Sunday, February 19, 2012

Love Me Some Yasso

Since my resignation of running the full New Orleans marathon, I have been embracing my new found freedom. More time on the weekends, shorter runs during the week, and quicker recovery all around. Since I am running less miles, my focus has turned from quantity to quality.

One thing that was left behind in my marathon-training-dust was speed work. I simply could not recover enough from my long runs in time to bust out speed sessions; my legs were just unable to handle the demand. But now that my longest runs are 10-12 miles, I can easily complete a recovery run the next day with speed work in the days to follow.

A workout that I have fallen in love with is the Yasso 800s. This speed work was invented by Bart Yasso, who is one of few that has completed races on all 7 continents, countless ultra marathons (50+ mile races), completed the Ironman five times, and cycled, unsupported and by himself, across country twice. This man is a monster.

Yasso 800's are incredibly simple:

The intervals should consist of 800 meter runs (or half a mile/ 2 times around the track). If you're aiming for a 4 hour marathon finish time, then run your 800 meter interval in 4 minutes. Jog for another 4 minutes and then repeat by running another 800 meters in 4 minutes. Do this until you can do 10 total repetitions in a given workout. After 2 or 3 months of Yasso 800's, along with your typical marathon training schedule, you should be prepared to charge the marathon and complete it at your target pace based on the Yasso intervals. -Source-
My speed work this week, which I completed on the treadmill, looked like this:

1 mile: Warm up jog
.5 mile (aka: 800 meters): 8:50 pace
.25 mile: Recovery walk
.5 mile: 8:50 pace
.25 mile: Recovery walk
.5 mile: 8:50 pace

.25 mile: Recovery walk
.5 mile: 8:50 pace
.25 mile: Recovery walk
Total miles: 4

I completed each 800 in 4 minutes, 25 seconds. The goal is to push yourself, but for it not to be insanely difficult. Each week I'll add another repetition, making it a little harder each time. 

Even though I am not running the full marathon, the concept still applies. If the Yasso theory hold true, once I am completing 10 repetitions by the end of my training schedule, I should be able to meet a goal time of a 2:10 half marathon (and a 4:20 marathon...someday). 

The downside? I just started these so this will likely not affect my pace during the New Orleans Half Marathon. I've come to terms with the fact that, since I have not been doing any sort of speed work over the last 15 weeks, I will probably not set a PR. But oh well, whatcha gonna do?

Tell me if you attempt any Yasso 800's this week and let me know if you love them as much as I do!

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