Friday Fartlek: Yasso 800’s

Tri Training NZThis session provides you with a great speed work session that will benefit you whether you are training for a 5km or a marathon. It can be done on an athletics track, the road or even off-road. These session can be credited to Bart Yasso who is the Chief Running Officer at Runners World Magazine. He identified that your marathon time can be predicted by the average time it takes you to run 800m ten times. If you average 3min 30sec for the 800’s you will do pretty close to 3hr 30min in the marathon. We can reverse engineer that and use the session based on what your goal time is. Do you want to run sub 4hrs? Well do all your reps under 4min. Do you want to go sub 3:20? Well….you get the idea. This is not an easy session and a full set of Yasso 800’s takes over an hour to complete. In fact I never recommend that anyone starts with a full set of ten! Start at five and build up from there.

Each week I will be posting the Friday Fartlek Run Sessions that you can do in under 60 minutes to enhance your running. Fartlek is a Swedish term that is often used by runners and it means speed-play. See the previous post about training intensity (levels) to know how hard to work. If you are working directly with Coach Ray he will in most cases prescribe either a Pace Zone or Heart Rate Zone to work within if you are training with these tools.

This session provides you with a great speed work session that will benefit you whether you are training for a 5km or a marathon. It can be done on an athletics track, the road or even off-road. These session can be credited to Bart Yasso who is the Chief Running Officer at Runners World Magazine. He identified that your marathon time can be predicted by the average time it takes you to run 800m ten times. If you average 3min 30sec for the 800’s you will do pretty close to 3hr 30min in the marathon. We can reverse engineer that and use the session based on what your goal time is. Do you want to run sub 4hrs? Well do all your reps under 4min. Do you want to go sub 3:20? Well….you get the idea. This is not an easy session and a full set of Yasso 800’s takes over an hour to complete. In fact I never recommend that anyone starts with a full set of ten! Start at five and build up from there.

5-10x Yasso 800m Level V, 400m Rest Interval (RI)Tri Coaching NZ

  • 10min Warm Up Level II;
  • 5-10x 800m Level V, 400m Jog Level I-II RI (Main Set);
  • 10min Cool Down Level I-II;
  • 10min Stretching

The warm up should be done at an intensity that is steady but not over consuming at Level II.

For the main set run two laps of the track as hard as you can on the inside lane.  As you cross the start finish line ease up your pace and jog the next lap. As you hit the start/finish line again, increase your pace running a hard lap as fast as you can again. Repeat for a total of between five & ten reps.

The first time you do this session start off with five reps and build up over the coming weeks towards ten reps. Target your goal time and work hard to achieve it each rep. If you miss the time on any reps, don’t add any extra reps the following week when you do the session again.

The cool down is at a low intensity, jogging the remainder of the workout.

Finish with 10 minutes stretching to assist with the recovery.  This isn’t necessarily included in the 60 minute workout and can be conducted whilst showering post workout.

Here are a couple more articles about the Yasso 800’s:

If you would like further advice feel free to contact Coach Ray.

Coach Ray is the Head Coach & Director of Qwik Kiwi – Endurance Sports Consultant and is a prominent triathlon and marathon coach in New Zealand.

Coach Ray specialises in assisting first timers and recreational athletes to achieve their sporting goals. He can be contacted at www.qwik.kiwi, ray@qwikkiwi.com and 021 348 729. Make sure you sign up to his monthly informative newsletter.

Share this post so your friends can benefit as well.

This post is also one of the Top 10 most popular workouts on www.CoachRay.nz, of which they are all included in the latest eBook Top 10 Workouts From Coach Ray – The Ten Most Popular Training Sessions from www.CoachRay.nz eBook.


4 Replies to “Friday Fartlek: Yasso 800’s”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *