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.

Yasso 800s @ Iloilo Oval Track

15 March 2008 (6:00-7:15 AM)

I woke up at 5:30 AM to prepare myself for my planned “speed run” at the Iloilo City Sports Complex. At 5:45 AM, I was already at the Sports Complex and I started with my stretching for about 15 minutes while watching those many Ilonggos, young and old, men and ladies, and some Koreans, walking and jogging along the oval track. In my estimate, there were at least a hundred people using the oval track!

I started a slow 800-meter (2 laps) run at 4:32 minutes with one lap (400 meters) as interval slow jog.

My first Yasso 800 lap was timed at 4:23 minutes with an Average Pace of 5:01 minutes/kilometer.

2nd Yasso 800 lap was timed at 3:38 minutes with an Average Pace of 4:27 minutes/kilometer.

3rd Yasso 800 lap was timed at 3:54 minutes with an Average Pace of 4:22 minutes/kilometer.

4th Yasso 800 lap was timed at 4:01 minutes with an Average Pace of 4:37 minutes/kilometer.

5th Yasso 800 lap was timed at 3:56 minutes with an Average Pace of 4:26 minute/kilometer.

In between laps, I jogged for 400 meters/one lap. Later, I jogged for 8 laps with an Average Pace of 5:15 minutes/kilometer. I had two laps as my cool-down run before performing my post-stretching exercises.

I was able to cover a distance of 6.2 miles or 10 kilometers for this morning’s run at the Iloilo City Oval Track.

Running Shoes—ASICS Gel 1120

Yasso 800s

I found out about “Yasso 800s” when I started buying back issues of Runners World Magazine for the months of April, June & July of this year. I bought these back issues last month when I started running seriously again. I thought Yasso 800s is some kind of an equipment that improves the performance of a runner or an equipment that measures the strength and endurance of a runner.

My research in the Internet brought me to the article of Amby Burfoot in the September 2001 issue of the Runners World Magazine where he started to use the term “Yasso 800s” based from the training experiences of Mr Bart Yasso in his preparation for a Marathon race. According to Mr Yasso, he runs sets of 800-meter runs and the average time in these runs could predict accurately his time to finish a marathon race. If he averages 2:45 minutes in his 800-meter runs, he predicts that he could finish the marathon in 2 hours & 45 minutes. Simply put, the minutes & seconds a runner could finish sets of 800-meter runs is translated to hours & minutes as predicted time to finish the marathon.

Early this morning, I ordered some of my men to measure a distance of 800 meters, with a measuring tape used by my engineers,  along the 2-mile route I am using in my camp in Jamindan. The first 400 meters is slightly uphill and the rest is relatively plain.

I tried my first Yasso 800s at noon today when the rains stopped. After a short stretching exercises, I did my first set at 3:49 mins and slowly jogged 400 meters. My second run was 3:45 mins. My third run was 3:46 mins. My fourth & last run was 3:52 mins. I between these runs (2nd to 4th) I jogged 500-700 meters as my recovery runs. Before I ended my brief and testing for my first Yasso 800s, I slowly jogged 1 km to cool down. I ended the workout with the stretching of my legs. I ran a total of 6-7 kilometers for the whole Yasso 800s workout.

I am happy with the results of my brief Yasso 800s runs. If Mr Yasso is right in his predictions/theory, I am predicting that I am regaining my power, strength, and endurance when I was a serious runner 25 years ago. This is a positive result after three weeks of serious training for a marathon.

Thanks, Mr Yasso, you will be my regular training partner every week!!!