No TMBC - Yasso 800s

Fellow Endorphin Junkies

Tomorrow will be pretty good, with Temps from the low-60s to the High 70s, but a lot more humidity than recently. Again, tracks are open, but no "organized" activities may take place. A few of us will be at Yorktown at 7 AM tomorrow, and last week we had some TMBC members before and after the 7 AM workout, so I expect we might see some of you tomorrow at Yorktown, while others will head to W&L or even Falls Church HS for track work.

October 22, 2020 – NO OFFICIAL TMBC – BUT ON THE TRACK ON YOUR OWN: Yasso 800s – at a pace where your expected marathon time in hours and minutes is your 800 pace in minutes and seconds, with 400m easy jogs between each 800 in the exact same time as your 800, not faster or slower

To reiterate how to calculate your 800 time take the hours and minutes of your expected (hoped for) marathon time – in my case three hours and 50 minutes (Dream on!), and convert that to an 800 time of three minutes and 50 seconds, followed by a slow 400m jog in three minutes fifty seconds. It is VERY easy to jog that 400m too fast – but don't do it! Much more critical to run ALL of the 800s in the same time, even as you tire, and fully recover if possible on that exact same time on the slow 400. I attached an article on Yasso 800s – a favorite of Coach Ed and myself, developed by the legendary Coach Bowman form Oregon who coached Pre – one of the best workouts you can do for the marathon!

Since there is no Coach Rich Club Report, here is Admiral Paul Ryan and "Voices from the Crew":

What TMBC Means to Me:

Sometimes we don't realize how lucky we are! During my 30 years in the Navy Laura and I moved 19 times. I never had the time or opportunity to join a training group like TMBC: I was always a solitary runner putting in my miles. I ran 9 marathons, including Boston in 1981, without the benefit of a Saturday Long Run support group. In my late 30s I switched my focus to the 5k and had lots of race results in the 16 min range. In my 40s, with three sons running high school track, I shifted my focus to the mile, running multiple sub 5s. I can only imagine how much faster I would have been if I'd had a training and support group like TMBC.

I started running with the DCRRC Wednesday night group about 8 years ago but found that it interfered with family dinners, so I eventually started coming to the Thursday morning workouts and have been a regular attendee ever since. Coaches Rich and Big Guy were welcoming and continually provide helpful hints, even to an older runner like me. When I first joined the group my running buddies were CaSandra, Melinda, and Alan. They were great at pushing me and I'm still inspired by their performances.
During the COVID-19 track closure I stopped speed workouts, increased mileage and started running virtual races. The support from fellow TMBC runners has been great: Coach Rich has paced me in several 5ks and Strava segments, I ran with Big Guy on his north Arlington hill loop, Mark Bourgeois and I teamed up for several mile races, and most recently Christie and Rodrigo helped pace me in a mile time trial. I enjoy socially-distanced greetings with fellow TMBC runners as we occasionally cross paths, I just wish it would happen more frequently.

Several months ago I joined Strava and appreciate seeing many of our Thursday morning regulars continuing to push themselves, even without the ultimate goals of Boston, Richmond, NYC or Chicago.

It's been a pleasure being associated with TMBC and I look forward to our return to the track together. The mutual support we provide makes us all better runners.

Paul Ryan

Coach Big Guy will be out doing the workout at YHS tomorrow, but Coach Rich did his workout today!


You can predict your marathon time based on how long it takes you to run 800 meters. Don't believe it? The secret lies in Yasso 800s.
By Amby Burfoot

PUBLISHED 09/28/2001

When physicists discover a new subatomic particle, they claim the right to name it. Same with astronomers. Locate a new star out there in the way beyond, and you can name it anything you want: Clarence, Sarah, Mork or even Mindy.

I think runners, coaches and writers should be able to do the same. And I'm going to take this opportunity to invoke the privilege.

Last fall I discovered an amazing new marathon workout. Amazing, because it's the simplest marathon workout you've ever heard. (And simplicity in marathon training, as in physics and astronomy, is much to be prized.) Amazing, because I'm convinced it actually works.

In truth, I didn't find this workout. It found me, through the person of Bart Yasso, our race services manager here at RUNNER'S WORLD. But Bart's not much of a proselytizer, while I sometimes am, so I'm going to seize this chance to name the workout. I'm going to call it "Yasso 800s."

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."

Suddenly things started to make sense. But would the same workout apply to a 3 hour marathoner? A 4-hour marathoner? A 5-hour marathoner? It didn't seem very likely.

In the next couple of weeks, I decided to check it out I played around with lots of mathematical equations and talked to about 100 runners of widely differing abilities (from a 2:09 marathoner to several well over 4 hours), and darn if the Yasso 800s didn't hold up all the way down the line.

Now, this is a remarkable thing. Anyone who has been running for a few years, and in particular trying to improve his or her marathon time, knows that training theory can get quite complex. You've got pace, you've got pulse, you've got max VO2, you've got lactate threshold, you've got cruise intervals, you've got tempo training, you've got enough gibberish to launch a new line of dictionaries.

And now you've got an easier way: you've got Yasso 800s. Want to run a 3:30 marathon? Then train to run a bunch of 800s in 3:30 each. Between the 800s, jog for the same number of minutes it took you to run your repeats. Training doesn't get any simpler than this, not on this planet or anywhere else in the solar system.

Bart begins running his Yasso 800s a couple of months before his goal marathon. The first week he does four. On each subsequent week, he adds one more until he reaches 10. The last workout of Yasso 800s should be completed at least 10 days before your marathon, and 14 to 17 days would probably be better.

The rest of the time, just do your normal marathon training, paying special attention to weekend long runs. Give yourself plenty of easy runs and maybe a day or two off during the week.

But don't skip the Yasso 800s. This is the workout that's going to get you to the finish on time.

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