Training 800 Meter Runners

Training 800-Meter Runners
presented by William Wuyke at the NACACTFCA Congress, Aruba, October 2008

The original presentation can be found here.

The 800-Meters

To be a successful runner you must have:

  • Genetics
  • Training/Discipline
  • Coach with knowledge
  • Desire to win and competitive personality

800 meters David Rudisha, Kaki, Aman at London 2012 Olympics


  • Aerobic Running: running at a pace in which no oxygen debt is accumulated
  • Maximum VO2: it is a measurement of the maximum rate at which an individual can utilize oxygen for energy production.
  • Anaerobic Training: Running at speed in which an oxygen debt is progressively accumulated.
  • Anaerobic threshold training: the point where the body shifts from aerobic to anaerobic work. 168 bpm. (4 mmol lactate/dl)
  • Tempo Run: Steady run of at least 20 min at a pace runner can handle for an hour but not longer
  • Hill Training: Keypart of a phase of training. Prepares runner for the transition to true speed training. It also replaces the long slow distance base approach to training.
    To get fast you need power. Hills alone will make you strong not fast (speed-strength)
  • Fartlek: runs at varying speeds in different terrain, preferably.
  • Repetition Running: The main objective is to develop the aerobic and anaerobic capacity of a runner. Usually Can be divide in short, medium and long distance. The relationship of intensity depend of recuperation.
  • Interval Running: (the key is recuperation) normally 150-800 meters repetitions with varied rest. Heart rate ~120-160.
  • Anaerobic Endurance or Speed Endurance: The ability to tolerate fatigue and maintain both pace and form while running at near maximum intensity for relatively short distance.
    Example: Repeat 300- 400 m training at pace to develop speed
  • Circuit Training: variety of exercises with weights/no weights
  • Weight Training: exercise using machines and free weights. Apply the intensity in relationship with the training period correspondent.


  • Muscle fiber proportions
    • Fast twitch fibers
      – Basic speed capacity
      – Lactate tolerance ability
    • Slow Fibers
      – VO2 Max
      – Ability to hold pace
    • Intermediate fibers
      – Best ability to respond to varying types of training
  • Muscle fiber Characteristics
  • Tolerance to training
  • Recovery capacity
  • High motivation

Keys to Running 800 meters Fast

  • Great ability to Produce Energy during the duration of the 800-m
  • Great ability to Run Economically (getting most speed for energy produced in body)
  • Ability to Tolerate Discomfort of running hard
  • Great strategy to Maximize Abilities.
  • Great Training.
  • No injuries!

Metabolic Aspects of 800 meters

  • Anaerobic than Aerobic
    – Must have anaerobic power for speed
    – Must have aerobic power to race all 800m
  • Requires optimal Balance of Anaerobic/Aerobic training… More than any race distance!
  • Must be able to produce Maximal Energy
    – Maximal ability to use glycolysis and Krebs cycle
    – Maximal ability to circulate blood and deliver oxygen to muscles

Role of lactate in 800-m

  • Lactate ALLOWS for continued energy production at a high rate
  • Lactate level represents “borrowed” energy for running fast
  • Finish the race with as HIGH a lactate level as possible (pay back the debt on the awards stand)


  • Coaching Expertise
  • Training Facilities
  • Life Style Discipline
    – Nutrition
    – Rest/sleep
    – Bad habits

Four Phases of Training

  • Adaptation/ Introduction
  • Basic Preparation/General and special
  • Specific preparation/pre and competitive Competition
  • Transitory

Basic Preparation

  • Long Distance/continuos running
  • Running techniques
  • Circuit training
  • Weight training
  • Fartlek
  • Long repetitions
  • Extensive intervals

Sample Workout

  • Warm up
    – Drills
    – Stretching
    – Strides
  • Main Workout
    – Intervals
    – Repetitions
    – Speed
    – Hills
    – Etc…
  • Cool down
    – stretch

Specific Training

  • Anaerobic Workouts
  • Intervals
  • Repetition
  • Weight Training
  • Hills
  • Time on the track
    – Pace judgment
    – Aggressive around the corners


– 40 Minute AM run
– Drills and Stretch
– 100 Strides
– Stretch
– 30 min Fartlek
– Drills and Stretch
– 100 Strides
– Stretch

– 5 x 1 mile jog
– 6×80 strides
– Circuit training.
– Cool down and stretch

– 40 min run AM aerobic workout
– 30 min cross country
– Drills and stretch
– 10×100 strides

– 40 min run Drills
– 2 x 8 x 100 strides
– Circuit Training
– Stretch

– 15 min run
– Drills and stretch
– Strides
– 1 mile – 1200 – 1000- 800 – 600 – 400
– 10 min cool down
– Stretch

– 45 min run
– 10 x 100 strides
– Circuit Training
– Stretch

– Off


  • Anaerobic training
    – Faster repetitions
  • Speed Workout
  • Weight training

Morning workout
– 30 Minute AM run
– Drills and strides
– Circuit Training
– Stretch

2nd Practice
– Warmup
– Drills and Stretch
– 5 X 800 OR 5 X 600 and 200
– Strides
– Stretch

– 30 Min bike
– Weight Room
– Stretch

– Warm Up
– 9 X 300
– Strides
– Cool Down
– 3 X 40 X 10 (Sit-up/Pushup)
– Stretch

Morning workout
– 40 Min pool or bike
– Stretch

2nd Practice
– 20 Minute warm-up
– Weight room
– (Sit-up/Pushup)
– Cool Down

Morning workout
– 30 Min Run
– 10×100 Strides
– (Sit-up/Pushup)
– Strides

2nd Practice
– Warm up
– Ladder
– Cool Down
– Stretch

– Warm Up
– Drills
– Stretch
– 12 X 200
– 10 min cool down
– stretch

– Off

Competition Workout

– 1 X 600
– 1 X 300
– 1 X 150
– 4 X 400 X 200
– 6 X 150 X 50

Jimson Lee

Jimson Lee

Coach & Founder at
I am a Masters Athlete and Coach currently based in London UK. My other projects include the Bud Winter Foundation, writer for the IAAF New Studies in Athletics Journal (NSA) and a member of the Track & Field Writers of America.
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee
  • Hello

    This is the first website I have ever seen that actually tells it as it is. The 800 meter run is rather unique and I have been trying to coach my daughter due to the complete neglect of any type of coaching at her school. I am not joking they only practice tue-thur and its normally consist of a couple of 200’s or 300’s maybe they might go all around the track once! Genetics are truly the only reason my daughter can run the 800 as well as she does. She ran regionals in Texas with a time of 2:23 with that kind of workout could you imagine if she had some real training behind her. I am a distant runner mainly and I am having so much trouble with the speed training and coming up with a good training program to help her. She is the perfect 800 runner she is muscular but very thin and is 5’11 almost 6 ft. I just need some help and if you know of anything or anyone who could help me please contact me at any help would be appreciated.

    Thank You

    Jana Adkins

  • Great program Mr Lee ,

    I coach 400 & 800 meter high shool athletes. I am in my 5th year and still learning the ropes so to speack. We are fortunate to be able to have a seperate performance group ( mostly upper classmen) who have performance indicators that allow for a more advanced and aggressive training routine. I just want to comment on two approaches that have worked well for our 800 meter types, and this applies to the anaerobic focus of their program.

    First, Once a week we do 3 sets (3x 400m) with three minutes recovery in between reps and full recovery inbetween sets. As the season progresses we will lower the target 400 times and decrease the recovery gradually. Our goal is to have the athletes run all their 400s by mid season under 58 seconds. We will adjust their anaerobic threshold by estimated VDOT and or heart rate after targeted recovery periods.

    Secondly, we have standing track law for the 800 meter runners. Regardless of the rep, set, distance, or day of the week – Their last 100 meters will be a dead sprint with a target of no greater than 14 seconds. They have nicknamed this as the Demolisher.

    I am always looking or improvements to our program and welcome feedback. Note: This again is for our elite upperclasmen types.

  • im a high schol student and i run the 800 meter. i want to run under 2:00 minutes and i wonder what should i do to reach that goal. last year i ran a 2:10. im a sophmore now. So what should I do to reduce my time?

    • Coach McDaniel, I would like to contact you by phone if possible. I am a collegiate 800m runner and the only runner in this event at my College. My Coach is a sprint coach. My Coach and I are seeking some advice for training and preparation from you. Thanks, Preston Bell email

  • Hello,
    I’m a 15 year old girl who runs the 400m and the 800m. My p.b is 2.16 and i ran this when i was fourteen, i’m now fifteen. I want to be able to run the perfect 800m and i want it to be under 2.14. I clearly am not strong enough to do that whole work out and pre race training as my body will simply not cope and i will burn out. I do train with a club but i also want to train by myself and feel that independant rush & i want to be able to train on my own and improve. it can be hard training by yourself but i want to try it becuase i think i have the mental determination and self motivation.
    if you could email me and let me know anything. that’s be great. is my email!
    Holla fellow runners.
    Con McMillan.

  • i want run a 800m in 2.00. what can i do for took this timing in 800m race. last time i finished my target 800m in 2.16s so what can i do.

  • Hi i am iranian.I am 800runner but i don’t have any a very good coach.I love to be best runner but i don’t have much money until i coutinue it.Could you help me?

    Thank You..

  • I am a Jr. in high school. Last yr I was 4th in the State of Va. single A with a time of 2:24 in the 800, but I have put on a little weight but I want to get to 2:10-15 can you plaese me?

    • Amanda,

      Yes, I would be glad to. I always make a point of first requesting that you must share this (initial) email with your parents. Only with their approval will I progress further. Ask them to send me their approval to communicate with you via email. Also all my emails will be sent to your email and one that they provide.

      I have a few questions that need to be answered first:

      1. What does your current 800 meter training regiment look like.

      2. How much over speed and over distance training do you incorporate into your training.

      2. What is your best 100, 200, 400 meter time. If you do not know, you will have to get them for me to do a meaningful evaluation to design a training regiment.

      3. What is the delta between your first and second 400 meter legs of the 800 meter.

      4. Are you a middle distance running type running in a 800 meter run, or would you characterize yourself as a sprinter type moving up to the 800 meter distance.

      If your parents approve, I need a video of a recent 800 meter race to evaluate your running mechanics. What I will be focusing on your first 100 meters, your mid race stride and gate.. I assume you are starting from a water fall start line. In this phase you are pure sprinter. An 800 meter start, if you want to be in the times you mentioned must have an explosive drive phase, followed by an aggressive acceleration phase. This is where over speed training comes in. Most young 800 meters runners can benefit by training with the sprinters verses training with the middle distance runners.

      The first, the very first empirical evaluation (actual time trials) that I need is four 400 meter times. All the 400 meter trials must be at full race pace and effort. This is not training it is an evaluation. Run 400 meters at race pace. Rest exactly 60 seconds, hands over your head, walking slowly, and breathing deeply. Make sure your timing your trials. Repeat until you have completed a total of four (4) 400 meter dahes. Send me the times.

      I will repeat the above request that you must involve your parents and I must have an email from them approving of your communicating via email, and all future communications will be addressed to them, regardless the sender or receiver, in all emails.

      I have one last comment. You must be dedicated, you must focus, and you must have passion in your training sessions. If you do not, you will not accomplish your goals.

      That is all for now.

  • Hello. I’m 28 and ran the 800m and 400m back in high school. One of my goals is to break 2m in the 800 because I never did in high school. What type of plan should I implement if I want to look at doing this in 6 months time period? My PB was a 2:04 split in the 4×800. I know I’ll have to drop some weight and be very strict on my nutrition, but where do I start as far as training?

