Monday, July 6, 2009

Breaking 2-Minutes

Here's an excerpt from this article that talks about training for the 800m.  

Best 800m = (400m + 6seconds) x 2
This seems to apply to the distance type runner quite well. The high school sprinter-type appears to lack the necessary strength to fufill this predictability equation.

This essentially breaks down the race into two components:  the all out 400m time (speed component) and the 'added factor' or (strength component).  Obviously, the more of an endurance trained runner you are, (800m/1500m type) the better you'll do w/ the strength component compared to the guy who is more speed oriented (400m/800m type)

While it's probably better to view this 'added factor' more in terms of percentage of 400m time (as opposed to an absolute number), 6-seconds is a good target for a time around 2-minutes (54 + 6) x 2 as this would correspond to about an 11% slow down vs 400m time.

Looking at many of the Masters 800m runners - this 'factor' varies from +9%, which would be excellent to +25%, which is obviously very poor and indicates that those guys are really 400m runners who just decided to do an 800m for the hell of it.  

Being that I don't have an exact 400m race time at this point, I can't say for sure where I'm at, but all indications are that I've got some work to do to get down to 6-seconds.  On the bright side, I believe my 400m speed is pretty close to the 54 target.  

While I'll never be an 'endurance' or 'strength' type of runner, I believe if I continue to work aggressively on this side that I can eventually get this 'factor' down into the +10-12% range.  And of course, if I can get my 400m time under 54, it will make things that much easier on the strength side of the equation.  

Consequently, to give myself the best chance to get to 2-minutes, I'm going to need to work hard on both speed and strength - so this training plan will have several components that work on each.  Although there is obviously some crossover benefit to certain components, this roughly divides the training into the separate compartments:

Speed:  plyometrics, box jumps, hill repeats, Rep/short interval training (mile race pace work down to 600m race pace work), power-lifting, sprint work (400m race pace work on down), lactate tolerance training 

Strength:  weekly mileage, long runs, steady runs, tempo runs, cruise intervals (5k pace work), long intervals (3k pace work), lactate tolerance training  (this training helps everything)

Each of these components will have their time and place where they'll be a point of focus, and the overall mix will follow a progression throughout the year.  The bottom line is that if I'm going to hit the target, I'm going to need to have the speed to run an all out 400m in the 53.5 - 53.8 range, and the endurance/strength to be able to hold close to 90% of that speed for the full half mile.  

This sure as hell isn't going to be easy - I'm going to need to make improvements in all areas, and I'm also going to have to work more on things like core strength, flexibility, etc in order to be able to train at the required intensities when that time comes to bring it all together.  At the very least, the journey should be interesting, and if (knock on wood) I can avoid any major set backs I should be able to make a pretty good run at this thing.


Michael said...

I'm looking forward to the journey, all the best at getting under 2'... or at least having fun!

Ewen said...

You've got a great chance. The speed's close to being there, so a little improvement at that end, plus slightly more on the endurance side and you'll do it.


you've got the determination and drive to achieve your goal and as Ewen says your almost there!

Mike said...

Thanks a lot guys for the kind words.

As is usually the case - the key I think will be staying healthy. This is one of the main reasons I decided to take this time off now - I need to get back to 100% and go from there. Hopefully all the new core work w/ the swiss ball, plank exercises, and BOSU will help.

At the very least I'll enjoy the challenge of the tough training regimen, and w/ a little luck I may be toeing the line at the US Masters 800m Final next year!

bricey said...


I don't think 'luck' will have anything to do with it just lots of hard (but fun) work!!!


Grellan said...

The planning is always the best part and a great motivator. I look forward to seeing your progression.

bricey said...


I hope you're enjoying the break... when's the new cycle starting?


Thomas said...

You're definitely right about one thing - this won't be easy! Good luck, that's a great, ambitious target you've got there!

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