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800m Race Not As Fast As Training Suggests

by Mary
(Auburn, Alabama, USA)

I am a 19 year old female who is a collegiate 800m runner and I am a freshman. It's only been a few meets and I've only competed a few times, however in practice I am running my workouts really well to the point where I am predicted to run 2:12 to 2:13 in the 800m.... the only thing is, is that it does not transfer over to the meet. In the meet I ran 2:21...and I was devastated.

Why is my training in practice not transferring over to the meets?

running tips
Answer by Dominique:
Hi there,
Thanks for your question about your 800m races.

Now there may be a whole host of psychological reasons involved which could help explain why you don't quite get your predicted race time.

However, I'll ignore those, let's focus on what may be wrong with your training.

It's too bad you are not providing the detail which explains how you came to the conclusion that you'd be able to run 2:12-2:13.

What's the test and how do you work this out?

I am assuming that you may have done a 200m test or 400m test and then used a race conversion calculator to work out what your predicted 800m time is.

Or maybe you have done 4 x 200m at goal pace with short rests in between. Or something similar.

These can all be valid ways to test your ability. The problem with the 800m race compared to the shorter 200m or 400m test runs is that aerobic capacity becomes more important. Your raw speed may show an ability to run that fast, but when doing the full 800m race I suspect you are running out of steam in the last 200-300m.

The way to solve this is by making sure you do a sufficient amount of base running. A mistake that is made quite often in 800m race training is that people spend almost all their time working on intervals and not so much on base building.

In order to hold on to that speed for the full 800m you do need to develop your endurance. Intervals are important when preparing for such a short race, but you do need sufficient easy and long runs in order to build up your endurance.

Without knowing anything about your training or the tests you have done to work out that 2:12-2:13 is realistic I can't give you a lot more to work with.

So I hope this is helpful in some way.
Best of luck.
Keep faith, you can usually improve quite a bit over the course of a racing season.

Kind regards,

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