    • Frank,

      Tens years out of high school and a goal of a sub 2:00 minute 800 meters. You are a beast at heart. Ok, focus on your base(endurance) first. You have approx 24 weeks before competing. Start at either 15 or 20 total miles per week (mpw) of road work and increase the mpw by 5 miles until you reach 50. Once you have reached this goal. Start incorporating a couple of 200 to 400 meter sprints every other mile. Return to your previous pace. In the last few weeks before you compete, put in 10 mile runs three days a week, but at near max effort, with a blinding finishing 400 for time.

      Endurance also applies to strength and speed. Focus in your case more on plyometrics in the very early weeks while your mpw is low. As the mpw increases, cut back (but do not eliminate) on your plyometric work outs. Speed endurance would take a chapter but the 50,000 foot view for you should be ladders at max effort 150, 250, 350 250, 150 , meters with a walking 100 meter rest in each distance. Repeat this twice. Around the 16th week the ladder should look like 250, 350, 450, 600, 450, 350, 250 at well over race pace. Two weeks before you compete, and twice a week you need to have one ladder that looks like 400, 400, 600, 600, 400, 400

      Over speed, keep it simple, find a down slope of at least 800 meters. You are working on turnover here with good ground strike. 200 meters at race pace, 200 meters at max speed. Repeat this 4 times twice a week beginning in the 10 week. Increase the distance by 50 meters a week until you have reach race distance.

      My athletes hate to hear the word Over Distance Day. Once a week, 1 Kilometer repeats, with one track cycle (walking briskly) in between. How long, for two hours. Key here is to keep all the times in a tight grouping for each Kilometer. At the beginning of your 24 weeks you want to run at just under race pace so as to keep all your laps the same pace time. Lap time the same, Kilometer times the same. Challenge your self to add a Kilometer within the same two hours every week or so. You will be amazed at how fast your times will drop.These repeats are mentally relaxing but physically challenging.

      This is a macro approach without knowing your current ability and times. Six months is an aggressive goal to go from ground zero. Be careful and gauge yourself and watch out for injuries early on. Try to find a local running club or sign up for the masters division of USAT&F.

      One last thing, have fun and Good Luck!!

      Coach JD

  • hola soy emanuel la verdad muy buena esta paguina yo soy corredor de 400 800 1500 5000 y hasta 10 kilometros en calle ahora me estoy enfocando en vajar mi tiempo y record en mi provincia con 1 54 los 800 metros antes que nada en vajar los 50 segundo en 400 metros y de hai vamos hir para arriva tratando de bajar todas mis marca los 5000 en 15 15 los 10 kilometros en 30 30 con un buen entrenamiento y dedicacion todo sale no hay nada que in ventar esta todo hecho e investigados los entrenamiento a que ser constante y vajaremos todos nuestros tiempos abrazo

    • Emanuel,

      I apologize, but I am not proficient in the Spanish Language. I have attempted to utilize an online Spanish to English Translator; however, much is lost in the translation. If you could have some one resend your comment to me directly in English I would greatly appreciate it.


      • Emanuel said loose translation. “Hello I am Emanuel I run 400 800 1500 5000 and up to 10 km in street now. I’m focusing on my time and record 1:54 to 800 meters and 50 in the 400 meters above all. I am trying to bring my marks in 5000 meters in 15:15 to 10 kilometers in 30:30 with good training and dedication.” after that I lose it.

  • I am someone that just started running the 800 so I could run my schools 4x400m relay and I was wondering if you could help me get my times down. All the pr’s I’ve timed are
    2:14.10 800
    12.4 100
    24.6 200
    57.8 400
    5:10.7 1600
    8:02.3 2400
    11:41.1 3200
    18:39.5 4800
    19:05.2 5000

    • hi name is bhushan prasad from india i am an athlete my event is 800m my 800m timeing 2:14 :8 so am impresing this event i want to became a good sports man in athletics

  • Joseph,

    Of the times you sent, we will be concentrating on the 1600 and below. It does appear that you have been exposed to a balance of sprint, middle distance and cross country racing. The improvements (times) we will be targeting will be in the 100m – 200m – 400m – 800m bracket. Up front (after reviewing your PRs), you need to incorporate speed endurance and over distance training in your weekly routine. What year in High School are you?

    100 Meter (12.4): There is no substitute for plyo-workouts, and good sprinting mechanics. With out ever seeing you sprint or your sprinting history (times of the years), age, body tpye my best approach here is to give you general good advice for improving 100 meter times. Speed drills, strength drills (plyo), over speed drills, and good starting block mechanics.

    200 Meter (24.6) This is rather revealing and encouraging. 24.6 – 12.4 = 12.2 seconds. Your first 100 meters is from a start line with challenges of reaction time, drive, and acceleration phases. You second 100 meters should always be less. Your 2nd 100 meters was but should but needs improved up. This is the first indication that you need speed endurance training.

    400 Meter (57.8) Take your 400m PR time – (2x your 200m PR time) = drop off time. Your drop off time should be in the in the 4 second range. 57.8 – (2 x 24.6) = 8.6 seconds. That is high and indicates a need for speed endurance work at this distance.

    With your current 200m performance indicator (PR) your 400 meter target time should look more like:
    (24.6 x 2) + 4.0 = 53.6

    If you focus on your 100m and 200m weak areas previously mentioned , and incorporate meaningful speed endurance drills. You should reasonable expect to get in the 52s and possible in the 51s. This will take dedication and focus.

    800 Meter (2:14.10) For someone who just started running the 800m, you have a fair PR. I would be interested to know your 200/ 400 / 600 meter split times in the 800m. Regardless, Over distance training and speed endurance come into play here for you. Your 400 meter drop off time is: 2:14.10 – (2 x 57.8) = 18.5 seconds. It should be about half of that. This is were your speed endurance weakness reveals itself the most.

    1600 Meter (5:10.7) As always, split times for 1600 meters are paramount to conducting a fair evaluation. Split deltas and split drop off times are our bread and butter: It reveals weak and strong areas, especially when compared to splits of other distances. In your case, again a fair time, however, assuming the trend of increasing drop off times, over speed, over distance would apply here to gain the most improvement.

