The 800 meter run is a versatile distance. An 800m sprint occurs as a track and field event, but is also popular for both short and long distance runners. Training intervals that are 800 meters in length are sometimes called Yasso 800s in distance running, or sprints in track.
Whether you’re training for your first track meet or simply want to take advantage of this interval during training, here are a few things to know about an 800 meter urn.
What is an 800 meter run in miles?
The distance of 800 meters is equivalent to ½ mile (or 0.497 miles, to be exact). It is short enough to still be considered a sprint in some events, but long enough that it is a significant physical challenge to maintain a sprint effort for its duration.
How long is 800 meters on the track?
Perhaps the easiest and most straightforward way to run 800 meters is to do so on the track. 800m is exactly 2 laps of the track.
What is a good 800 meter sprint time?
Determining what a good 800 meter sprint time is can be a bit tricky. Since it is half a mile, some runners mistakenly assume that they should complete their 800m in about half of their mile pace. However, to correctly run an 800m interval, you should push faster than your typical mile pace.
In distance running, 800 meter intervals are completed at nearly a minute per mile (or greater) faster running pace than the mile. Marathon training calls these “Yasso 800s”, and they are often completed in minutes and seconds as fast as predicted marathon finish time in hours and minutes. For example, with a goal marathon time of 4 hours and 30 minutes, runners aim to complete Yasso 800s in 4 minutes and 30 seconds.
In short distance running events like those in track, 800 meter sprints are completed even faster. An average varsity time for 800m in track is anywhere between 2:20 to 2:50. However, many runners still finish 800 meters in upwards of 4 and 5 minutes.
5 Tips to Run the 800m in Track
The 800 in track is considered a challenging event. It requires intense physical fitness combined with more endurance than a shorter sprint. However, if you’re up for the task, an 800 meter run is a great way to quickly improve your fitness and endurance for any running event. Here are 5 tips for running 800m in track.
Pace yourself evenly
While it may appear to be a “short” distance, an 800 meter run can be deceivingly long. A common mistake new runners make is to go out too fast and then lose steam by the end. While the 800m is still technically a ‘sprint’, it is wise to head out a bit conservatively.
Pacing yourself from the beginning might feel like a mistake if other runners zoom by you, but you’ll be able to pick up the pace and pass them easily at the end.
Keep up the pace through the finish line
Another common mistake during the 800 meter run in track is to slow down too soon. It is tempting to let the relief of seeing the finish line take over and unintentionally slow down; however, this is a great opportunity to do some final passing.
Keep up your pace all the way through the finish line. And if you’re going to make any adjustments as the finish line approaches – pick up the pace.
Check your 400 meter time
There should be at least one check in point during the 800m sprint, if not more. At the end of the first lap, make a point of checking your time and making any adjustments that are necessary.
If paced correctly, the 400m time should be about half of your goal time. Many runners use this as an opportunity to pick up the pace slightly and give it their all for the final lap.
Don’t be afraid to pass
One of the most intimidating parts about running the 800 in track is passing. With two full laps built into the race, there is bound to be some passing that occurs.
Don’t be afraid to pass other runners – even earlier on. Pace yourself evenly and feel free to run past anyone who is running slower than you.
Stay focused on your own run
Another intimidating part about track is being able to see how your pace compares to that of every other runner competing in the 800. It’s easy to get stuck in your head and give up if you are falling behind, even early on.
An 800 meter run is truly a mental game. It takes skill to really stay in your head and run your own race. Stick to your plan and give it your all regardless of where the other runners may be.
800 Meter Run Test
Another way the 800 meter distance is used in running is the 800 meter run test. This distance falls perfectly in between a short and long sprint, making it a great way to test overall physical fitness.
When completed as an 800m sprint, the distance can be considered anaerobic. On the other hand, it might be an aerobic test at a slower, tempo pace. To test your fitness with an 800 meter run, all you’ll need to do is complete the 800m in the shortest time possible.
Here are some standards for the 800 meter run test.
- Poor: more than 3:45
- Below Average: 3:31 – 3:45
- Average: 3:16 – 3:31
- Above Average: 3:01 – 3:16
- Good: 2:46 – 3:01
- Excellent: 2:45 or less
Completing an 800 meter run, whether in track, as a sprint or an interval during long distance training, is sure to provide both physical and mental benefits. This distance is a great way to improve physical fitness as well as mental strength for running.
Try including 800m in your training – whether you’re preparing for a short or long distance race. You won’t regret it!