How to Run Faster 800m Dash + Race Tips & Strategy!

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How to Run a Faster 800m

Three Parts:

If you’ve hit a plateau in your 800m (1/2 mile) time, you can adjust your training to break through your wall and run a faster 800m. With the proper training and diet, you can increase your personal record and improve your run.


Prepping Your Body for a Faster Run

  1. Eat the right diet.By improving your eating habits, you will decrease your body fat and fatigue, while gaining muscle and endurance. Not eating right could be what is holding you back from breaking your 800m record.
    • Eat a variety of wholesome foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats.This will improve your body composition. Increase protein and the right amount of carbohydrates, as these will provide your body with the nutrients to build muscle and to give your body energy.
      • If you’re training for 30-45 minutes, shoot for about 3 grams (0.11 oz) of carbs on training days.
      • If you’re training for 46-60 minutes, shoot for about 5 grams (0.18 oz) of carbs on training days.
    • Avoid processed high-sugar and high-sodium foods. These will hinder your body from running efficiently.
    • Eat the right pre and post-workout carbohydrate-rich snacks. These should be consumed an hour before working out and within 30 minutes after a workout. Bananas, protein shakes and non-caffeinated energy bars are ideal.
  2. Keep properly hydrated.Your body needs about two liters on an average day to stay properly hydrated.On days when running, you need to drink extra water to compensate for your output and prevent yourself from slowing down. Don’t just chug extra water though; listen to your body and drink when thirsty.
    • Pre and post-workout hydration is vital. An hour before you start your run, try to drink about 16 ounces (450 g) of water. Drink the same amount of water after running.
    • Look for signs of dehydration. Feeling thirsty or experiencing dry mouth, headaches, light-headedness, lack of urination and constipation are all the body's ways of letting you know that you are dehydrated.If you begin to experience any of these symptoms, it's best to increase your water intake.
  3. Stretch properly.By stretching properly, you can improve your stride and your stride length (increasing your speed). Stretching before and after your workout will also help to prevent injury.
    • Muscles to stretch include your leg muscles (hamstrings, quadriceps and adductors) and your lower body (hip flexors and glutes). Try to add two or three longer stretch routines a week to your workout schedule.
    • Do some yoga to help you with your flexibility.
  4. Set a training schedule.You won’t be able to run a faster 800m in one day. Just like training for a marathon, the best way to achieve your goals is to set a schedule. By following a training plan you can perform at a peak performance, even when running a shorter distance.
    • Set an end date and work backward. Even with an 800m run, pick a date that you want to accomplish this run with your best time ever.
    • Do one or two quality and intense workouts a week. These include running hills or tempo runs.
    • Pick rest days where you can do some other sort of moderate exercise like yoga to stay limber. Ensure that you get enough sleep before the race.

Training Your Body

  1. Understand the mechanics of your run.The 800m run is a middle-distance race. These rely on the runner being able to maintain a fast pace throughout the race and then being able to sprint in the last stretch. Working out is going to require you to hone in on the following three abilities:
    • Develop middle-distance running mechanics. This is also known as speed-stamina. You're going to need to establish a fast pace for the beginning of the race while maintaining control of your body. The goal is to be able to maintain a comfortable, but fast pace throughout the run, keeping in mind that you will exert a lot of energy in a full sprint at the end of the race.
    • Learn to run in runner traffic. People who run an 800m race will have to deal with runner traffic on the inside of the track. Train yourself to minimize being caught in the pack by running in groups to learn how to be conscious of your running form without clipping the person in front of you.
    • Run anaerobically. The last half (350-400 meters) of the race, your body will often feel fatigue from your almost sprint-like speed. Build this ability by sprinting 400m at a faster than normal pace; then walking for 2 minutes before repeating. This interval training will improve your anaerobic fitness.
  2. Run often.Run most days, alternating 400m and 1600m distances.
    • Focus on what attributes best match the 800m. Use the 400m to develop speed in sprinting. Use the 1600m to develop a high-speed endurance pace.
    • Refer to your training schedule. Remember to take rest days to stretch and continue eating a healthy diet to fuel for your next run. Also go on runs that will train your body in different ways, like hill running to improve leg muscles and cardiovascular strengthening.
  3. Rest and recover.Always follow hard days with easier days. After a hard workout, give your body time to recover by either resting or doing a lighter workout.
    • While you typically want to be somewhat active on rest days, you also need to allow your body to truly rest. This means that you get enough sleep and keep a consistent sleep schedule.
    • Don’t run on an injury. If you experience an injury, stop training, and see a doctor so you don’t injure yourself further.