    You are not unique to the distance or cross country runner coming of age where they want to challenge the sprinting distances. I consider the 800 meter a sprint and not a middle distance race and so should you. This is your first mental frame of mind during training and competition. Here is a break down of the macro approach you may want to consider for next year starting this fall.

    – Maintain your over the road miles for overall endurance.
    – Have your high school strength coach design you an off the season core and leg s strength program. Lighter weights , high reps, good form. (Fall of this year)
    – Drop the weight program towards the beginning of outdoor track training season.
    – Now incorporate plyo-metrics twice a week. (light plyo work out first part of week, heavy plyo end of week
    – Continue your over the road work, but shorten the distances lower the times per mile.
    – When you start the plyo’s, begin to develop a split routine for the training session (day) (Do not do plyos on the days you do this routine)
    – First half of training day – speed drills (bleachers, 4x ladders of (100-150-200-200-150-100),
    – Second half of training day – (resistant band running in place 3x for 1 minute at max effort, sled pulling for only 20 to 30 meters – 6x, use only 10lb on sled at first)
    – Once a week at this same time have a day of only 400m over distance training at almost race pace. (400m – 600m – 800m – 1000m – 800m – 600m – 400m) x 2

    Your first four weeks of the year should then look like this:

    Monday – light plyo day
    Tuesday – Split routine day
    Wednesday – over distance day
    Thursday – Split routine day
    Friday – heavy plyo day

    Approximately 4 weeks before your first competition begin to replace Moday with speed endurance drills,

    On Modays (4 weeks before competition) 150 – 200 – 300 – 200 -150 at faster than race pace (3 x)

    On Mondays (3 weeks before competition) 200- 300 -300- 200 at faster than race pace (3x)

    On Mondays (2 weeks before competition) 300- 300-400-400-200-200 faster than race pace (2x)

    On Mondays (1 week before competition) 4x (300 max speed) 4x(400 max race pace)

    When you start on the 2 weeks before competition (immediately above), Make your heavy plyo day a light day, with the plyo towards the end of the training day. Start to incorporate
    Repeats with a focus on short recover (less than a minute) at the 400 meter distance.
    One set of 400 meters sprints, with one minute rest in between). After full recover of this set
    One set of 200 meter sprints, with one minute rests in between).

    When track season starts, Continue the final routine with one exception. Replace the Friday light plyo 12 second session training of the day with a sharp focus on 1 Kilometer repeats at just under your 800 race pace. You want to do no less than 6 on Friday evening, after your two sets of 400m and 200m repeats.

    One last comment, Your endurance maintenance over the road running is 6 days a week. Easiest time during the week will be in the morning. On Saturday, pick a running route that has a few moderate hills. On Sunday, relax. Stretch everyday, do set ups everyday. Eat well and you will see results.

    Hope this helps and Good Luck.

    Coach JD McDaniel

  • Emanuel,

    At your level of ability, improvements are hard won and will often be realized with increased combination of higher distance ladders and intervals with modified recover methods. This will train your already well conditioned physiology to adapt to an every increasing demand on the energy systems in your muscle. Most elite runners, have maintenance training programs that extend well into the off season and only a few months before competing will they kick into an insane two a day training program.

    It appears that you are ready for a jump to a different level of training which would require 2 hours a day, split between two training session. This may not seem like many hours per day, however the intensity must be 100% with 100% focus at this level. Your going to have rolling ladders with rest periods consisting of fast jogs between intervals and reps. Basically, your will be moving non stop for an hour. twice a day (Three days a week)(Monday Wednesday Friday)

    Morning Session | Evening Session
    800 Meter Repeats x 3 (just under race pace) | 2 Kilometer cool down jog
    400 meter repeats x 4 (just under race pace) jog around track for 800 meters | 2 Kilometer cool down jog
    100 Meter Repeats x 8 (max effort) jog 300 meters
    200 meter repeats x 6 (max effort) jog 600 meters

    On Tuesday, Thursday, you will be working on burst conditioning and speed endurance. Both drills will be done in the morning then repeated in the evening. Your recover in Drill One will be to within 25% of standing heart rate. Recover in the second drill will be within 50% of stand heart rate.

    Drill One – Drill Two
    200 meters at faster than race pace – 400 meters at race pace
    1000 max effort – 200 meters at max effort
    200 meters at faster than race pace – 100 meters at max effort

    Coach JD

  • My split times at my district meet for the 800 were 27, 59, and 1:35 respectively and next school year I will be a senior.

    • Joseph,

      Thanks for the quick response on my questions.

      With a PR in the 2:14 range for the 800 meter. Your drop off for the 400 splits is in the 18 to 19 second range. Lets work on reducing this to the 8 to 9 second range for now. Ideally you want to be in the 7 to 8 second range and I believe that is obtainable for you.

      First 200 meter leg time 27 seconds
      Second 200 meter leg time 59 – 27 = 32 seconds drop off of 5 seconds
      Third 200 meter leg time 95 – 59 = 36 seconds drop off of 4 seconds
      Fourth 200 meter leg time 134 – 95 = 39 seconds drop off of 3 seconds
      Your 400 meter split delta 134 – 59 = 75 seconds 2nd400 meter time 400 to 400 meter drop off = 75 – 59 = 16 seconds.

      Any runner with large drop off times is an indicator of speed endurance training weakness, and or…………….not going out quick enough in the initial 300 to 400 meters of the race.

      Do not be afraid to challenge the first 400 meters of the race. Your enduracne (speed and distance) training will help you bring the two 400 meter phases of the race close together in time.

      I would like to see you run a 58 second 400 and a 1:04 or 1:05 in the second 400m as goal by the end of next years track preseason training period. That would put you in the 2:04 to 2:05 starting out during the competition phase.

