How can I improve my 800 meter dash time, without doing much speedwork?
August 31, 2011 6:46 PM   Subscribe

How can I improve my 800 meter dash time, without doing much speedwork?

I have a torn hamstring muscle on which I am getting surgery on in December. The head surgeon said it would be fine to train, and compete in the 800 meter to the best of my ability for now.

So in relation to my previous post, I want to train for the 800 meter dash, but now the trick is, I can't really do much speed work until the day of the race (if I do speedwork, I basically can't walk for a few days after)

So my question is how can I really improve my 800 meter time, with as little as possible high speed training? I could probably handle one high speed track workout every two weeks.

I was thinking of novel ideas, first like losing as much fat as possible, gaining as much muscle (which muscles?) as possible, practicing running while holding my breath, or just practice holding my breath.

I can do a lot of medium speed running, like 8 minute miles, but I imagine that won't help my 800 time all that much.

Any ideas?

p.s. My fastest now is a 2:21, and I just need to get down to a 2:16 by November 10th, which I think is very attainable
posted by crawltopslow to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total)
Our track coach made us do upper body exercises as much as possible because, he said (this could be a lie, but he was good at his job), you can only run as fast as your arms move. I recommend keeping fit by doing medium speed training and concentrating on your upper body.
posted by General Malaise at 7:12 PM on August 31, 2011

If my 20 years out of date knowledge is sufficient ... Strength workouts and 5k runs. The 800m is a long, slow sprint, so you need endurance and strength.

Go to the weight room and work on your quads, hamstrings, and upper body strength.

Since you can't do speed workouts, instead work on endurance. I'd do 15 - 25 miles / week.

And good luck. I did the 800m in high school, and my personal best was immediately after a six week hiatus from running because of a stress fracture.
posted by zippy at 7:14 PM on August 31, 2011

Can you do drills to work on economy, or are you considering that speedwork?
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 7:26 PM on August 31, 2011

Response by poster: Anything where I'm running at 800 meter pace or faster is going to be too fast.
posted by crawltopslow at 7:49 PM on August 31, 2011

Zippy's suggestion to focus on aerobic workouts and strength training is good, as long as you also follow his advice to taper your workouts as the race date nears.

You might try running some hill circuits; it might put a different but acceptable kind of stress on your hammies. Indoors, you can do pool exercises. Aqua Jogging comes highly recommended. Biking and rowing machines are also possible alternatives. I'd avoid ambitious leg presses and leg curls. You can also hang ten off of a raised platform and raise and lower yourself with your calves/achilles. Above all else be cautious, and if you feel discomfort, stop immediately, and thereafter steer clear of the offending exercise.

Upper-body: Work your triceps with dips, kickbacks, tricep extensions, and pulley pushdowns (do all of these). Lots of stomach and back exercises too, whatever it takes to get a stiff torso to act as a lever against your legs.

A healthy balanced diet is what you want, not really a starvation regimen.

Consider visualization exercises in the weeks leading up to the race. Also, I think it helps to whip yourself into a mental frenzy at the starting line. When I ran 800s in college, I would look at the competition and imagine tearing them to death with my hands and teeth (no kidding, it works).
posted by L'oeuvre Child at 10:33 PM on August 31, 2011

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