Yasso’s

I don’t know if it was coming off the easy week or the moderate carb-loading, but whatever it was, I’ll take it.  I decided to forgo the proscribed 7-mile tempo run on my schedule today for 7 miles of Yasso 800’s.  For the uninitiated, Yasso’s are named for Bart Yasso and consist of 1/2 mile repeats followed by recovery jogs of equal duration.  I got in 6 at an 8:20 mile pace and felt significantly better than I have after any of my previous tempo or interval days.  I’m thrilled, as I really was getting desperate for a confidence-booster.

I managed to invent Yasso’s for myself last year while training for a half marathon and trying to find some speedwork that would actually make me speedier.  I had spent two years doing Hal Higdon’s 400 repeats and loving them, but I eventually realized that they weren’t actually working for me.  I’m a natural sprinter, not a distance runner, and ran I 400’s on the track team growing up.  Doing 1:50 400 repeats, while fun, felt more like a lazy track workout to me than an endurance run, and they didn’t seem to be improving my overall speed at all.  Turnover has never been a problem for me, it’s really a question of aerobic capacity.

I started experimenting and found that 1/2-mile intervals proved much more of a challenge, and I started doing them weekly.  I saw my times improving rapidly, both in the intervals and in tempo runs.  My marathon training schedule does include longer interval days, but only in the form of mile repeats.  After struggling through them week after week, I finally decided to do what I should have done long ago, and ditched them for what worked for me before.  I’ll still probably bring back longer intervals as I get closer to race day, but for now I’m happy to have my 800’s back.

I made sure to eat extra carbs today before my run and to eat enough so that I wasn’t hungry starting the workout.  It made a huge difference in my energy, so hopefully that’s one problem solved.  Common sense prevails again!

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