      Several times a month during preseason, set aside the first part of mid week training session to run this one diagnostic drill. You will be sprinting four (4) discrete 400 meter races with only one minute in between the 400 meter reps. You want to keep all the 400 times extremely close with a second of each other. So start out 1:00 flat 400s. All 400s will be run at 1 minute. Next week test yourself again. Now see if you can do the same drill and run all the 400s at 59 seconds. If you struggle to do so, you need more speed endurance (400 – 600 -400 at greater than 800 meter race pace). You will find that over the weeks your 4 reps of 400 meters times will get lower. When you have bottomed out, running 4 reps of 400 at the lowest time that all times are basically within a second of each other, it is time to shorten the rest period by 15 seconds. Do this until can run 4 reps of 400 meters with only 30 seconds rest and keep the times within a second of each other. You may have to start at 1:00 flat again when you shorten your rest period, but should be able to drop down the times quickly.

      If you can run 4 reps of 400 meters and all the times are 58 to 59 seconds each, with only 30 seconds rest in between the reps, you will run in the 2:02 to 2:00 range by the end of your senior year. Dependent on how much you dedicate your time towards the other aspects of sprint training, you may even break the 2:00 mark. Train hard, but train smart and be realistic. If you half your 16 (400 to 400) second drop off time with speed endurance training, improve 0.5 seconds on each 200 meter leg as it applies to pure sprint strength training to increase your turn over with over all endurance from meaningful road work………you should be able to shave 10 to 12 seconds of your time by the beginning of track season next year.

      Good Luck Joseph,

      Coach JD

  • I run the 400 but my coaches want me to start running the 800. The only time I’ve ran it I got 2:32 with a negative 7 split. I want to get my time down to 2:17. It’s important to me that I get in to great shape and a strong core. I’m 15 going to be a sophomore.

  • I run the 400 with a PR of 60.8 but my coaches want me to start running the 800. The only time I’ve ran it I got 2:32 with a negative 7 split. I want to get my time down to 2:17. It’s important to me that I get in to great shape and a strong core. I’m 15 going to be a sophomore.

  • I use to run 800m and 1500m with my PB being 2:12 and 4:40. I would like to get back into the running of competitions as i was out for 4 years. what training do u suggest for me to get a PB of 2:05 and 4:30.

    Help plz?? I am 28 years old

  • Hello

    I am Ricky Bell I am an Upcoming Senior . Just got back to doing track last year I did Cross Country before Track, and I am trying to get my 800 time under 2:00. I am at 2:08 right now. I do the Hurdles 300 and 110 and I have great speed at the last 200 what can I do for i can get under 2:00

    Ricky Bell
    Class of 2013

  • My son Devin is 12 years old he runs the 800m and also does race walking. He has a pr in the 800m is a 2:52 his goal is to get down to around the 2:20-2:30 range. He is in the off season now and we where wondering what kind of workouts should he be doing to include any weight training.

    • Mr. Haynes,

      Off season middle distance training (considering the physiology of a twelve year old competitor) should be focused on road work for now this time of year. Your son is still too young (In my opinion) to have a heavy weight training regiment). Plyo training without weights should be lite and only once per week (preferable towards the end of the week with a full day of rest no running or plyo activity afterwards.

      In general terms, runners in this age group will gain more from over distance training verse speed endurance augmented with once per week light plyo programs. I would focus in on tempo, gate extension, and light hill work. The following six month program will help you son ramp up slowly to the goal of 2:20 time frame. This represents a delta of 30 seconds over his current PR. Sounds like a lot of time to drop, but he is going to go through the greatest gains in endurance and speed in the next three years or so if you start early. There is a lot of slop in running mechanics and over all conditioning specific to 800 meters runners in this age group.

      Other than the specific references to Monthly / Weekly / Daily routines mentioned below, your son needs to start building up his total MPW (miles per week) of total road work. Increase the MPW by 5 miles per month. He should be running five to six days a week. Get him a small log book, and track his progress. You can not manage it if you do not track it. Help him out here Dad with motivation and encouragement. Make sure he records all his daily runs (distance / times / comments). Assuming he starts with 3 mile runs (not jogs) and focuses on quality verses quantity he will see improvements on his mile split times. Talk to him and have him set a benchmark time for say a three mile run. Total three mile time and max time for any discrete mile within that three mile run. In the first month, attempt to keep all the mile split times close to each other. Focus on bringing down the total time for a three mile run by a few seconds each month. Small goals are better than one big one. Increase the total MPW by 5 miles each month. Also, towards the end of the week, have him put in a 10 mile run starting in October. Starting in November, twice a week, during his routine road work, each mile split should decrease by 5 seconds. Key here is not to turn over a fist mile split time that does not allow him to decrease his time (do not go out too fast). Beginning in January drop the MPW by half, but begin to ramp up the intensity and plyo training very quickly.

      Week one MPW 20 4 miles a day / Five days per week 15 minute Plyo workout after run on day five
      Week two MPW 20 4 miles a day / Five days per week 15 minute Plyo workout after run on day five
      Week three MPW 20 4 miles a day / Five days per week 15 minute Plyo workout after run on day five
      Week four MPW 20 5 miles a day / Four days per week 15 minute Plyo workout after run on day four

      Week one MPW 25 5 mies a day / Five days per week 20 minute Plyo workout after run on day five
      Week two MPW 25 5 mies a day / Five days per week 20 minute Plyo workout after run on day five
      Week three MPW 25 5 mies a day / Five days per week 20 minute Plyo workout after run on day five
      Week four MPW 25 6.25 miles a day / Four days per week 20 minute Plyo workout after run on day four

      Week one MPW 30 5 miles a day / Four days per week & One run at end of week of 10 miles Day six – no running, just 10 bleacher sprints with jog down bleachers, no walking
      Week two MPW 30 5 miles a day / Four days per week & One run at end of week of 10 miles Day six – no running, just 15 bleacher sprints with jog down bleachers, no walking
      Week three MPW 30 5 miles a day / Four days per week & One run at end of week of 10 miles Day six – no running, just 20 bleacher sprints with jog down bleachers, no walking
      Week four MPW 34 6 miles a day / Four days per week & One run at end of week of 10 miles Day six – no running, just 25 bleacher sprints with jog down bleachers, no walking

