Sunday, May 18, 2008

Yasso 800s

With running being such a competitive sport, it is rare that we can congratulate someone on a win. Even rarer are the occasions when we can congratulate someone on winning a marathon. When I saw the results of the Fargo marathon, I was truly in shock and awe. Eric, congratulations, Champion.

On Thursday evening I must have decided that running 17 miles at race pace isn't punishment enough and signed up for an hour of football after work. I did that, and then still had to cycle home for 5 miles. Maybe that was a bit too much, because on Friday my legs were extremely stiff and sore. The hip flexors especially were moaning a lot. In addition I slept really badly, Maia woke a few times during the night, and when she did sleep she was basically snoring into my ear. I had originally planned on running 6 miles, but at 6:20 I had enough of staring at the bedroom ceiling and got up for a run, and since I had all that extra time I added 2 more miles. To get rid of the stiff legs I did several short acceleration sprints, and gradually the feeling in the legs returned. I didn't count them, but looking at the charts of the Garmin afterwards I must have done 16.

I felt stiff and tired all day, and I wondered if I should move Saturday's planned interval workout to Sunday. But last week I had felt almost as bad and than the workout on Saturday had been good, so I decided to stick with the original schedule. I had a Yasso 800 workout in mind, not because I think it's a great predictor for your marathon time, but because it's a good workout. 10x800 means there will be 5 miles at interval speed, which is definitely a lot. I wanted to run each in about 3:10, and that's how it went:

3:08, 3:11, 3:08, 3:14, 3:11, 3:17, 3:11, 3:09, 3:01, 3:05

After the first 3 I decided to stop looking at the Garmin every 10 seconds and run more by feel. The “reward” for that over the next 4 repeats were 2 sub-standard and 2 half decent ones. After each of those intervals I felt I could and should have run a little bit faster, and over the last 3 I went pretty much all out, which is why the times were coming down for those. The way I understand it, the last few intervals are the most important ones, and according to that it was a good workout. I was surprised that I kept feeling fully recovered after each rest period, even during the last ones, but the last 2 were definitely tough, and I was glad to be finished. And for the record, the average time was 3:09.5; even though I don't really think much of the accuracy of that particular marathon prediction method, I'm happy enough to see it under 3:10 all the same.

The weather is supposed to turn nasty again today, but luckily it held off long enough to have another run in the morning sun. I ran towards Glenbeigh, following the Kerry Way, though it is almost all on roads for that section. Just after Glenbeigh, though, it leaves the road and goes on a single track trail steep over a hill through some magical woodland. Unfortunately that section is only one mile long, and then it was back to asphalt road. I was meant to turn around after 6 miles, but followed it a bit longer because I was curious where it would come out. Eventually I ended up where a railway station called “Mountain Stage” used to be 50 years ago, and yes, the name is justified. The road had been steadily climbing for the last 3 miles. I was surprised how well I felt, I ran as easy as I wanted over very hilly terrain, and still got close to 8:00 pace. I think the Cork marathon will be a good one, as long as I don't do anything stupid over the next 14 days. From today on, I'm tapering.

16 May
8 miles, 1:08:17, 8:32 pace, HR 140
incl. 16 accelerations
17 May
11 miles, 1:26:27, 7:51 pace, HR 151
incl. 10X800 @ 3:09 avg.
18 May
12.25 miles, 1:39:39, 8:08 pace, HR 139

Weekly mileage: 74


  1. Great workouts Thomas. Taper well and no funny stuff.

  2. Hey, I didn't realize a marathon was so near. You're starting to have a Maniac mentality, I think.

  3. Nice pace on the 800s! Way to go!!

  4. You're set to race well Thomas.

    I'm with you about Eric. To train through such a tough winter, a six-minute PB, winning, and... he's a nice guy.

  5. Thanks for the props, Thomas.

    Nice workout as well. The Yasso 800s have always intrigued me, but I've been hesitant to try them due to the association with Runner's World. Bart Yasso doesn't necessarily deserve that, as I think it's a bit of a 'branding' issue.

    Anyway, there are a few of us out here who are anxious to see how well Cork turns out. I've found another Irishman (and woman!) close to home, in Fargo, North Dakota, who have been following your blog and we're all pulling for you. Good luck!

  6. Great w/o. As someone who has short-end speed, I love 800s. Running 10x800 with 2' rest is a favourite taper w/o of mine (I’ve used it twice with success, Sacramento and Ottawa last year). I’m really curious to see how Cork unfolds for you, stay focused!