Is a sub 1:40.00 800m possible?


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Is a sub 1:40.00 800m possible?

Postby AFTERBURNER » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:57 am

I'm not sure Rudisha can do it.

Your thoughts
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Re: Is a sub 1:40.00 800m possible?

Postby Marlow » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:01 am

Two sub-50 laps? Magic 8-Ball says, "Outlook Not So Good."
[. . . in the short term]
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Re: Is a sub 1:40.00 800m possible?

Postby portsea57 » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:57 am

Of course, it is!
However, it is going to be more difficult than it might seem!
I recall Ed Moses saying that Coe's 1min 41+ didn't seem that difficult.
Ed was probably thinking that, if could run 47 and bit over hurdles for 400m, then running two 50.5s back to back ( without the hurdles ) would be achievable.
And it does, sort of, make sense on face value but Ed never it.
Did he ever try, by the way?
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Re: Is a sub 1:40.00 800m possible?

Postby user4 » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:04 pm

portsea57 wrote:I recall Ed Moses saying that Coe's 1min 41+ didn't seem that difficult.
Ed was probably thinking that, if could run 47 and bit over hurdles for 400m,...


How surprising is it that a 400H WR holder would think that 141 cant be that difficut... imagine for a moment how many 44 second dash men thought to themselves that running a 47 over hurdles cant be that difficult. How many 100m men thought that running 13 seconds over the 110 hurdles cant be that difficult.

About Rudisha, one thing that makes his WRs so speical is that he does them all by himself. No pacers cutting the wind for him. The guy is a beast and I think he could be a 47 second 400Her if he gave it a go.
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Re: Is a sub 1:40.00 800m possible?

Postby aaronk » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:17 pm

As with any other WR....or barrier breaker.....the athlete has to....

1. WANT to run the time!
2. Have the speed at shorter distance to feel comfortable going fast 1st lap, or whatever.
3. Have PERFECT conditions......weather, pacer, track, health.

The most important/significant is #1, IMO.
For a 1:39.99 800, the athlete should be comfortable running about 44.5 to 44.9 for 400.
He must be able to run those times consistently, not as a one-off!
Once he feels comfortable running, say, 44.8, he could "cruise" through his 1st 400 in 48.0 to 48.5......preferably closer to 48.0!!
Then he'd have to have the strength to finish with a 51.9!!

Good Luck!!
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Re: Is a sub 1:40.00 800m possible?

Postby no one » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:51 pm

portsea57 wrote:I recall Ed Moses saying that Coe's 1min 41+ didn't seem that difficult.


If he was thinking back to back 50.5s, then back to back 20s = 40 should be equally easy, or back to back ... (fill in the blank): [double the half marathon WR and you get ... a new marathon WR that 'doesn't seem that difficult]. You'd think anyone with track experience, either participant or knowledgeable fan would know better.

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Re: Is a sub 1:40.00 800m possible?

Postby user4 » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:52 pm

aaronk wrote:As with any other WR....or barrier breaker.....the athlete has to....

1. WANT to run the time!
2. Have the speed at shorter distance to feel comfortable going fast 1st lap, or whatever.
3. Have PERFECT conditions......weather, pacer, track, health.

The most important/significant is #1, IMO.
For a 1:39.99 800, the athlete should be comfortable running about 44.5 to 44.9 for 400.
He must be able to run those times consistently, not as a one-off!
Once he feels comfortable running, say, 44.8, he could "cruise" through his 1st 400 in 48.0 to 48.5......preferably closer to 48.0!!
Then he'd have to have the strength to finish with a 51.9!!

Good Luck!!


I did the math... he does not have to be able to run a 44.X to do it, he just has to run the two contiguous quarters in an average time 50sec each. :D
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Re: Is a sub 1:40.00 800m possible?

Postby aaronk » Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:18 pm

user4 wrote:
aaronk wrote:As with any other WR....or barrier breaker.....the athlete has to....

1. WANT to run the time!
2. Have the speed at shorter distance to feel comfortable going fast 1st lap, or whatever.
3. Have PERFECT conditions......weather, pacer, track, health.

The most important/significant is #1, IMO.
For a 1:39.99 800, the athlete should be comfortable running about 44.5 to 44.9 for 400.
He must be able to run those times consistently, not as a one-off!
Once he feels comfortable running, say, 44.8, he could "cruise" through his 1st 400 in 48.0 to 48.5......preferably closer to 48.0!!
Then he'd have to have the strength to finish with a 51.9!!

Good Luck!!


