800 meter training using interval combinations only


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800 meter training using interval combinations only

Postby spikey » Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:08 pm

I am well aware of the anaerobic and aerobic demands of the 800
and the approaches to training with respect to aerobic base building, intervals, tempo
sessions, hills etc etc etc. Hypothetically, say there is a runner with
very limited time to train. Would a short-to-long progam of
3-4 workouts a week of progressively longer intervals (all at race pace)
be more beneficial than using the same limited time to run distance.
Has any one known of sub 2 , sub 1:55 or sub 1:50 800 runners who
never did any mileage at all? I am sure there are those wishing to respond
with "why be so stupid?" or "why compete at all?" if time is so critical.
Granted what I've posed is certainly not ideal. Just something I've always
wondered about and am posting to experts in T&F. Thank you.
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Re: 800 meter training using interval combinations only

Postby Marlow » Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:56 pm

spikey wrote:I am well aware of the anaerobic and aerobic demands of the 800
and the approaches to training with respect to aerobic base building, intervals, tempo
sessions, hills etc etc etc. Hypothetically, say there is a runner with
very limited time to train. Would a short-to-long progam of
3-4 workouts a week of progressively longer intervals (all at race pace)
be more beneficial than using the same limited time to run distance.
Has any one known of sub 2 , sub 1:55 or sub 1:50 800 runners who
never did any mileage at all? I am sure there are those wishing to respond
with "why be so stupid?" or "why compete at all?" if time is so critical.
Granted what I've posed is certainly not ideal. Just something I've always
wondered about and am posting to experts in T&F. Thank you.

In HS it happens all the time. There are lots of sub-2 boys who train only as 400 runners, repeat 1200s being the farthest they ever run.
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Re: 800 meter training using interval combinations only

Postby 4:24-miler » Sat Sep 18, 2010 1:11 pm

I believe Maggie Vessey is a low mileage runner and she's a 1:57 half-miler. I don't know what her 400 m PR is but I know she ran something like a 53.x at an all-comers meet a few years ago.
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Re: 800 meter training using interval combinations only

Postby gm » Sat Sep 18, 2010 2:35 pm

In the '80s I coached a collegiate half-miler who ran 1:49.34 without ever running more than 600 meters. If the athlete has great speed for 400, it can certainly be done.
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Re: 800 meter training using interval combinations only

Postby kuha » Sat Sep 18, 2010 2:47 pm

gm wrote:In the '80s I coached a collegiate half-miler who ran 1:49.34 without ever running more than 600 meters. If the athlete has great speed for 400, it can certainly be done.


That's rather amazing. Do you think he could have been much faster with "normal" distance training, or was he a sprinter, pure and simple?
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Re: 800 meter training using interval combinations only

Postby 26mi235 » Sat Sep 18, 2010 3:17 pm

gm wrote:In the '80s I coached a collegiate half-miler who ran 1:49.34 without ever running more than 600 meters. If the athlete has great speed for 400, it can certainly be done.


Well, even I could go 1:49 for 600 meters :D
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Re: 800 meter training using interval combinations only

Postby doug5321 » Sat Sep 18, 2010 3:47 pm

ralph doubell the australian 800 meter record holder 1:44.3 in an article wrote this was his weekly training schedule.
monday 10 x 800, 400 jog
tuesday 50 x 100, 100 jog
wednesday 20 x 400, 200 jog
thusday 30 x 200, 200 jog
friday -off
saturday- time trial could be any distance between 300 meters and 2k
sunday- off

he only wanted to train 3 x a week, but his coach talked him into 4 with weekly time trial.
his australian 800 record is from the 1960's.
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Re: 800 meter training using interval combinations only

Postby spikey » Sat Sep 18, 2010 3:59 pm

Thanks for the responses. I imagine someone with the above example of 53 speed who never ran the 800 before could begin doing repeat 200's in 30s each. When able to do 8 with several minutes rest, they would slowly ramp up to doing 300's in 45s and then 400's in 60s. Without ever running any mileage other than these track workouts, such training would produce a 2min half miler.
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Re: 800 meter training using interval combinations only

Postby PCSExponent » Sat Sep 18, 2010 4:19 pm

Spikey, I'm a bit confused by what you mean with "53 speed". Is it someone who will eventually reach 53s/400m, or someone who can already run 53 for one lap? Because if the latter, the times you're suggesting for the work-out are very slow. Eight 200m repetitions in 30s with several minutes rest is piece of cake for a 53s runner. Just as an example, last time I trained for the 800, many a moon ago, I couldn't break 60s for the one lap let alone run sub 2, and one of the workouts in the beginning of the season was 10x200m at 31-32s with one minute jog in between (across the field back to the 200m start line).
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Re: 800 meter training using interval combinations only

Postby Dutra » Sat Sep 18, 2010 4:39 pm

Just want to point out that Doubell's schedule cramped a lot of mileage into the days he did train on even it was all interval work.
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Re: 800 meter training using interval combinations only

Postby gm » Sat Sep 18, 2010 6:12 pm

kuha wrote:
gm wrote:In the '80s I coached a collegiate half-miler who ran 1:49.34 without ever running more than 600 meters. If the athlete has great speed for 400, it can certainly be done.


That's rather amazing. Do you think he could have been much faster with "normal" distance training, or was he a sprinter, pure and simple?


