How to run the 800m
1. The first 200 meters. Get out at a good pace. You won't have to deal with much traffic because the 800 usually has a staggered start. When you come off the first curve and you can cut in, don't immediately go to the first lane. You have the entire backstretch to find a good place to settle in. I would just aim for the start of the next curve and run in a straight line. This is called taking the tangent so you don't run any further than you have to.
2. From 200 to 400 meters. Stay relaxed and fast. Don't make any sudden bursts during this part of the race. If you feel slow, then gradually push forward. A sudden change of pace burns up too much energy at this point. If you are running smooth and fast, your first split should be a bit under an even pace. My best 800 was 1:54 in college. The split at the 400 meters was between 55 and 56 seconds.
3. From 400 to 600 meters. This is where you have to consciously pick up the pace. If you feel like your holding your pace, you are in reality slowing down! Make a move here to pick it up. Stay smooth and fast. Don't strain your face or upper body because tight muscles will slow you down. If you are a strong endurance runner, here is where you need to use that strength and pass people if they are in front of you.
4. From 600 to 800 meters. The final 200 meters of the 800 are so unbelieveably tough. Your legs are burning up. You are probably gasping for air, and you want to clench your fists and grit your teeth. Don't tighten up though. Stay as smooth as you can. Focus on keeping your running form together and push forward. Off the last turn I always imagine its a catapult or a slingshot. I put my head down and charge. Most people will slow down here because they tighten up. If you can stay smooth and keep your form together, you'll do great down the homestretch.
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