Predicting your Marathon Time

Hand holding a stopwatch
January 30, 2017

D3 Staff


tagged in:

Have you ever wanted to estimate your marathon time based on your current fitness level without actually running a marathon? Well, here's a fantastic workout devised by renowned running expert Bart Yasso that can provide a close prediction of your marathon time. The workout is straightforward: Run 10 x 800 meters with a rest interval of jogging equal in time to the work interval. For instance, if you run 800 meters in 3 minutes and 30 seconds, your rest period is also 3 minutes and 30 seconds of jogging.

The predicted marathon time is simply the average of the 10 efforts converted from minutes to hours. So, if you maintain an average pace of 3 minutes and 30 seconds per 800 meters for all 10 repetitions, your predicted marathon time is 3 hours and 30 minutes. In my experience, the more comfortably you can complete this workout, the more accurate the predicted time tends to be.

This marker set workout not only offers a surprisingly accurate estimate of your marathon time but also serves as an engaging and challenging training session. Many runners swear by this workout for its effectiveness in gauging fitness levels. You can even customize the workout for additional challenge. Personally, I prefer to increase the difficulty by adding 2 to 4 more 800-meter repeats and shortening the rest interval to 2 minutes. Completing 12 to 14 x 800 with an average time of 3 minutes and 30 seconds on a 2-minute jog for the rest interval suggests readiness for a 3-hour and 30-minute marathon.

However, it's important to note that simply completing this workout does not guarantee success in a marathon. A well-rounded marathon training plan should include long runs, tempo runs, and a variety of interval sessions to adequately prepare for the distance.

For those aiming for an Ironman marathon prediction, you can use the Yasso workout for a marathon time estimate and then add 15 to 30 minutes to the marathon time. This adjustment should provide a realistic Ironman run goal. Incorporating this Ironman goal pace into some of your brick workouts can help simulate race day conditions.

Even if you don't plan to run a marathon, this workout is a valuable tool for tracking fitness and progress throughout the season. So, head to the track and give Yasso 800s a try to assess your fitness level and enjoy a challenging running session.

schedule a call