      Week one MPW 35 5 miles a day / Five days a week & One run at end of week of 10 miles On Day five (day before 10 miler), Sprints – 100, 150 , 300, 400 in the PM)
      Week two MPW 35 5 miles a day / Five days a week & One run at end of week of 10 miles On Day five (day before 10 miler), Sprints – 150, 300, 300, 150 in the PM
      Week three MPW 35 5 miles a day / Five days a week & One run at end of week of 10 miles On Day five (day before 10 miler), Sprints – 300, 600, 600, 300)
      Week four MPW 39 6 miles a day / Five days a week & One run at end of week of 10 miles On Day five (day before 10 miler), Sprints 400, 400, 600, 600

      Week one MPW 40 Monday (10 miles) Tuesday (10 miles) Thursday (10 miles) Friday (5 miles) Saturday AM (5 miles) Saturday PM 3x 1Kilometer repeats
      Week two MPW 40 Monday (10 miles) Tuesday (10 miles) Thursday (10 miles) Friday (5 miles) Saturday AM (5 miles) Saturday PM 4x 1Kilometer repeats
      Week three MPW 40 Monday (10 miles) Tuesday (10 miles) Thursday (10 miles) Friday (5 miles) Saturday AM (5 miles) Saturday PM 4x 1Kilometer repeats
      Week four MPW 40 Monday (10 miles) Tuesday (10 miles) Thursday (10 miles) Friday (5 miles) Saturday AM (5 miles) Saturday PM 3x 800 repeats, max effort

      Week one MPW 30 5 miles a day / Four days per week & One run at end of week of 10 miles In the PM on Day four, short sprints, 100, 100, 100, 50, 50, 50, 100,100, 100
      Week two MPW 24 4 miles a day / Five days per week & Saturday/ Sunday run 2.0 max effort In the PM on Day five, short sprints, 100, 100, 100, 50, 50, 50, 100,100, 100
      Week three MPW 22 4 miles a day / Five days per week & Saturday/ Sunday run 1.0 max effort In the PM on Day five, sprints, 100, 300, 50, 200, 100, 50, 300, 200, 100, 50
      Week four MPW 17 3 miles a day / Five days per week & Saturday/ Sunday run 1.0 at max effort In the PM on Day five, sprints with weight vest, 80, 80, 80, 50,50,50
      miles for PR

      Week one MPW 20 3 miles in the AM Four days a week & same day in the PM (two 1 mile runs for time, rest 30 minutes in between mile runs.)
      Week two MPW 20 3 miles in the AM Four days a week & same day in the PM (two 1 mile runs for time, rest 15 minutes in between mile runs).
      Week three MPW 20 3 miles in the AM Four days a week & same day in the PM 4 x 800 meters (three of which are under race pace, last is at max effort)
      Week four MPW 20 3 miles in the AM Four days a week & same day in the PM 800 repeats for one hour, under race pace, Last 800 at max effort

  • Hi,
    I was wondering if any intense workouts are available for a 15 year old. Since, I go to a school where coaches barely have time and don’t know what they are doing, I really want to learn how do train myself. For the second half of the season of track i decided to train myself because I felt like the training they gave me didn’t even challenge me. I am a 400 and 800m runner and going into 10th grade and im a girl.
    My prs are
    400m- 1:05

    I know I can train harder and improve more, the only problem is that I don’t know where my first step in training is.


  • Hey,

    I found these drills very unhelpfull to me as I am 167kg, overweight and still can only get a time of 6mins for 800m.

  • Hello,

    I use to sprint for my track team in high school. Now in my third year of college I just run long distances each week I run between 25-30 miles. But I want to try and return to the 800m. Is there anyway you would email me what info you would need, so that maybe you could help set up a plan for me? Thank you so much.


  • Im an 800m runner and im going to be a senior this year and this being my last year in high school i really want to give it my all. All or nothing to see how far i can push myself. My pr is currently a 2:02 but i feel that with a good training plan i can push that time way down. I feel like my school workouts are to soft and lack the intensity and focus i really need to push myself. All i ask is for the best advice you can give me and hopefully a good workout plan for me. Like i said im willing to give it my all to see how far i can go in running. I have all of my past race times and some videos from some of my races that i can send you the link to watch. Your help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Hi this may sound farferchd but I wanna train to try and quify for trials and than the Olympics I am in the 1:58 range as of now and I barely have ever touched lifting I am physically stronger since I ran that just from growing older and maturing but I was wondering how I should approach training 4 years out along with weight lifting. Any help would be an absolute blessing. Thanks!

  • ok ive been reading some comments on here and relising some stuff

    im 18 at the end of this year, i ran the 800m in 1 minute 21 seconds, but ive never done any training, now looking at the rest of the comments i say thats pretty good, but i want to beat it and try to beat the 1 minute mark, what are some tips for doing this?

    • Chris McWhinney, whoever told you that time was for 800m should have video taped your race and sent it to the IAAF for WR verification, or the course you ran on was improperly measured, or you are a super troll!
      That time would be superb for 600m, by the way.

  • I typically think of myself as more of a mid distance runner and that is mostly what I train for. I am 22 years old and I don’t have a coach or any training partners really. Last winter I ran my first 800m in three years and I ran 2:00 and felt pretty good about it, but knew I could go faster. A month later I ran another 800 and went through the 600 in 1:28.5 and I knew I was going to break 2:00. But something happened and I died and ran another 2:00. This summer I have been trying to put in a good base (60 mile weeks with a few 70s in there.) What kind of workouts should I be doing if I am focused on the 800, but in the off season? Also, my high school PR was 1:58, and 4:33 in the 1600, if that helps at all.