I did the math... he does not have to be able to run a 44.X to do it, he just has to run the two contiguous quarters in an average time 50sec each. :D


I'm always challenged when I say a runner needs a fast shorter distance time to be able to run fast at the next longer distance (400-800, 800-1500, etc).
The reason I say that has much more to do with the PSYCHOLOGY rather than the PHYSICALITY of running.
Yes, it would be possible to run two 50.0's back to back (actually a 50.0 and a 49.99! :D ), without having run faster than, say 48 or 47 for an all-out 400.
But my premise is that trying to run two 50's back to back with "just" a 48 or 47.5 PR is more psychologically intimidating than if that person had a PR of 45 or 44.5.
If he had the faster PR, his passing the first lap in 49 or 48...or even, as you say, in 49.9 or 50.0.....would make it psychologically EASIER and LESS intimidating for the runner.

That's the MAIN reason I suggest the runner needs a fast shorter distance time.
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Re: Is a sub 1:40.00 800m possible?

Postby user4 » Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:26 pm

aaronk wrote:I'm always challenged when I say a runner needs a fast shorter distance time to be able to run fast at the next longer distance (400-800, 800-1500, etc)...
That's the MAIN reason I suggest the runner needs a fast shorter distance time.


Then how come a guy can run an elite race 10k with a final lap under 52sec ... The human energy systems are very complex.
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Re: Is a sub 1:40.00 800m possible?

Postby aaronk » Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:43 pm

user4 wrote:
aaronk wrote:I'm always challenged when I say a runner needs a fast shorter distance time to be able to run fast at the next longer distance (400-800, 800-1500, etc)...
That's the MAIN reason I suggest the runner needs a fast shorter distance time.


Then how come a guy can run an elite race 10k with a final lap under 52sec ... The human energy systems are very complex.


Interesting question!

I'm guessing because a "kick"....that 52 last lap or whatever.....is different than sustaining a WR pace through the whole distance!
Take an attempt to run a WR at 5K.
It would take around 60.5 average per lap.
If the guy runs steady 60.5's, and then STILL kicks a 52, I'd say he could run MUCH faster than 12:37!!
But what if he ran his laps in 59.5 to 61.0 steady? He'd probably finish with a 57 or 58...at best!!!.....not a 52 or 53!
The 52's and so on (50.89 the other day!!!!) of the Mo Farah's and the Galen Rupp's are run off of much slower than WR pace.
At those paces....."strategic" paces.......running a 52 or so is much easier than off a WR pace!

But yes, kicks are strange beasts!! :shock:
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Re: Is a sub 1:40.00 800m possible?

Postby lovetorun » Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:11 pm

Mo's last lap wasn't 50.89 inthe 5000m in Birmingham...I think it was determined in another post that he ran 53+.
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Re: Is a sub 1:40.00 800m possible?

Postby LopenUupunut » Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:15 pm

lovetorun wrote:Mo's last lap wasn't 50.89 inthe 5000m in Birmingham...I think it was determined in another post that he ran 53+.
Yes, but he ran 50.89 at the Euro Team Champs in Gateshead.
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Re: Is a sub 1:40.00 800m possible?

Postby lonewolf » Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:22 pm

I rank this right below the 10.00m LJ in difficulty.
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Re: Is a sub 1:40.00 800m possible?

Postby Master Po » Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:26 pm

Short answer: Yes.
Longer answer: Yes, but it seems really difficult & thus not likely any time soon.
Slightly longer answer: However, given the unpredictable nature of human performance, it could happen any time between this summer & sometime long after I'm dead (which I hope is quite some time past this summer). :)

What's needed? I dunno...it seems that someone needs to be either David Rudisha or pretty much like David Rudisha, but just .92 faster. It probably would be good if the person could run 44-high, but perhaps that isn't necessary. But it probably is necessary that he be close to that level -- e.g., 45-mid to 45-low. A review of the available 400m PBs for the sub-1:43 club is of course limited, but still suggestive. After all, these are the guys who have sailed most closely to the goal. Using data on all-athletics.com, slightly more than half of the 30 men in the sub-1:43 club have listed 400 times. As one moves through that list, from Rudisha's 1:40.91 to Patrick Konchellah's 1:42.98, there is a generally consistent trend of athletes with stated 400m PBs in the mid-45 to 46 range, moving down to a few at 47 at the lower end of this top 30 list. I know all the caveats of such data: Not much data in any case; these guys don't race 400m very much; it isn't their focus, so it doesn't show absolute potential, etc., etc. No need to rehearse all that. Nevertheless, it is actual data from actual elite 800m runners, & enough of it is in the 45-46 range to suggest the hypothetical sub-1:40 guy needs to be in the 45 range.

As for "absolute potential," I have rarely been persuaded by such assertions -- e.g., "if that elite guy really trained just for that other event, he would be able to do some incredible time...". Such speculations are least persuasive to me in the 400-800 discussions. There is a physiological (& probably psychological) parting of the ways between these two events. Moreover, the guys who actually can run 44.xx are generally in the top 20 in the world in the 400 (in the 12 years post MJ, 2001-2012, there have been ~19-20 +/- 2 per year @ 44.xx), so moving to the 800 is a major career change of an already elite to near-elite athlete, not to mention all the other risks and complications.

