4 reasons all runners should consider racing an 800m

4 reasons all runners should consider racing an 800m

Alright marathoners, listen up. The 800m is widely regarded as one of the toughest distances to race. It demands a combination of speed, endurance and mental toughness. Without both physical and mental strength, it can be an incredibly challenging experience. While many runners lean towards longer distances like marathons or half marathons, the 800m offers a valuable learning experience that can benefit athletes from various backgrounds, from sprinters to distance runners.

Here are four reasons why every runner should consider racing an 800m.

sprinters on track
Photo: Unsplash/Nicolas Hoizey

Speed ​​development

The 800m is a unique distance that combines speed and endurance. It requires a perfect balance of raw speed, aerobic capacity and mental fortitude. By incorporating 800m training into your regimen, you will quickly develop both your speed and endurance. The race will also challenge your body to perform at a high intensity for a relatively short duration, tapping into your VO2 max, which can benefit your speed over longer distances.

Improve your mental toughness

The 800m is not only a test of your physical strength but also a great way to improve your mental resilience. The race requires strategic decision-making and split-second adjustments, from pacing strategies to positioning on the track. The distance demands mental toughness and adaptability, especially when your body is tired. By racing the 800m, runners can develop a resilient mindset, sharpen their race instincts, and ultimately learn to embrace extreme discomfort.

USATF Grand Prix 800m
The women’s 800m at the 2021 USATF Grand Prix in Eugene, Oregon. Photo: Kevin Morris

It’s versatile

By adding the 800m to your race repertoire, you increase your versatility as an athlete. Engaging in different race distances is essential for becoming a well-rounded runner, and the demands of the 800m can complement your training for longer distances, such as the marathon or half-marathon. The anaerobic conditioning and muscle movements required in the 800m can improve your overall running economy and enhance your efficiency to sustain faster speeds for longer.

untapped potential

Racing an 800m can often uncover hidden potential and help you push your goals or boundaries further as a runner. Even if you don’t think you’re good at it, the mental side of the 800m can lead to surprising breakthroughs in performance. Who knows? You may discover you have untapped speed and determination that can positively impact your upcoming marathon training.

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