Tuesday on the track

Happy Tuesday true believers. My training plan has me doing speed work on Tuesdays. I had an un-structured, Fartlek-style run planned, but when I woke up this morning I was craving a more formal workout.

Because formal is my middle name
I decided to head to the track and bust out one of my favorite old-reliables: Yasso 800s.
Yasso 800s were invented by Bart Yasso, the Chief Running Officer of ‘Runner’s World’ magazine (If I ever go corporate I want THAT title- chief running officer of Sigma Biotech?) Bart is also just an all around renessaince dude- he’s run marathons on all 7 continents, completed the BadWater UltraMarathon, is a champion Biathlete, and has cycled unsupported across the country twice. Basically, I want to be exactly like Bart (plus a PhD) when I grow up.
So how do good old Bart’s Yasso 800s work? They are shockingly simple. What you do is take your goal marathon time in hours and minutes and convert it to minutes and seconds. I think of this as “moving the decimal,” if time were base-10 instead of base-loony tunes. For example, my Boston Qualifying time is 3 hours and 10 minutes. That seems pretty ambitious for this particular race, but I AM hoping to finish in less than three and a half hours. So, three and a half hour becomes three minutes thirty seconds. Now what?
You run an 800m (half a mile, or two laps around the track) in the prescribed amount of time. You give yourself an equal amount of time to recover (I usually just jog one easy lap around the track). 
Turns out it is really hard to take a picture during the recovery laps. This is what the track looks like at 5:30 am

The first Yasso 800 feels pretty mellow. Then you do it again. And again. And again. The more you do, the less mellow they get. Funny how that works. I did 6 repeats today, eventually the goal is to build up to 10.
The goal with Yasso 800s is a combination of speed and consistency. If you go out too hard on the first few intervals, you’ll never make it through the end (just like in a real event). I was pretty pleased to hit 3’24” for my first two and finish at 3’25”–consistency with my pacing is something I struggle with. 
Yassos are supposed to be a great predictor of marathon performance; with the obvious giant caveat a one hour track workout and a marathon are VERY different beasts, and depending on how the stars align what happens during the race is totally unpredictable.
Still, I like Yasso 800s. I love track workouts in general- the structure and framework are reassuring and there’s a huge amount of satisfaction in pushing yourself.
Sorry if this was long winded! I’d love to hear what other peoples’ favorite workouts are: running, swimming, or anything else! (Does anyone do Zumba? It looks so fun). Leave a comment if you’d like!
Over and out.

10 thoughts on “Tuesday on the track

Add yours

  1. I am so unstructured in my workout, so I'm not even sure where to start. But I do like doing the same workout (or trail) over and over again. I'm sure it's knowing that I will survive the hill, which allows me to run (or ski or swim) a little harder; no fear in the back of my head dragging me back.


  2. I think the track offers the same sort of comfort as returning to the same route!

    “It's just an oval I will not get lost”
    “The last repeat did not kill you, this new t one probably won't either”

    Next time you visit, we'll hit the track together- you're going to finish your next half-mary in way under 2 hours!


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