Lately, speedwork has been playing a larger and larger role in my marathon training. I still keep it to once a week to prevent overtraining issues, but now I am seeing the benefits of it more and more….and dare I say…I’m starting to look forward to it? Regardless, when I looked at my training plan saw 6×800 with WU & CD (warm up /cool down), I paid special attention to it. Over the past month, the anxiety of my upcoming race has been looming more and more over my shoulder. Not so much the distance, or logistics (it’s my hometown race!) moreso my goal time. I desperately want to break 4 hours, with any additional time under that goal to be a bonus, but nagging doubts have me wondering if I really have it in me.
Last night, after 3km of warm up, I started my sets of Yasso 800s. The only problem being the local track is only 380m round. I’d rather add distance than short change myself so for each two laps of the track I added an extra 1/4 quarter lap, which set me up for 880m total distance each lap….sounds good in theory, but man did that extra distance take it’s toll.
As per usual I went out WAY too fast with my first 880 at 3:25, and second at 3:40, and by the end of the second one I was ready to pack it in for the night. But after a slow rest lap I was ready to settle in for some decent paced hard work. The rest of 880’s averaged around 3:52.
For those of you who are confused as to what a “Yasso 800” is, here’s some explanation: According to the Yasso “conversion” if you can can run 10 sets of 800m at a set time (min:sec) then it’s a pretty accurate delineator of you’re your marathon time (hr:min). Confused? I was too when I first read about it. So here’s a snippet from Bart Yasso’s website to clarify.
“Bart and I were at the Portland Marathon last September when he told me about his workout. He was training for a marathon later in the fall, so two days before Portland he went to a nearby track and ran Yasso 800s. “I’m trying to build up to ten 800s in the same time as my marathon goal time,” he told me.
Huh? Half-miles in 2 or 3 hours? I didn’t get it.
Bart saw that he’d have to do more explaining. “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.”
As much as I wanted to stay at the track and see if I could keep it up for a full set of 10 (which I was fairly confident I could, unfortunately 6 was all I had time for. It was still a great workout though, and as soon as I got home from a tired 3km cool down the sky opened up with a downpour, so maybe my timing was more appropriate than I could have predicted.