800m training???

anybody here able to give me some tips how to start it out (I know it ain´t a sprint, but U guys seem to be very knowledgeable bout Your stuff). I would like to know how to start working out for it on the track. And what type of weight training is usually don´t short distance (i call it that way, cos it´s ridiculous calling it mid-distance) :wink: .

Good place to look at is Training Distance Runners by Peter Coe and David Martin

Seb ran a 46sec 400 in a relay (I believe) and have been told he was pretty handy over 5km

It depends first (I think) on the type of athlete you are. More fast twitch or slow twitch. This plays a factor on how you will approach from top or bottom up.

Assuming the athlete is fast twitch, is there a place for any AT training or traditional long continuous runs in the training for this type athlete? Does special endurance and tempo cover all the bases? I’d like to hear members thoughts on this

I would say that nothing magical happens at AT. The lactate threshold can be improved through a variety of training paces. Most likely the faster the pace, the more lactate that is generated. The more lactate that is generated, the better the lactate threshold.

However, this type of training does need to be balanced with aerobic training. This is where continuous runs have their purpose.

It is not uncommon for elite 800m runners to run in excess of 50mpw especially in the base period. Even Coe had several weeks of 70mpw.

Another question along these lines…

Any advice on how to integrate speed sessions into training for middle distance events?

For an example lets consider Coe’s multiple pace workout format:

Day 1 4x1500m @ 5k pace
Day 2 Recovery
Day 3 8x800m @ 3k pace
Day 4 Recovery
Day 5 16x200m @ 1500m pace
Day 6 Recovery
Day 7 OFF
Day 8 4x400 @ 800m pace
Day 9 Recovery
Day 10 2 sets of 300, 200, 100 @ 400m pace
Day 11 Recovery
Day 12 Race

I have been trying to do speed sessions once per week as a means of improving speed reserve.

Any thoughts on what days to do this work?

Does the volume of speed work or the volume of the rest of the session need to be adjusted to accomodate fatigue?

Or since speed would primarily CNS fatigue does this have any affect on the rest of the session?

I haven’t tried doing speed on recovery days since would not allow recovery plus muscle tension is not ideal after a hard session on the previous day.

Also, I have tried to do the speed session on days 1 and 8 assuming that I would be the least fatigued therefore maximizing speed potential, but I have found that with a day off or coming off a recovery type day that my legs don’t seem to be ready for speed either.

Obviously if I want speed to be trained this would have to be done in the beginning of the workout…

RE: Anaerobic Threshold
Some people swear by it, some don’t. I know a lot of pure distance guys who swear that it helps a lot on the last half of a 5k, but an 800m obviously is not a 5k. However, personally as a 400/800 guy, i think it is best as a diagnostic tool. My coach in high school used AT runs as a way of measuring (in addition to other methods) how each runner improved with different workouts and allow him to adjust the workouts accordingly. I have never felt that AT runs themselves really help on run the 800.

RE: incorporating speed into a coe-like program

What i currently do is about 1 speed workout for every 2-4 other workouts (speed endurance etc). Personally, longer intervals (>1000m) have never really helped me that much. So i would exchange the longer interval workouts for a speed day. The problem that comes up when deciding where to put speed is one’s background. I spent three years in high school as a pseudo distance runner (800/1600/400) and ran XC. I shifted more to a 800/400 focus my senior year, when my coach saw me improve my strength over the preseason. I feel that i need more speed because of my distance heritage. Someone from a sprinter background might need less speed and more endurance work. What do other people do about adding speed to an 800m guy?

RE: weights for 800m

I personally like a program similar to most shorter sprinters. (O lifts, squats etc) I just watch volume and intensity i bit more. I usually do my upperbody weights on workout days and lowerbody work on the opposite days (when i do distance runs or fartleks).


“An 800m runner is a sprint who is a masochist” -Anonymous

Something focussing on longer events:


For a 4/8 runner would 2 special endurance sessions/week be acceptable, along with 1 max velocity? If so would the progression be to move short to long? What about intensive tempo? (10x200 w/ 1-2min rec)? Does this have any value for a 4/8 athlete? Sorry about the shotgun approach to the questions.

Peter Coes book

Sebastians Coes father and trainer. Enough said.

A visit to the Frank Horwill archive would be beneficial. To understand Horwill is to understand Peter Coe.


To go back to the question on ventilary threshold (AT) I dont think it has a place in the 800 because it is not an area that is stressed in the 800. If you were a miler running the 8, that is a different story.

How do you all feel about easy days? I know many try to get in 6 miles easy running in between speed days to get in the “volume”. How about letting those be real recovery days and save a Sunday to be a longer aerobic day (10-12) to get the real training effect of aerobic training. Any thoughts?

Altnernate weeks that focus on speed with weeks that focus on high end aerobic running. On speed weeks, don’t worry so much about the weekly mileage. On alternate weeks, try to gradually up your weekly volume.

I’ve read extensively both Peter Coe and Horwill and respect their views. At present time I’m two athletes who run 1:52-1:53. Neither athlete seems to respond to volume based workouts very well. This fall we focused primarily on increasing 400 speed along with a moderate amount of mileage(25-30 mpw). In addition to one max Vel session, we did two special end. sessions. I’m getting a little paranoid about avoiding traditional middle distance workouts.Both athletes seem to be responding well to the training protocol. I’d like to hear some of your views on this subject. I respect the collective knowledge of this forum immensely—as well as Peter Coe.

correction — I’m coaching two athletes. If I were two athletes, I should be a little paranoid!

How about going 2-2-2 for the easy 6 mile day?

2 miles easy
2 miles of Charlies tempo
2 miles easy

Might be more specific for 800m runners

That’s certainly one way to do it. Not to be a homer but I like Charlie’s idea of having 800 runners run tempo volumes up to 4000m per session just as the 400 guys run up to 3000m per session. I just don’t see the need for significant volumes, if any, of continuous aerobic work for 800 runners. When you are talking 1600/mile, from what I have observed with mine and other’s athletes, the volume has to ramp up quite a bit though not to mega volumes-at least for h.s. runners. I’ve always treated them as long sprinters though certainly all 800 runners don’t fall neatly within this category.

When I posed the question earlier about the in between days, I dont see the need for running 6 miles each time. For one, you dont get the recovery as you would through tempo as Pioneer states, as well as it is not in the aerobic capacity zone enough to get an effect. (although it does over longer periods of time). I am curious though about throwing in a longer run once every 10 days. (If it fits the 800m type)

Do people agree then that a 400/800 runner would be better suited to do tempo runs of a higher volume (4000m or so) instead of mileage for the sake of mileage. What would speed workouts consist of? Would you do longer special endurance runs above race pace? What would be the ratio of speed work to speed endurance to special endurance?