  • Dear Coach McDaniel,
    My situation is pretty unique amongst the previous posters and I was hoping you might be able to give some advice. I will be 43 this fall. I was a competitive swimmer in High School and some of College. My best distances were 200m’s which corresponds roughly in “exertion time” to track 800m’s. (1:45 – 2:00 depending on stroke)

    This summer I did a few all-comers masters track meets and loved it! First time EVER racing track in my life. I can (sort of) see my abs for the first time since college! My best times of the season were 100m 14.0, 200m 29.2, 400m 1:03.8 . Not earth-shattering, but I was pretty happy with them for my first time on a track. For next Spring/Summer I want to concentrate on the 400m/800m. I am determined to get my 400m under a minute and if I can get my 800m under 2:15, I’ll be top 20 in the nation for my age group! ( what can I say, us old guys slow down quite a bit!). I have done a few 800’s in practice in around 2:30 but feel like I could improve quite a bit if pushed in a race.

    Would you be able to give advice for designing a 800m Fall/Winter program for someone who is NOT a high school/university student. It’s pretty easy to find Masters training plans for 5k’s and 10k’s, but there really isn’t much out there for 400/800/1500 Masters runners! I have a High School coach who is willing to work on my form but sadly, he is not available until the Spring.

    My goals, which I think may be different from the younger set on this thread are
    1) Avoid Injury,
    2) Avoid Injury,
    3) Avoid Injury
    4) Improve raw sprint speed
    5) Improve speed endurance for the 800
    6) Improve general strength (weights/plyometrics)

    Thanks so much for your help!

  • Hello, I’m Kyle and I’m currently in 8th grade. I run cross country(3000m) and I’m also a trackster. My current goal is to run a sub- 2 minute 800m.(my main race.) is there anything you could do to help? I have some genetics as my grandfather ran a 1:56 800 in high school.. And he is in the national coaches hall of fame.. Thank you and contact me ASAP.

    -Kyle House

  • Hi. I’m u14 at the moment, but by the time I get round to competing, I’ll be u15. My school has no middle distance runners for my age group, so the head coach wants me to train for it. However, I have no idea where to start. My fitness isn’t great at the moment, because I’ve just come off an extended break from any exercise (I broke my collarbone). Because I live in Australia, I’d be training for the 800 and 1500 (not the mile). The first time I’d be competing is about a year from now, in August of next year. I’m quite keen on the idea of doing middle distance, as it should improve my fitness for rugby. What should I be doing for training, considering I have a year to build up fitness, and what are some acheivable goals that I could aim for at the end of the season. Cheers, Alex.

  • my brother i a 800 m runner ,now he is 17 and his best is 2.03, he follows the workout and training schedulde given by the sports academy (tamilnadu, india) and it does not help him to improve his range. i need the heavy workout for both the morning and evening session to come near 1.55 pls send me the video and workout schedulde.

  • Im more of a long distance runner (1600m, 3200m, 5000m, 10000m) looking to switch to the 800m, because my school needs a fourth runner under 2.00 for the 4×8. I was wondering if you had any ideas for an off season workout regiment to get speed back for track from cross country (5000m+). My fastest 800 so far is a 2.04 and would very much like to be in the 1.55 range. I have a great coach he just doesn’t offer a preseason regiment and i need the speed training before the official track season starts. I still have my conditioning from cross country and am mainily interested in your opinion on the best to get my speed up. Also i was just curious on your opinion on how exactly to run an 800. start off mid race end race etc. Thanks, Austin

  • I am currently training for my off season, well mid training. But I was wondering if you knew of any solid lifting/plyometrics type workouts to supplement in after workout. I am currently a mid distance runner, 400/800 specific. I have ran a 52.o and a 1:57. I need something else that would help push myself down to the 1:53 range and lower. Any tips or weight lifting suggestions during the season would be much appreciated . Thank you for taking the time to read this. You are doing a great thing like this to share your knowledge and time with us.

    Todd Brady

    • @Todd, I would be careful to add too much plyos as it can severely trash your CNS and the ability to recover. Plyos and speed sessions can take 24-72 hours to fully recover.

  • my time is 2:30 and i am 15 year old. what should i do to decrease the timing for 800m. i dont have a coach and so want your help.

  • Hi I am jasmin viera I am a d1 college athlete and have been a mid distance runner since sophmore year of high school. with my best times being 4:53 1500m 2:20 800m and 3:01 at 1000m and 60 at 400m I am not trained for one specific event and I seem to be a jack of all trades runner who is good at a few things but not excelling at any of event. I really want to run 2:58 in the 1000m and 2:16 open in the 800m I have run 2:17 as a lead off on our 4×800 my workouts from my coach are more along the lines of 800 @ 2:40 600 @ 1:42 2×400 @ 68 and 4×200 @35 changes but could be different combinations of that we have 2 track workouts a week 5 mile run Tuesday Thursday is a 20 min run because our races are usually Friday and long runs on the weekend. I feel as though I have a lot of speed but have a hard time finishing the 800m and 1000m could you help me? I have one outdoor season left before my college career is over and really want to hit one of my goals

    • @jasmin, I am a true believe of multi-pace training. One workout is “200/400 speed”, one is @800m speed (pace training), and one is “1500/3000m speed” (overdistance) training. 3 workouts a week on the track is sufficient. The rest are tempo runs and recovery runs. You may be lacking in the 3rd track type of workout.

  • Hi! I run the 1600, 800, and 400. I also run 5000 for cross country. I don’t have a very good coach and I really want to improve this year. We do minimal workouts and as I am the only distance runner on our team, I never really get a chance to train for my events. I have asked the coach to do harder, more specified workouts, but he won’t allow it. Right now it is still snowy outside, but I was wondering if you could give me an idea of a workout I could do when I got home from my practice. Last year as a freshman I qualified for our district meet. My PRs are
    I would like to drop about 20 seconds in the 1600 this year, and I’m willing to work hard. Please email me if you have the time! Thanks!

