What is the Yasso test or Bart Yasso’s 800 meters

“The Yasso Test” is a well-known term among marathon runners, the mention of which gives many a nervous twitch. What kind of training is it, why is it so popular, why is it good and why is it scary, says Ekaterina Preobrazhenskaya, head trainer of the Marathonica running school.

What is the Yasso test

Bart Jasso, employee of the American Runner’s World, a fast marathon runner who has run 42.2 km on all continents, has developed his own methodology to prepare for this distance. Its essence boils down to running 800-meter intervals at a fast pace. A few months before the marathon, Yasso’s first training session was completed – 4-5 800 meter segments in as many minutes and seconds as the hours and minutes to run the marathon.

For example, if the desired time for 42.2 km is 3 hours and 10 minutes, the 800 meter race should take 3 minutes 10 seconds. Then every week you need to add an interval and gradually bring their number to ten. 10 times 800m is done about two weeks before the marathon – this is the “Jasso test”: the time of the slowest interval is equal to the time of the marathon, converted into hours and minutes.

“I’ve been using this technique for over 15 years and it hasn’t let me down. If I run 800 meters in 2 minutes 50 seconds, then I’m ready for a marathon in 2 hours 50 minutes, if I run in 2 minutes 40 seconds, I’m ready for a marathon in 2 hours 40 minutes,” Yasso told him. -even to his colleague.

What is the Yasso test or Bart Yasso's 800 meters
Source: runnersworld.com

How to take the test

The exercise protocol is as follows:

  1. 15 minute warm up (aerobic run)
  2. 800 meters in the desired marathon time (but in minutes and seconds)
  3. Rest while walking or jogging – as long as the interval itself
  4. Starting with 4-5 reps, add one per week, build to ten.
  5. Hitching 5 minutes.

Because this workout magically promises to predict marathon performance, and often the numbers are very close, it has grown in popularity. Moreover, such intervals, to put it mildly, are not the most pleasant, especially if there are 10 of them, it is often a “nausea run”. Therefore, it evokes a lot of emotions.

Pay attention to an important point: there is no scientific basis in the methodology and the Yasso test. In fact, these are just Barth’s observations, an empirically identified pattern. But the presence of a correlation between two units does not confirm their causal relationship. If this test works for fast runners, like Yasso himself, that doesn’t mean it’s equally good for others.

How effective is this technique?

If we disassemble the essence of 10×800 training at a fast pace, then it is aimed at developing VO2max, that is, the maximum oxygen consumption per unit time. However, for a marathon runner, endurance, running economy, development of the aerobic zone and the ability to use fat for energy are extremely important.

These indicators are worked out by other types of training, and the MPC can be trained in other ways (shorter accelerations, hill running, etc.). Therefore, the advisability of devoting one training day per week to the Yasso method for one and a half to two months is an open question. For example, in terms of physiology, a 30k long run with second half progression (with the second half at or slightly above target pace) is a much more useful workout in preparation for a marathon.

Read more: How to build endurance while running

At the same time, “Yasso” remains a popular workout among marathon runners. If you want to use this system in preparation, you must take into account a few points:

  1. Practice shows that you have to add five minutes to the result obtained: usually for runners who are not as fast as Bart, the result has such an error.
  2. If the target time for a marathon is, for example, 4 hours, the rest between intervals should be reduced, 4 minutes is too long and the whole workout will take a very long time.
  3. Do not do these workouts too often: the system “the more, the better” does not work here. The idea of ​​running two Yassos in a week will not lead to an increase in form, but to fatigue and the risk of overtraining. Remember the rule of dominating aerobic running in training.

In conclusion, I would like to note that you should not rely solely on this method to prepare for the desired goal. The process of preparing for a marathon should be varied and balanced, including many types of training, weighted across the days of the training plan.

Read more: Conconi test: what it is and how to do it