Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Yasso 800s revisited

I don't know if I'm dumb or just ignorant.  Probably a healthy dose of both. 

I have been running Yasso 800s for 2 years now.  Developed by Runner's World's Bart Yasso, Yasso 800s are a way to run intervals by which you can predict your marathon race time.  You run 10 800s, with a 400 jog break in between, and your average time on the 800s predicts your marathon time.  So if you run them in an average time of 3 minutes 20 seconds, you should be able to run a marathon in 3 hours 20 minutes. 
Bart Yasso, super runner and super nice guy.
 I had it down.  Like I said, I've been running them for more than 2 years.  I have, several times, run Yassos in less than my goal of 3:20.  But the other day, a friend of mine dropped a revelation on me.  You see, I initially based my Yassos on the brief article about them in Runner's World.  It repeatedly refers to running 800s, but never states whether that's 800 yards or meters.  (Actually, now that I look at it again, it says 800 meters right there in bold letters at the top.  Maybe they added that recently for morons like me!)  I'm an American, I don't use metric.  Why would I?  Eight hundred yards is .454545. . . mile, so I have been setting my Garmin for intervals of .46 mile. 

Well, if I had ever run on a track, I would know that when runners talk about 800s, 400s, 1600s, or whatever, they are referring to meters!  As my friend pointed out, I should be running 800 meters per interval, not 800 yards!  Eight hundred meters is .4971 mile, so this morning I reset my Garmin for intervals of .5 mile.  That extra 4/100 of a mile may not sound like much, but it adds 211.2 feet to each interval.

Like I've said, I have, on occasion, run 3:20 or faster Yassos, in anticipation of being in the ballpark for a 3:20 marathon.  I probably ran my Yassos today as fast as I've ever run, but since I ran 800 meters instead of 800 yards, I only averaged 3:31.  I think I'll still run with the 3:20 pace group at White Rock, hoping against hope that I'll find some way to finish in that time.  But more realistically, I would expect to be able to finish in the 3:31 range.  Run and learn. 

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