Yasso 800s: “Do or Try It Now”!

Last November 20, 2007, I made a post about Yasso 800s. It is a simple formula to guide a runner who is training for a marathon race to predict his finish time. This simple formula (?) to predict one’s finish time came out from the observation and experiences of Mr Bart Yasso who is now the Chief Running Officer of the Runner’s World Magazine as he finished and trained for more than 1,000 endurance sports/races for the past 29 years. However, in my first post about Yasso 800s, I was not able to tell or mention some important details about the said workout.

This post will now fine-tune what I’ve posted almost 21 months ago. Yasso 800s is supposed to be a “speed” running workout done at the oval track. As part of ones preparation for a marathon race, this is supposed to be done at least 5-6 weeks before the marathon race day. Which means that you were able to build-up the much needed “foundation” of mileages/kilometers in order to develop the endurance (strong legs without any injury and aerobic capability to sustain a faster pace) through your easy runs, long runs, tempo runs, speed runs, and hill repeats/workouts.

During the Yasso 800 session,  one has to run at least 10 repetitions of 800 meters with 400 meters jog in between repetition. The average time of your 10 repetitions will likely be your time for the marathon race, not in minutes, but in hours. For example: if you have an average of 3:32 minutes for the 10 repetitions you have done running at a distance of 800 meters at the oval track (2 laps around the oval track at Lane #1); most likely, your finish time in the marathon race is 3 hours & 32 minutes! It is very easy, you just convert the minutes into hours. It is mandatory to have at least 10 repetitions of the Yasso 800s in order to be accurate in your prediction for your marathon finish time.

However, according to Mr Bart Yasso, the Yasso 800 is not an accurate or perfect predictor of your marathon finish time time as you need to make some adjustments depending on the terrain of the course and the prevailing weather during race day. In extreme conditions of terrain and hot weather, a runner who has 3-4 marathon finishes on his/her belt, he/she can make adjustment by adding 10 minutes; and for those competitive and experienced marathon runners who have finished more than 5 marathon races, they can add 5 minutes to their average Yasso 800s result.

If you are preparing for the MILO Marathon Eliminations on July 5, you can try this workout and hit the Lane # 1 of the ULTRA Oval Track as soon as possible. Just be sure those “walkers” and slow runners (with their Ipods) at Lane # 1 will not interfere with your Yasso 800s. Good luck! 

By the way, this is my training target pace data in preparation for the MILO Marathon:

Easy Run—5:46 mins/km

Long Run—5:46-6:15 mins/km

Tempo Run—4:45 mins/km

Speed Run—4:12 mins/km

Yasso 800s—3:35 mins

So far my training had been going on for the past days since I finished the LA Marathon. We will see how this training will turn out in the coming days to come.

14 thoughts on “Yasso 800s: “Do or Try It Now”!

  1. gingerbreadrunning

    Thank you for the very helpful post Sir Jovie, I had read about it before and it seems like a very sound training tool. I’ll definitely try it out, although it may still be hard for a newbie like myself. God Bless!


  2. naokosha

    I’ve tried that Yasso 800’s when I started training my first Milo Marathon in 2003. It was my first 42k and I’m just a beginner that time. I did several 3:30’s on the track. Amazingly, that was my time in the finals. But most amazingly, I was able to be in the top 10 over-all in the women’s division. This technique really helps for marathoners who wants to have an impressive finish in the 42k.


  3. elkyoshi

    Wow! Very interesting. I’m excited to try it this Sunday, a few weeks before my first Milo full marathon. Thanks for the informative post, as always, Jovie-san!


      1. elkyoshi

        Thanks. Although I had never heard of Yasso 800s before, I have been doing 800s (and sometimes 1600s) for my speed training. I have so far done 6 rounds of 800s with 800m jog intervals. I hope to be able to do 8 rounds this week and 10 rounds by next week.
        Love your posts about trail running. Maybe it’s really time to take on the invitation of a friend to visit LA.


  4. ibanrunner

    thanks, I think I need to look for an oval track. I have won a 800m event before. But have been out of the track for many years. Guess is time to come back and try the Yasso’s 800s. Good luck BR!


  5. i2runner

    Too bad my marathon program only peaks at 6x800meters and 5×1,600meters. I’ll try to remember this technique for my 2nd marathon program after Milo Elims.

    But Sir Jovie, what do you think is the best speedwork for the marathon, the 800meter repeats or the 1mile repeats? Thanks.


    1. kingofpots

      both distances are good for speed workouts depending on the level of your capability. however, you can adopt those two distances though. what is important here is the distance or period in between your repetitions. the shorter the time in between reps, the better for you to develop and be able to increase your VO2 Max. good luck!


  6. runnerforchrist

    His book “My Life On The Run” was really cool and a Must-have for every runners. He was an icon and legend already. I saw his pictures running many Ultras in different parts of the world and he’s running for 30 years now.

    Thanks for sharing.

    God bless.


  7. Pingback: A Yes to Yasso 800s « El Kyoshi ◆ エル 教師

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s