So, I think you're looking for a guy who can run 45-low or 45-mid (Rudisha has 45.50, & while I'm sure he could go faster, I'm unpersuaded by assertions that he would be much faster at 400 -- in any case, my suggestion is that he is fast enough); he also needs to be an aerobic & anaerobic beast; and he needs to have the psychology both to be a student of the event, & also the drive to go out & attack the distance, believing that sub-1:40 is actually possible. We have that guy right now, & he's .92 away from the goal. (& I can't imagine another like him coming along any time soon. But of course I never imagined him in the first place.)
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Re: Is a sub 1:40.00 800m possible?

Postby Vielleicht » Wed Jul 03, 2013 3:44 pm

Marlow wrote:Two sub-50 laps? Magic 8-Ball says, "Outlook Not So Good."
[. . . in the short term]

More like one sub-49 lap and one sub-51. I remember Kipketer said it's very difficult not to run 2 seconds slower in the 2nd lap no matter what the pace is.
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Re: Is a sub 1:40.00 800m possible?

Postby Dave » Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:36 am

Have we ever seen a world class 400 guy try to run two 50 sec 400s?
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Re: Is a sub 1:40.00 800m possible?

Postby Master Po » Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:07 am

Vielleicht wrote:
Marlow wrote:Two sub-50 laps? Magic 8-Ball says, "Outlook Not So Good."
[. . . in the short term]

More like one sub-49 lap and one sub-51. I remember Kipketer said it's very difficult not to run 2 seconds slower in the 2nd lap no matter what the pace is.


So, if I imagine 49.0 + 50.9 just to have a specific set of splits -- not arguing that it's the ideal formula -- I can look at that and say, "I think DR could do that." Not saying he will, but I think he could. Everything would have to be perfect. But he is the only athlete for whom I can even imagine it being ... imaginable. :D
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Re: Is a sub 1:40.00 800m possible?

Postby gh » Thu Jul 04, 2013 7:41 am

Dave wrote:Have we ever seen a world class 400 guy try to run two 50 sec 400s?


the Juantorena anomaly aside, methinks that whomever does do 1:39 will come from the 800/1500 school of running. (or alternately, even though it's hard to know who is such a thing, a 600/800 guy or a 800/1000 guy)
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Re: Is a sub 1:40.00 800m possible?

Postby Sasuke » Thu Jul 04, 2013 7:46 am

Nowadays the best 800 metres specialists are 400/800 types (Rudisha, Amos, Solomon but also Savinova, Jelimo and Semenya)... to run 1.39 you have to be very fast and not to waste your time running too many kilometers. In my opinion 44.high speed is necessary to run under 100 seconds.
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Re: Is a sub 1:40.00 800m possible?

Postby Fortius19 » Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:24 pm

Dave wrote:Have we ever seen a world class 400 guy try to run two 50 sec 400s?


I remember some years back in a USATF Nationals, Angelo Taylor ran a 400h (final?) and then less than 45 minutes later started a 400m (final?), but couldn't finish it.

Not exactly what you asked, but it made me think of him. :)
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Re: Is a sub 1:40.00 800m possible?

Postby pickle47 » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:01 pm

gh wrote:
Dave wrote:Have we ever seen a world class 400 guy try to run two 50 sec 400s?


the Juantorena anomaly aside, methinks that whomever does do 1:39 will come from the 800/1500 school of running. (or alternately, even though it's hard to know who is such a thing, a 600/800 guy or a 800/1000 guy)


And where would you bucket Rudisha? Because he's def not an 800/1500 guy. It's easy to armchair a sub 45 400 for him (with more training, etc.), but I don't know whether he gets much into the 44s, and Juanto was a low 44, well once anyway. Maybe Rudisha is a 600/1000 guy and his sweet spot is actually the 800. Wonder what an additional Rudisha 200 would look like?
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Re: Is a sub 1:40.00 800m possible?

Postby Peter Michaelson » Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:39 am

It would also help if the rabbit could go longer than 400m. Is Scherer or someone else willing and able to go out in 49 and keep going to 600m in, say, 1:14 low? You could even have 3 rabbits. One guy could take the first 200 and peel off, the next guy would be the rabbit to 400, and finally the rabbit to 600m. The rabbit to 400m might have to go out in under 48 to leave room for the 600m rabbit and Rudisha, assuming Rudisha is the chosen one for the record. This would have to be well choreographed, and perhaps even rehearsed like baton practice.

My impression is that runners are not as used to this sort of thing compared to cyclists. But if the money was right, you could get Scherer and Solomon and someone else and see what happens. Of course, purists would say it was a bullshit record precisely because of the rabitting.
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