Last Updated on October 2, 2022 by Andrew Pirie
What can I do to improve my 800m running time drastically?
One of the fastest ways to improve your 800 times is to improve your 400 times. My biggest breakthroughs in the 800 happen after running the 400 more and improving on my time.
My #1 recommendation would be to start running the 4×4 more. It doesn’t matter if you start on the JV team or B relay team; you will probably work your way to the A-team.
Based on your current 800 times, you are underperforming in the 400; simply running more 400s will improve your time.
A rule of thumb that Jack Daniels (running coach) taught me is that your 800 time is usually about 6 secs per lap slower than your 400. This is assuming that you’re more of a distance-oriented runner than a sprinter type 800 runner.
For example, my 400m PR is 48.5, which means that my 800 times should be 1:49-1:50, 2X(49+6)=1:50, which is pretty much spot on since my fastest 800 is 1:50.
With 1:09, your projected time should be 2:30, but you are significantly outperforming that. If you run the 400 more, you will see a drastic improvement, and that confidence you build running faster will directly translate into a faster 800 time. I am quite confident in this assessment.
Is it even possible to run 800m running in a minute?
I’ve been working on that for about a decade. The short answer is “not with the current technique.”
To run a 60 sec half a mile, you’d have to run 3 mph faster than the top speed of any human being and sustain it for a full minute. Take away some time lost during acceleration, and you’d really have to run 4–5mph faster than the fastest person’s top speed.
So to make that happen, we’d need to develop a new running technique that is at least 30% more efficient. And given the laws of physics, the only way to do that would be to use a technique that does not work on a pendulum-like motion in the legs.
The inertia of the leg moving backward at those speeds requires incredible stopping force to get it moving forwards to recover the stride.
That stopping force burns phosphagen energy which generally lasts only about 6 seconds in a human being before it is depleted. Glycogen can last almost a minute but not at those intensities.
So to get a runner to go 30mph for a minute we’d have to use a technique so efficient that glycogen stores would be sufficient.
So until someone figures out how to move the legs in circular motions like the hindquarters of a cheetah or a greyhound, we’re out of luck.
Andrew was elected Vice President of the Association of Track and Field Statisticians in 2020 after being a member for 7 years.
He has worked as a PSC Consultant and Research Assistant from 2013-2015, Consultant, and Sprint Coach at Zamboanga Sports Academy from 2015-2017. And Currently is Consultant Coach with VMUF 2021-
Current editor and chief of Pinoyathletics.info, and has recently done consultancy work for Ayala Corp evaluating the Track and Field Program.
Coaches Sprints, Middle and Jump events he is Level 3 Athletics Australia Coaching Certification in Sprints and Hurdles.
Currently working towards a Masters Degree in Education.
He can be contacted on [email protected]
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