Blanking (and Yasso’s explained)

Most Thursday mornings, I meet my group at 5:45 for a run of varying distance. Today I had arranged to meet a few of the girls at 5:30 to get in some extra miles. Got up at 4:50, left the house at 5:15, right on schedule. But..I was so immersed in thought that I managed to make a wrong turn. And then another. Suffice it to say, I ate up my full 15 minutes getting back to our meeting place.

I ran with the group at 5:45 and then had to do the dreaded “add-on” at the end to get my miles in. Do you ever blank like that? It doesn’t happen often to me, but I really hate it when it does. I’m hoping early Alzheimer’s isn’t just around the corner.

Several of you asked about Yasso 800s the other day after I posted about my workout. Here’s the deal: Bart Yasso, one of the Runner’s World editors, developed a workout years ago to help marathoners reach their goal pace. It goes like this: If your marathon goal is 4 hours, and you can work yourself up to 10 800-meter repeats at four minutes each, you have a good chance of making your goal.

The same holds true for whatever pace it is you’re shooting for. A 3:30 marathon goal? Do your 800s in 3:30, and so on. The suggested recovery between repeats is the same amount of time. Yasso claims it’s a formula that works for any speed. He recommends starting with just four repeats and then adding one per week, ending with a total of 10, done at least 10 days out from your marathon (or even better, two weeks or so out).

So there you have it. A pretty simple formula. Not much science behind it–there’s really just anecdotal evidence to give it any credence. If nothing else, it’s a good workout and a great confidence builder.

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  1. Andrew Opala says:

    Thanks for the explanation – this looks like it can be applied in some respect to other distances as well!

  2. Silly Girl Running says:

    On my next marathon I will try the Yasso method. Was thinking about that for a while, and now you convinced me. ;)

  3. Gina Marie Dunn says:

    THanks for the tip! Please forgive this math-deficinet runner…how long is an 800 in miles?

  4. Hi Gina–An 800 is 1/2 mile. On the track, that's two laps.

  5. Oh, that means hitting the track? :) Not my favorite place to run. Maybe that is why I don't have many time goals.

  6. AM-GoalsfortheWeek says:

    nice explanation! thx.

    and I CANNOT believe you get up that early to run. i'm always soooo impressed w/y'all who can do that.

    i'm still in my pj's chugging my coffee!;0

  7. That is way to early for me, so kudos on just getting up, I would have not been able to even find my car that early. lol. Thanks for the yasso 800 session break down. I will have to give that a go some time.

  8. I love 800's!!

    Well not at rep # 6 but . . . .they work – so I'm all for them.

  9. Mental lapses? Sure. Forget insoles of shoes, check. Forget to charge Garmin, check. Forget socks in which to run (multiple times), check. Forget that it can be really really cold outside, check. Go to to grocery store and forget the one thing I was sent to the store to fetch? Always.

  10. I'm suddenly very glad I don't worry about finishing times anymore. Sounds like very hard work…respect! I'm still OK with the going blank thing for now.:)

  11. marathonmaiden says:

    i totally blanked on my run yesterday and the "mistake" added about 3.5 miles to my route! oh well. live and learn i guess :)

  12. I started doing the Yasso 800s a while back, I am now up to 8 sets (I'm at the 4:00 marathon pace now).

  13. Bethany + Ryan says:

    what?!? i had no idea that the recovery time was supposed to be the same time as you ran!!! that sounds like way too much recovery!! whoa, i've been doing like 45 seconds, lol. oops.

  14. Ah yes…Johann…but your races never seem to finish.
    And Andrew. If you can convince people to run a certain distance at a certain speed and then convince them that it will transfer over to a fast race…you could invent your own thing…Andrew 100’s.

    Yasso’s are bad ass.

  15. RunWithKate says:

    Can Yasso's replace your other speedwork ? Or, is the goal to do these in addition to other speedwork you may do? Do you still do tempo runs when you complete yasso's regularly? Probably silly questions, but I want to try them and work them into my training regime.

    :) Thanks!!

  16. great explanation

  17. My husband has been doing that a lot lately… we just say he is on auto-pilot once he gets in the car.

    Maybe I can do Yassos for my next marathon! :)

  18. jamie@sweatyhugs says:

    5:45 a.m. on a Thursday!?! You rock! I will think of you the next time I complain about rolling out of bed at 6 for a 6:30 a.m. Saturday morning run. ;)

    Oh, and thank you for the Yasso explanation. I'd love to read more about that stuff.

  19. I blnk all the time. I drive just over 30 minutes home from work and often don't remember the trip.

    I had never ehard of thsoe as yasso's but years ago a coach told me to get my mile faster to pick the time I wanted and it break down to 100m work until I could run 16×100 (with rest) and then go to 8×200, then 4×400, 2×800, and I would be able to my time.

    With the yasso's if you run 10×800 that's five miles. Is the belief that if you can run 5 miles at that pace you can run 26.2? Also, do you do active recovery or stop and recover?

  20. That is awesome! Thank you! I need to get to the track now, I've got some Yasso's to start! :) Cheers

  21. On the recovery…you want to actively recover. For most people this translates to a 400 jog.

  22. ShutUpandRun says:

    Ahhh the Yassos. I think they really work. Not sure that there will be a direct translation for me – (I don't think I can yet run a 3:30 marathon), but I notice that my pace on other longer runs throughout the week picks up once I start the Yasso part of training.

  23. La Historiadora de Moda says:

    Pre-coffee I'm not to be trusted to do anything right. Driving somewhere is a total gamble before at least one cup.

    If I run another marathon next year I'll try to incorporate more speed work. This was a great explanation!

  24. Blanking is an art with me, I practice all the time.

    Thanks for the Yasso explanation, for the first time I actually understand it and might give it a try.

  25. I blank all the time. Went to the fridge for bottled water before driving to work and I left my phone and keys in there.

  26. Sounds like an efficient method to reach your goal and easy to follow too. No difficult maths.

    I don't blank that much although I missed a turn once because I was so distracted by my own thoughts :)

  27. I'm trying Yasso's for the first time this year as a marathon finish predictor. I'm curious how close they've translated to your finish times.

  28. When I trained for my marathon I did the Yasso 800's. I didn't try for the time I was running the 800's in because my goal was to qualify and so I ran conservatively. I often wonder if I could have done a 3:35 marathon because of the Yasso predictor.

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