  • ola, tenho 14 anos eu faço 800 e quero abaixar meu tempo em 10 segundos tem como me ajudar

    400 59:26
    600 1:36
    800 2:10

  • Hi,

    I’m a 19 year old girl, university student and I need to train myself for a 800m (it’s in 3 weeks). I’ve been going running regularly for the past three years, but I’ve been out of training for the past two months (I was sick, exams..).

    Do you have any special recommendations (intensive training etc.)?
    Also, what kind of training do you recommend for a 200m?

    Thank you very much.


  • Thanks for this great resource. I’m male, almost 16 and in 10th grade with a PR of 1:58 @ 800m (05/2013); 4:29 @ 1600m (04/2013) and 17:30 @ 5K XC (04/2011). Been running track and XC for 5 years. Dislike XC and long runs and did not do much the past year, so my 1600m times suffered. My goals for 11th grade 2013 XC are a 15:00 5K, 2014 1:52 @ 800m and 4:10 @ 1600m. I’m ready to get serious. Any suggestions?

    • @Alexander, if you are serious about excelling at all those events, you’ll need to do your runs for aerobic capacity. Now it will vary depending on the time of the season and your training block. My best advice is to do multi-pace training (all speeds from 200m up to 3K speeds) at a max of 3X per week, and do you recovery runs as well as tempo runs and long run. The most important key is to progress in your training load. Don’t advance to quick.. remember, it’s all about volume, intensity and recovery!

  • Hi,
    I’m a 30 year old boy, student and I need to train myself for a 800m (it’s in 3 months). I’ve been going running regularly for the past three years, but I’ve been out of training for the past 4 months (I was sick, exams..). please suggest me diat plan also.. I have to run it in 2:35 min.

    Do you have any special recommendations (intensive training etc.)?
    Also, what kind of training do you recommend for a 200m?

    Thank you very much.

    • @dinesh, this blog has 1800 articles! Select from one of the categories and that should be a great starting point. Good luck!

  • Hey!
    I’m a 16 year old girl in high school who is readily preparing for her upcoming junior year and just completed her sophomore year. I was trying to look up ways to improve your 800 meter run time when I stumbled on this website and I really liked what I read. I’m REALLY determined to improve my 800m time; I want it bad. My coach actually does a lot of the methods you’ve mentioned up there. For example, once a week, he makes us do Intervals (repeat 400m 8times at a specific range usually around 78-83 seconds for girls in the early season but 73-75 in the last season and sometimes we have to “hammer” or run faster than our target times or the fastest time we’ve ran on our 5th and last) –but summer is coming, and while our time-to-time meetups and practices will be fortunate, I know a lot of it is going to be honestly on me. And I was wondering if you could help me!

    The last time I’ve ran in the actual 800m run was with a time of 2:36–that is my official 800m time as of now, but I’ve ran faster before because I do the 4x800m and my splits have ranged from 2:28 to 2:31. I understand that I have greatly improved over the years. In my eighth grade year, I couldn’t even get under 2:50. My freshman year, my best time was 2:39. Now, if I were to do the 800m race again, I would probably hit a 2:28 at the most, and a 2:31 at the least, because I’ve gotten use to that pace all because of the 4x800m. Unfortunately, our track season ended yesterday, and I never got the chance to run me a new official 800m time. My twin sister though, had the chance and ran herself a 2:29.

    The problem is, throughout this season, I’ve been stuck–in terms of my “splits”–at those times. Never above a 2:28. I have a goal that I want to run for the next upcoming track season, which is in a while, seeing I still have cross country season to go through and then indoor track–but I want to do anything I can to get prepared. (Plus, in my perspective, I see it this way: if you improve your 800m time, you improve your mile time. If you improve your mile time, you improve your 2mile. If you improve your 2mile time, you improve your 5k…and so on.) My goal includes running a 2:20 at the very most, officially. I’m not sure I’ll always have access to outdoor track facilities this summer, but when I do, I’ll use it to my advantage. I need help with the kind of way I should start about my training and how I should plan it. Because you see, I really, really, really am determined this year. I always ask myself, what am I doing wrong? And I always reflect on my performance and I just get stuck from there. I’ve talked to my coach about this, and he tells me I probably can, but first I’ve got to get mentally prepared. And I think I finally am, and I want to hit my goal.

    Thank you very much!

    • @Manny, my belief is you need the speed in the 400m to run a good 800m. That, along with good SPECIFIC workouts that is close to race modeling. Lastly, aerobic condition helps, but don’t let it run your track workouts. The secret is NOT more mileage.

  • Hi!
    I am a Freshman in High School looking for some off-season (summer) routines to lower my 800 meter time next year. I currently run a 2:04 and am looking to break 2:00 by the end of Sophomore year. I am searching for a routine mainly to work on lower body strength and Speed. . so weights in the gym will most likely be necessary. That is what I feel my main issue is. My strength. So if you could reply with a weekly schedule, it would be greatly appreciated!
    Thank you!!

  • To Jimson,
    I am 14 and run a best of 2:16 for 800m and hoping to get to 2:10 by the end of the year.
    I do 2 long runs a week and 3 track/interval workouts a week. I only get time to do this because I’m busy with school.
    I haven’t gone under 2:20 since July and really need help.


  • Hello

    I used to run in high school and college but stopped running due to a hamstring injury. I am now 26 and the last time I competed was in 2007. I have now started training for about 3 months now. I train with my old university about 2 x a week and on my own the other days. I am seriously wanting to get back into tip top shape for the 800m. If I were to take a guess, I could probably run a 52/53 – 400m and a 2:01-800m. My goal is to sub 1:50. What is a realistic time frame that you think that can be reached? I would like to be 1:55 or better by february.

    My PR in 2007 was

    I would love to give it one last go around and give it the best I have….. any recommendations on training?

    I feel very strong..but lack the endurance and speed. Im working on it each and every day.