The 800m is a track and field middle-distance event. 800m runners require a bit of everything to work at
their peak; both speed and endurance. It is done over two laps of the track (being 400m long).
Ways to train for an 800m
Every athlete has their own individual, optimum training technique. One potential method is attempting
three days of strength training alongside three days of aerobic running/exercise, up to an hour, as well as
daily flexibility exercise that condition the core to improve your strength in a race. Aerobic activities can
include cross country, sports such as football/tennis/basketball etc, or just regular running. To increase
endurance, run 400m and add gradually every week. Alongside endurance, speed is also vital. Training
for speed can be done by doing 3-4 sprints (up to 300m), at a faster rate than your usual goal, with 5
minutes rest between them. Build this up to 3-4 reps up to 600m, and then 3-4 reps up to 1200m.
Everyone has their own optimum strategy, however this method may help most 800m runners. This
method is ’negative splits’ where you run the first lap slower than the others
The first 200m
Start at a good pace, not running too fast to lose all your energy. When coming off the first curve, do not
go to the first lane immediately, and instead do so at the start of the next curve and run in a straight line,
aka ‘taking the tangent’, so you do not run further than is necessary. Do not sprint your hardest, or you
will burn out too quickly for the later stages. It is commonly thought that getting the first or second position
early is an advantage, since these positions are usually not caught up and blocked off.
Stay at a steady,relaxed pace and gradually push forward if you feel you’re lagging behind. Do not
change pace suddenly, or you may burn too much energy for the next 400m. Pick up the pace by up to
Now you can pick the pace up a little, and stay smooth and fast. Remember to try not straining upper
body muscles as this will slow you down. Here, endurance is key to passing those ahead of you. It is
normal to feel tired, but relaxed, when reaching the start line again (400m). If you cannot accelerate, you
went too fast in the previous 400m. The 400 split should not be any faster than 5 seconds in comparison
to your second 400m. If this is the case, attempt to move strongly at 300m to maximise passing on the
This is the toughest part, where all your muscles will be burning and your stamina will be at its lowest. Do
not tighten up more muscles, as much as you may want to, and keep a smooth pace. Do not let yourself
be boxed in Keep your form as much as possible as you push ahead. Keep smooth to avoid slowing
down, and charge as much as you can. Use all your remaining energy. In order to keep good form, keep
your pelvis forward and your wrists cocked, and drive your knee forwards as you run. On the final sprint,
focus on the arms more so than the legs and pump them as quickly as you can to keep your legs going.
Slow as little as possible and continue going down your lane of choice until crossing the finish line.
Once you finish the race, quickly drink some water, a sports drink, or consume some carbohydrates to aid
in a full recovery in the first hour or so. Jogging may help remove lactic acid buildup in the muscles.
Remember, training for an 800m takes time and practice and to perfect yourself could take months.
Always leave plenty of time to train. Remember to build up both your stamina and endurance over several
weeks before the race and also that motivation is key to both completing training and the race. If you put
your mind to it, you can complete an 800m. Also note, everyone has their own ideas and techniques, and
you may find this method does not work for you, but you’ll never know until you try!