Best way to approach training for the 800m is by spending your general preparation period (early off-season) putting in as many miles as you can reasonably do. For a HS level runner 20-40 miles/week is generally good enough. If you can put 300 miles into a 10 week period that would be perfect, from then on it is about maintaining your aerobic fitness through your GPP into your Specific Preparation Period (SPP). You do this by running not as many miles, but harder efforts over shorter distances than 5k @ 5K pace. This is continuous tempo training and you augment this by adding an 8-10 mile run in that same week. If you did 30 miles/week over 5 days/week and now you get down to 12-15 miles per week over 4 days of running. When you start your SPP usually Jan 1. is a good start date, you start to add in plyos, 1K intervals, 200m repeats, flying sprints into your routine 1 time a week for all this. During GPP and SPP you should be some sort of resistance training and/or general strength along with core training. Your mileage now should be down to 10-12 miles a week including track sessions. By mid Feb you will be able to do a decent 800m indoors, at this time you stop for 2 weeks to recover till march 1 by utilizing 3 active rest days per week, each time working something different. This should put you into peak indoor shape, now the GS, Strength, Plyos, and track work should be tested with 2 different Time Trials at 200m and 600m. These 2 things will tell you basically how fast you can run an 800 in and the rate at which you lose speed over the course of a run. 600TT should have splits for every 200m, but it is best done with them at every 100m and even better at every 50m. If your speed is good, but deaccelerate too much your mileage needs to be up again and emphasis on local muscular endurance should occur in practice. If your speed is ok, but you deaccelerate only very little, you start emphasizing speed and power into your program. If your speed is worse than ok then forget about 800m, that means 200m has to be sub 26s around March 1, for a girl it has to be sub 31s. Otherwise you cannot be a competitive 800m runner in HS. Once you get in season, training is done by feel, but most of it falls into speed endurance, Special Endurance 1, and Special endurance 2 worrkouts.
I read this thread because I am starting to develop more 800m girls. Also, I am in the process of training someone to be ready for her school tryouts in the fall.
I have two separate 400/800 types. Those that ran XC (800m types that CAN step up to the 1600), and those that do not run XC (800m types that normally step down to the 400m, and/or those who also play another fall sport). After XC/Fall season is over with, between then and March (beginning of outdoor season), what should I focus on? Here is a sample week I’ve thought about for SPP. Coaches, what do you think?
Monday – 3-4 x 1000m @ 75% 800m pace w/4 minutes rest
Tuesday – 3 mile run @ 8:00 mile pace
Wednesday – 8 x 150m @ 80-85% w/4 minutes rest
Thursday – 5 mile run (easy pace)
Friday – 600m, 500m, 400m, 300m, 200m, 100m w/ 60 seconds rest per 100m @ 75% 400m pace