Running The Race

  1. Hydrate and energize your body.An hour before the race, have a high-carbohydrate snack and 16 ounces (450 g) of water.
    • You want to give your body the right nutrition to energize, but you don’t want to overdo it by eating too much. Before running, eat a snack instead of a whole meal as that means fewer calories your body has to try and process during your race.
    • Consider fruit or yogurt, or a cereal bar to give you energy without making you feel bloated and sluggish.
  2. Stretch your muscles.Make sure that your body is loose and ready to run.
    • With a quick, proper stretch, you can loosen up your muscles and increase your stride while decreasing risk of injury and cramping during your run.
    • Stretch your hip flexors, thighs, hamstrings, calves, and lower back.
  3. Run your 800m.A basic rule in middle distance races (800 and 1600 meters) is that a runner must maintain a fast pace and maintain enough energy to have two bursts of acceleration.
    • Start of the race off right. Run fast at a speed that you can maintain well. Consistency is key here.
    • Be smart in the middle of the race. Be conscious of the other runners and your changes in pace. You will need the energy to sprint at the beginning and end of the race. Use the first acceleration to merge into the inner lanes and get as close to the front of the pack as you can.
    • Be conscious of when you are over exerting yourself so that you have enough energy for the second acceleration at the end of the race. You want to maintain a consistent pace until it’s time to accelerate; don’t let other runners affect your pace.
    • In the last 200m or 300m, begin to sprint at full pace. This is where the anaerobic training comes in. Push your body, using your last acceleration to pass the pack leaders and win the race.
  4. Cool down.Properly cooling down after your run is just as important as your training. A proper cool will prevent injury and help ease your body back into a normal state.
    • Walk for a couple of minutes, starting at a brisker pace then transitioning to a slower walk to allow your heart to ease back into its normal rhythm.
    • Stretch again for 5-10 minutes to ensure that your muscles don’t tighten up too much from working so hard.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    If I get really tired in the last lap, should I go slow or should I just give it my all?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Give it everything you've got. Don't drop off until the finish.
  • Question
    If I can't feel my legs, what should I do?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Carry on pushing, and don't give up. Take deep breaths, and at the end, walk around and stretch.
  • Question
    How do I maintain good oxygenated breathing?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Breathe heavily from the start of the race to the end, as doing this helps to build up oxygen in your lungs.
  • Question
    If I have good stamina, how do I improve my speed?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Do fast runs at moderate distances (usually about 3 miles) as well as regular sprint work (400s or 800s).
  • Question
    How do I run 800m in less than 2:30 -- any tips?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If I am doing a race, go a little faster in the beginning to get ahead of most people. Once you have done that, slow down and properly pace yourself. Take deep breaths so you do not run out of energy, but most of all, how fast or how long you sprint at the end. Just train, practice breathing and sprinting at the end.
  • Question
    What should I do if I experience heartburn or an asthma attack while I'm in a race?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If you experience heartburn, try push through it. It might slow you down, but don't let it stop you. If you experience an asthma attack, however, stop immediately and use a rescue inhaler. Don't run for the rest of the day.
  • Question
    Should I go normal speed to start off with, then at the end sprint?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    You can do that but make sure you keep at a steady pace for the start so that you don't get tired when you try to sprint near the end.
  • Question
    If I have good stamina but short stepping, then how do I get longer steps?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Just focus on striding, this helps you take longer steps while running any event.
  • Question
    How do I change my pace in the middle of the race without running out of energy or letting my legs get tired?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If you think that you're keeping pace on the 2nd lap you're not. You are actually slowing down so try to speed up a bit. Your legs will get tired if you're running the hardest you can. When you finish remember to stretch.
  • Question
    I get a pain in my side when I run. Do you have any suggestions for this?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    From a guess, that pain you feel in your side is probably a side ache, known colloquially as a "stitch". This answer space isn't large enough to detail the actions to take, but do check out: How to Prevent Side Aches for detailed help on this matter.
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Quick Summary

To run a faster 800m, create a training schedule for yourself, alternating 400m distances to develop sprinting speed with 1600m distances to develop a high-speed endurance pace. Stretch properly before each training session, stay hydrated, and give yourself off-days so your muscles can rest and recover. On the day of the race, have a high-carbohydrate snack and 16 ounces of water about an hour before starting your warmup stretches!

Did this summary help you?
  • Always stretch before and after running, so you don't damage any muscles.
  • Maintain a healthy diet, to ensure your body can perform at its best.
  • Make sure you have the correct running shoes.
  • Find someone with a little faster time to stick close to during the race.
  • Make sure as you run your second lap that you know when to start to run at a faster pace. This will help you to maintain your winning spot.
  • Don't miss workouts.
  • Don't overexert yourself, or you might get injured. Start slow and work your way up and you will get better at it.
  • Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • Race longer distances, so that when you do 800m, you’ll ensure you have the endurance.
  • Sprint the first 200m, then keep a good fast speed, with long strides for the rest of the race, until you reach your last 200m, then sprint those.
  • When you see the finish line, sprint as hard as you can, especially if someone is just ahead of you.
  • Sprint through the finish line. Don’t stop once you’ve hit the line; keep sprinting and gradually slow down.
  • Be calm. You tend to run out of breath more easily if you are stressed or nervous when you are taking your spot and doing the race. Calm down, but try hard.
  • When starting the race, don't zoom off. Keep a steady pace, so that after the first lap the race begins!
  • To change your pace effectively, the best thing to do is just grit your teeth and push through it. Remember you won't win races unless you push really hard, so practice speed-work and hill repeats during training to build up muscle and endurance!


  • If you start to experience pain in your upper body, severe joint pain, or nausea, you should stop running. Pushing yourself too hard when you experience severe pain can exacerbate an injury.

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