Race Plan for the 800 Meters

Many highly successful coaches have argued that the middle distance events are the most difficult to prepare athletes for.

They may be right. Here are some tips for putting together a 800 meter race plan.

In the video clip below Scott Christensen, a highly successful middle distance and distance coach. Below are just a few of his credentials/accoplishments:

  • 14 year USATF Level II Lead Instructor (Endurance Events)
  • Five different Minnesota State Champions in the 800 and 1600 since 1996.
  • Four Stillwater alumni have broken 4:00 in the mile since 2003
  • 6 Time Minnesota State Coach of the Year (Track & Cross Country)
  • 1997 National High School Boys Cross Country Champions
  • Co-Wrote 4 Teaching Publications for USATF Coaching Education
  • Given over 45 invited coaching presentations at National Coaching Education clinics and seminars

This clip, while a little long has some good information and is worth watching.

If you are interested, I have included the link to the his complete middle distance training program available through Complete Track and Field ( he mentions this in the clip) Just click the link below:

Training Model for the High School Middle Distance (800-1600).

The YouTube video below has audio, so please make sure that your sound is turned up.

Click the arrow to play the video.

In this, video Coach Christensen discusses some unique characteristics of the 800 meter. He states that the 800 meter is (based on research) 50% aerobic and 50% anaerobic and that it requires an expenditure of only 90 calories (approximately 3/4 of a banana). You simply have to decide when and where to use them in the race.

He also discusses the 3 type of runners that can be successful in this event. He states that the top runners usually run the first 400 2-3 seconds faster than the second and gives you a easy formula for determining your splits to reach your target time. These splits are important as they will help to develop you race plan.

Coach Christensen divides the race into 7 zones and provides items to consider and strategies for each zone.

  1. The first 5 steps
  2. The cut mark
  3. Cut mark to 200 meters
  4. 200 meters- 400 meters
  5. 400 meters-600 meters
  6. Last curve
  7. Last 90 meters

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