Today on the Doc On The Run Podcast we’re talking about how to use the Yasso 800s to test your marathon fitness after you’ve recovered from a running injury.
Today we’re talking about the Yasso 800s and if you don’t know what this is, this is a thing that was developed by a guy named Bart Yasso. If you don’t know who he is, he’s a really interesting guy who I was actually lucky enough to meet when there was a talk that he gave before the Salt Lake City marathon back when I was in residency about 20 years ago.
Bart was actually the former chief running officer at Runner’s World Magazine and interestingly, when I spoke to him about this after his talk, he actually said that he didn’t actually name the workout after himself. So, I had actually invented a surgical instrument. I was talking about how I gave it a name, but it wasn’t the Segler distractor because I thought that was really arrogant and rude. And so, I kind of was joking about him saying he must have been a doctor because he named this thing after himself but he didn’t actually name it after himself. He was actually surprised when he saw it published in the magazine as the Yasso 800s.
In any event, this is a useful tool, useful way to analyze your fitness and something that can be really helpful to you, as an injured runner who’s returning to running and you’re trying to figure out how fast you should run your marathon.
In short, here’s how you do the Yasso 800s, and what it is, is you’re basically running 800-meter repeats on the track. So, just like if you would go and do mile repeats, where you do a whole mile then you walk for a couple of minutes then you run another mile and you walk for a couple of minutes. Well, that’s one of the techniques that you can use to really improve your running fitness for a marathon, but you can also use it to assess your actual gold pace and what’s realistic.
So, what Mr. Yasso, so actually said is that if you do the Yasso 800s and you’re able to do the repeats at let’s say, you’re able to maintain four minutes for the Yasso 800s and you should be doing a four hour marathon or if you do three thirty, thirty minutes and thirty seconds for each one of your 800 repeats, then you should be able to do a three hour and thirty minute marathon. If you’re really fast and you’re doing each one of these 800 repeats at a pace of three minutes for the entire 800, well then you should be able to do a three-hour marathon.
Okay, so here’s how to do the Yasso 800s as a test to see like what you’re going to be able to do with your marathon if you’re still trying to do it after you’ve recovered from a running injury. First thing you do is you’re going to go to the track and you’re going to warm up by running for about 10 minutes at a slow easy pace. So, this is really slow, like recovery run, super slow base training pays, just warm up for about 10 minutes. You’re not trying to burn up your energy here.
Then what you’re going to do is you’re going to run 800 meters at your marathon guestimate pace. So, if you’re really trying for a three thirty and then you got injured and you’ve been trying to restore some of your fitness, and you don’t really think that you’re all the way there but you’re going to try to run a three forty while you run it that pace.
But let’s say you’re, you’re shooting for a four-hour marathon. What you would do is you would run 800 at four minutes, see what’s been four minutes running that 800 meters and now it would be predictive of a four-hour marathon if you’re able to hold that pace for each one of these repeats that you do.
If you are going to do let’s say three thirty marathon, well then you would run your 800s at a three minute and thirty second timeframe for that 800 meters. So, as soon as you do the 800 meters the first time, you’re going to jog slowly for the same amount of time. If you ran for four minutes, you would run you would jog slowly for four minutes to cool down, lower your heart rate. Then you would repeat again, on pace. So, for four-hour marathon, again that’s four minutes that you’re going to do that 800 meters at.
If you’re doing a three thirty marathon, it would be three minutes and thirty seconds that you’re doing that and then again after that second one, you’re going to do a short recovery jog as well for the same amount of time. And then what you’re going to do is you’re going to repeat that a total of 10 times.
This is not like a mile fitness test where you see how fast can you run one mile. So, you have to stay on pace. The goal is to find out that for those ten 800 meter repeats, how can you maintain a pace that’s going to tell you what your marathon pace is. So again, if you’re shooting for a four-hour marathon and you can stay on pace, you can do each 800 in four minutes, then you should be able to do a four-hour marathon.
Do not do this unless you’ve been cleared by your doctor or if I’ve personally done a webcam call with you and we’ve discussed this and decided it’s safe for you, then it’s probably okay for you to do it. Or if on your own, you’ve gone through the Fast Track challenge and you’ve made a bunch of assessments on your own and you’ve decided all on your own that it’s probably safe for you to do this then it may be safe for you to do this.
But don’t just go out and run like certainly don’t go to the track wearing a fracture walking boot, take it off and see if you can do ten repeats of 800s because you have to remember you’re doing ten repeats of 800s. You’re also doing ten recovery jogs in between those to cool down and lower your heart rate. That’s almost ten miles total. So, it’s not an easy thing to do the Yasso 800s. But Bart Yasso, my hat is off to you. This is an incredible tool that can be used by lots of people to determine their marathon fitness and help them figure out what they should really do, when they’re trying to figure out what your marathon time is realistically going to be, and if you’ve been injured, that may be really helpful for you.
If you liked this episode, please like it, please subscribe, and I’ll see you in the next training.