How to Do Yasso 800s

Use this workout to achieve your marathon goal time

Runner on track
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Yasso 800s are a popular workout among runners who are trying to achieve a specific marathon goal, such as trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon. The name "Yasso" comes from Bart Yasso, the chief running officer at Runner's World magazine, who popularized this workout.

Yasso 800s are best done on a track, so you can easily measure 800 meters (two laps of most tracks). You could also do them on a treadmill, since you'll know exactly how far and fast you're running.

But you can basically run them anywhere, as long as you have a way to measure 800 meters.

How to Do a Yasso 800 Workout:

  • Take your marathon goal time in hours/minutes and convert this to minutes/seconds. For example, if your marathon goal is 3 hours and 10 minutes then convert that to 3 minutes and 10 seconds.
  • First, do an easy warm-up of a 5-10 jog and a few warm-up exercises.
  • Next, try to run 800 meters (approximately 1/2 mile) at your converted time (3:10 in this example).
  • Recover after each 800 by jogging or walking for the same amount of time (again, 3:10 in this example).
  • Start with three or four repetitions in the first week.
  • Continue with Yasso 800 workouts once a week and try to add one more repetition each week until you reach ten repetitions. The first few should feel pretty easy and you may run under your goal time. However, as you add repeats, you'll notice that they'll start to get more difficult and you may have some trouble hitting your times.
  • Don't forget to cool down with 5 minutes of easy running or walking, followed by stretching.
     

Don't Overdo It

Don't make the mistake of assuming that doing Yasso 800s more frequently will increase your chances of hitting your goal time. Make sure you're slowly building up your repetitions and don't do the workout more than once a week.

As with any speed workouts, overdoing it can increase your risk of injury. And not giving your body a chance to rest and rebuild can negate some of the effects of your hard work.

Stick to Your Training Schedule

In addition to weekly Yasso 800s, you'll still need to do your regular marathon training, including weekly long runs. Even with the proper training, being able to complete ten Yasso repetitions doesn't guarantee that you'll finish the marathon in your goal time. But if you can't complete the ten repetitions, it's probably a good indication that you won't hit your goal time.

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