Speed work isn’t typically recommended in marathon training for first timers. However, I’ve been doing speed work regularly for over ten years so I feel comfortable doing a few light and easy speed workouts. In my off-season training, I did a few Yasso 800s for practice. I had heard of them before but never tried them or really understood what they were until just recently.
The basic idea behind the work out is to run 800 meters in your goal marathon time listed out in minutes and seconds as opposed to listed in hours and minutes. So, if you want to run a 3 hour marathon, you should be doing the 800 meter repeats in three minutes. I want to finish in roughly 4 hours and 45 minutes so I do my repeats in 4 minutes and 45 seconds. The theory states that if you can do 10 repeats of 800 meters at this pace, then you should be able to finish your marathon in your desired pace. To work up to 10 repeats, add one more 800 repeat each week or every other week until you can do ten repeats at goal pace. You should try to reach ten repeats 2 weeks or so prior to the marathon.
Today I ran a 1 mile warm up at a conversational pace, ran three 800 meter repeats with full rest in between each, and cooled down with a half mile easy jog and a half mile walk. My first 800 meter repeat was at 4:45 so right on track. The second was a little slower (4:55) and the third repeat was a little faster in 4:42. My hip is not feeling 100% today so I did some dynamic stretching and foam rolling. Tomorrow is a rest day then back at it on Thursday!