Do you yasso?

“It is true that speed kills. In distance running, it kills anyone who does not have it.”
-Brooks Johnson

What I like about my current marathon training plan is that it switches things up with mid-week speed workouts. I’ve done some track workouts in the past with my running club, but I have never been too consistent with speed work. Every week there is an exercise that is outlined and it’s helped me learn a little more about this type of training. This week called for something called “yasso” which was a term I had never heard before. The Marathon Training Academy described this workout as a fast 800m run (or 2 laps around a traditional track) followed by a 400m recovery. This is done 6 times and was preceded by a warm up mile and followed by a 1/2 mile cool down. The plan said to keep the 800’s at 4:30, which I felt was very doable since I can usually run these around 4 minutes.

I convinced my friend Lori, who I have been doing my long runs with, to join me on Tuesday evening, when our running club usually does their track workout. I figured it would motivate me more if I went to the track while others were doing their routines. I didn’t realize that she had already done a vigorous rowing workout that morning and was feeling a little sore, but she decided to join me anyway. It was great because we got to do our own thing while the club did their normal workout – I definitely felt less stupid having someone run laps with me. She didn’t intend on doing the full workout, this being her second workout of the day, but she ended up sticking with me until the end and doing all the yasso drills.

The first one we went out a little fast. We ended up finishing around 4:13. The remaining 800’s averaged around 4:20 and I was pleased we were able to be on the faster side of the training plan. I felt pretty strong while I was running these, especially after the first one was completed. However, when I slowed for my recovery lap, it felt like I was receiving a blast of heat in the face. The weather has been off and on this July, but this evening it was incredibly hot & humid. My legs definitely started to feel it around the 5th 800 and I ended up backing off a little. To make up for it, I ran the last one the fastest I could, and really pushed my speed.

Track workouts have never been overly interesting or exciting to me. It may seem tedious to constantly be running around in a circle, but incorporating these exercises along with the mile repeats and hill training can really break up the monotony of training for a distance run. I think they are also supposed to make you faster – time will tell on this one. There are a few more yasso drills in my plan and I’m happy to report they definitely didn’t suck and I’m looking forward to see how well I do the next time.

Track buddies
Me & Lori after our track workout on a very hot day. Gotta love summer training!

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