to see where we were and will do it again 3 weeks out. Here are my laps from this morning. So I’m on track but not there yet!

 It’s a really tough session….I have been so tired and hungry all day! But they are the good ‘uns! 

I finally succumbed and bought some running gloves yesterday! It was 2 degrees on Saturday morning when we set off and my hands were numb until lunch time! It took me like 3 minutes to open the car door! I am that European person in Australia scoffing at all the aussies in their winter gear in 16 degrees. That’s Celsius. So my club compadres enjoyed laughing at me in my new gloves this morning. I got these ones in Lululemon…..I worship at the altar of Lululemon. My bank balance is not as big a fan. 

Guess which picture I took?

Franman thinks they look like washing up gloves…….he may have a point. The fact that they are TouchScreen is handy though……and obviously worth the extra coin.

I have a 17km Medium Long Run (4.45-5.15 pace) at 6am tomorrow; so just dying for that.  Thankfully I am doing it with a few of the club members so won’t be as bad as solo. Looking forward to a lie in (until 7am!!!) on Friday. J

I wish I had read some of this in my 20’s