David Rudisha: 800m Training, Splits, World Record

Believe it or not, I missed the Olympic 800 meters in the stadium, and I didn’t even watch it on TV.

Why? Because I was attending a private coaching clinic with Jessica Ennis, Toni Minichiello and Mick Hill.  I’ll be posting that 60 minute interview shortly on this Blog, so stay tuned.

David Rudisha 800m WR

One of the reasons why I collect splits for the sprints and hurdles is to find the sweet spot for ideal race pace.

This will lead me to the most important question:

What do you need to do in TRAINING to accomplish this?

It doesn’t matter if you run 1:40 or 2:00 for the 800 meters.  You need to have the right stuff (I’ll get more into that later)

Now, I wasn’t at the stadium, so I’m relying on second hand information.

According to LetsRun.com, David Rudisha’s 400 meter splits were:

49.28 + 51.63 (a differential of 2.35) = 1:40.91

According to Track and Field News, 200 meter splits were:

  • 23.5
  • 25.8 [49.28]
  • 25.0 [1:14.3]
  • 26.6

I think we all know David Rudisha WAS the rabbit in this race as opposed to the other races.  Quite an incredible feat!

David Rudisha at 700 meters

Predicting 800m Potential

I’ve always used the double plus 10 seconds rule to determine the potential of a 400m sprinter moving up to the 800 meters with the proper training.

That double plus 10 seconds works out to the first lap around 3-4 sec slower than your 400m SB, and the second lap about 3 seconds slower than the first lap. (For example, [3.3 x 2] + 3.3 = ~10 seconds)

As you can see from the splits above, the sweet spot between the 2 laps is anywhere from 2.5 to 4 seconds.  Each body is different because every trains differently.

Multi-pace 800m Training

One of these days I’ll have to interview Wynn Gmitroski.

If I ask you to run the first lap in 50 seconds and your PB is 50, you’ll be in a world of hurt at 500 meters.  If it’s 46, then you should be okay.

What that means is you need all 3 types of pace training at the 400, 800 and 1500 meter levels.  Hence 3 track sessions a week, each one with specific goals.  Speed, race pace, and endurance/strength.

You need that speed reserve for the first lap, so the faster your PB, the easier it will feel when it’s 3 or 4 seconds slower.  You still have to do the aerobic and lactate training, though.

Now everyone has their theories, and they have proven it with their results like Arthur Lydiard (coach of Peter Snell) or Harry Wilson (coach of Steve Ovett).   This Blog has a wealth of training articles, so here goes…

800m Training Articles

  • Continued…
    We have no real idea of the process of running 800m, what we should be aiming to achieve or how to approach training for the event.

  • Jimson,

    Should the 1st lap / 2nd lap pace differential of 2.5 – 4.0 second rule be increased for those that run in 2:00 to 3:00 range for 800m?

    For example the average differential on your chart is 2.94 seconds including Rudisha’s 2.35 which wasn’t on the chart. On a percentage basis this translates to an average differential of 2.9% for these same 10 race times which if applied to a youth running a 3:00 800m would result in a pace differential of 5.2 seconds.

    So is it unrealistic to expect this same stringent standard across the board regardless of ability?



    • @Patrick, yes, those numbers are for elite athletes. Taking percentages is best for slower times. Thanks for pointing that out.