He actually anchored our 4x1, so speed was definitely his forte. Someone asked him at a meet one time how many miles he ran every week... his response -- "Miles? I haven't run a mile in my life!"
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Re: 800 meter training using interval combinations only

Postby doug5321 » Sun Sep 19, 2010 2:22 am

also i had read roger bannister's training for the sub 4 minute mile was
monday-friday, 10 x 400 with 200 jog between each during his lunch break.
saturday, 3 x 1 1/2 miles with 400 jog.

he followed this schedules for months he ran his 400 in 66-67 the first month and dropped them about 1 second a month, he was running his 400's in 56-58 when he got in peak shape.

that comes out to 17 miles of running, 23-24 if you count the jog rest's.
dont know about warmups and cooldown distance, but the whole workout would be 30 minutes to an hour. i read he did not go over an hour as at that time it was considered unsportsmanlike to train too much, i read that, i am not kidding.
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Re: 800 meter training using interval combinations only

Postby Halfmiler2 » Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:33 am

He was never quite down to the level talked about here, but whenever there is a discussion about low-mileage half milers, OG bronze medalist Rick Wohlhuter comes to mind. I think he has indicated that he never used to top fifty miles a week and only went long once a week. His training was basically interval-focused with much nasty quality work and short recovery on the track.

I've never seem anything about Alberto Juantorena's training and would be curious to find out about it.
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Re: 800 meter training using interval combinations only

Postby 7-sided » Mon Sep 20, 2010 8:16 am

Halfmiler2 wrote:He was never quite down to the level talked about here, but whenever there is a discussion about low-mileage half milers, OG bronze medalist Rick Wohlhuter comes to mind. I think he has indicated that he never used to top fifty miles a week and only went long once a week. His training was basically interval-focused with much nasty quality work and short recovery on the track.

I've never seem anything about Alberto Juantorena's training and would be curious to find out about it.


http://www.athleticscoaching.ca/UserFil ... Runner.pdf
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Re: 800 meter training using interval combinations only

Postby catson52 » Mon Sep 20, 2010 12:45 pm

Background for the best runners seems to vary widely. This is illustrated by the training of two of my candidates for all-time great in this event. Rudolf Harbig, apparently came up using interval training devised (or refined) by Gerschler, and I would imagine few very long runs were involved. Obviously high quality stuff for the "intervals". Peter Snell built up strength with runs over 20 miles quite often - Waikatere (sp?) Range and marathons. His tremendous acceleration - as seen in the Tokyo 800m final - was unbelievable for someone of his weight/musculature.
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Re: 800 meter training using interval combinations only

Postby spikey » Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:24 pm

Interesting to hear about Juantorena. I wonder if Lydiard would say had he been told that. Would he insist that Juantorena never did reach his full potential because he didn't do huge mileage in a "base phase" and beyond?
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Re: 800 meter training using interval combinations only

Postby Halfmiler2 » Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:07 am

But with huge mileage, he probably would not have been as effective in the 400 meters. So it depends on what kind of potential you are talking about. A 400/800 guy is very different than an 800/1500 guy.
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Re: 800 meter training using interval combinations only

Postby spikey » Tue Sep 21, 2010 8:23 am

Which brings us back to the age old question about the US 800. Where are all the US 800 meter runners given the depth of 400 ? Are they being scared away by coaches promising great times if only they do high mileage? Maybe these sub 45 guys should be offered a program as Juantorena did in the link provided earlier in this thread.
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Re: 800 meter training using interval combinations only

Postby lonewolf » Tue Sep 21, 2010 8:48 am

This is not 800 lore but Thane Baker, a pretty fair country sprinter, says he never did any long runs beyond brief warm up before sprinting. When he ran, he ran. Lots of sprint workouts, all at 90-95 % effort.
Worked for him. He was faster than me in 1950-52 and, although I did some pretty serious training as I entered Masters competition in 1971-71, he was still faster than me. :x :? :)
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Re: 800 meter training using interval combinations only

Postby 4:24-miler » Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:37 am

spikey wrote:Which brings us back to the age old question about the US 800. Where are all the US 800 meter runners given the depth of 400 ? Are they being scared away by coaches promising great times if only they do high mileage? Maybe these sub 45 guys should be offered a program as Juantorena did in the link provided earlier in this thread.

How much is this the American sprinters' mindset? I suspect that most American 400 meter men view the 800 as a "distance" event and want nothing to do with it.
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Re: 800 meter training using interval combinations only

Postby doug5321 » Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:54 pm

4:24-miler wrote:
spikey wrote:Which brings us back to the age old question about the US 800. Where are all the US 800 meter runners given the depth of 400 ? Are they being scared away by coaches promising great times if only they do high mileage? Maybe these sub 45 guys should be offered a program as Juantorena did in the link provided earlier in this thread.

How much is this the American sprinters' mindset? I suspect that most American 400 meter men view the 800 as a "distance" event and want nothing to do with it.



lagerald betters said in a article a couple of months ago, next year he wants to run a fast 800.
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Re: 800 meter training using interval combinations only

Postby spikey » Thu Aug 25, 2011 3:44 pm

Sorry to revisit this topic but it came up again
at a recent summer meet.
For an event that is over in under 2 minutes,
wouldn't it make sense for any age runner to skip
the moderate and long distance sessions and replace them
with repeat 800m, 1000m, 1200m, mile intervals at 3k or 5k pace?.
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Re: 800 meter training using interval combinations only

Postby 4hurdles » Fri Aug 26, 2011 2:08 am

Coach the athlete, not the event.

The 800 athlete, maybe more than any other event, can be coached through a variety of methods.

Maximize the athlete's strengths, work to eliminate the athlete's weaknesses over time.

As for the original question of how to train when time is limited; I would argue that track workouts take longer than going for distance runs. Warm up, reps, rest, cool down often takes longer than going out the door for 60 minutes of continuous running. And during that 60 minute run you can do quasi "track work" by simply doing fartlek style work.
Ex 15 min warm up easy, then 10 x 1 min hard , 2 min easy, 15 min cool down easy. As opposed to a formal 10x 400 with 200 jog session.
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