Running the 800 meters on the track is one of the most grueling middle distance events in high school athletics. If you’re looking to find out what makes for a competitive 800 meter time for a high school athlete, you’ve come to the right place.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: For high school boys, a good 800 meter time is under 2 minutes and 5 seconds. For high school girls, aim for under 2 minutes and 25 seconds.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down what makes for an excellent, good, average, and poor 800 meter time based on age and gender. We’ll also overview training and race strategies to help you run your fastest 800.

Background on the 800 Meters

The 800 meters is a middle-distance running event that is part of track and field competitions. It is run on a track and consists of two laps around the track. The event requires a combination of speed, endurance, and tactical strategy, making it one of the most challenging races in athletics.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Aaron (@aaronsahlman)

Distance and Race Format

The 800 meters is approximately half a mile or 0.5 kilometers in distance. Athletes start from staggered positions on the track, with each runner assigned a lane. The race begins with a staggered start, and athletes typically try to maintain their position while conserving energy for a strong finish.

The event is known for its fast pace and close finishes, often resulting in exciting and unpredictable races.

During the race, athletes must navigate the challenging task of balancing their speed and endurance. They need to maintain a fast pace to stay competitive, but also need to pace themselves to avoid burning out too early.

The 800 meters requires a delicate balance of speed and stamina, making it a mentally and physically demanding race.

Anaerobic Nature of the Event

The 800 meters is considered an anaerobic event, meaning it primarily relies on the body’s anaerobic energy systems. Anaerobic energy systems provide energy for short bursts of high-intensity activity, such as sprinting.

This is in contrast to aerobic energy systems, which provide energy for longer-duration, lower-intensity activities like distance running.

Due to its anaerobic nature, the 800 meters requires athletes to generate a significant amount of power and speed. It demands a high level of cardiovascular fitness, as well as strong muscular endurance.

Athletes need to train specific energy systems to improve their performance in this event, focusing on both speed and endurance.

It is important to note that good 800 meter times can vary depending on factors such as age, gender, and level of competition. High school athletes, for example, may have different time standards compared to collegiate or professional athletes.

It is always a good idea to consult official guidelines and benchmarks set by relevant athletic associations to determine what constitutes a good 800 meter time for high school athletes.

800 Meter Times for High School Boys

Excellent: Sub-2:00

For high school boys, an excellent 800 meter time is considered to be sub-2:00. This means that the runner is able to complete the race in under two minutes. Achieving this time requires a combination of speed, endurance, and strategic race tactics.

Runners who can consistently finish with a sub-2:00 time are often among the top performers in their region or state.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Wake Track (@waketrack)

Good: 2:00-2:05

A good 800 meter time for high school boys falls within the range of 2:00 to 2:05. This indicates that the runner is able to complete the race within two to two and a half minutes. Achieving this time requires a solid level of fitness and a strong understanding of pacing.

Runners in this range are often competitive in their meets and can contribute valuable points to their team’s overall score.

Average: 2:05-2:10

An average 800 meter time for high school boys typically falls within the range of 2:05 to 2:10. This means that the runner is able to complete the race within two and a half to just over two minutes and ten seconds.

While not as fast as the excellent or good range, an average time still showcases a respectable level of ability and commitment to the sport. These runners may not always finish among the top competitors but can still contribute to their team’s overall success.

Poor: Over 2:10

A poor 800 meter time for high school boys is considered to be over 2:10. This means that the runner takes more than two minutes and ten seconds to complete the race. It is important to note that this classification does not imply a lack of effort or dedication on the part of the athlete.

Each individual has their own strengths and areas for improvement, and a slower time in the 800 meter race does not diminish their contribution to the team or their potential for growth.

It’s important to remember that these classifications are general guidelines and can vary depending on factors such as age, training background, and competition level. It’s always a good idea for athletes to consult with their coaches and set individual goals based on their own abilities and progress.

800 Meter Times for High School Girls

Excellent: Sub-2:20

For high school girls, an excellent 800 meter time falls under the sub-2:20 category. This means that the athlete is able to complete the race in less than 2 minutes and 20 seconds. Achieving this time requires a combination of speed, endurance, and strategy.

Girls who can consistently run sub-2:20 times are often considered top performers in their age group. They excel in both track and field events and are highly sought after by college recruiters.

Good: 2:20-2:25

A good 800 meter time for high school girls is between 2 minutes and 20 seconds and 2 minutes and 25 seconds. Girls who fall into this category are still considered above average and have the potential to improve their times with continued training and dedication.

These athletes have a solid foundation of speed and endurance and can compete competitively in local and regional competitions. With proper coaching and a focused training regimen, they have the potential to reach higher levels of performance.

Average: 2:25-2:30

The average 800 meter time for high school girls ranges from 2 minutes and 25 seconds to 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Girls in this category are typically able to maintain a consistent pace throughout the race but may not have the same level of speed and endurance as those in the previous categories.

While they may not be the fastest on the track, they still play an important role in their teams and contribute to their overall success.

Poor: Over 2:30

Times over 2 minutes and 30 seconds are considered poor for high school girls running the 800 meter race. Athletes in this category may struggle with maintaining a consistent pace or lack the necessary speed and endurance to compete at a higher level.

However, it’s important to note that every athlete’s journey is unique, and with proper training and determination, they can work towards improvement.

It’s important to remember that these time categories are not set in stone and can vary depending on the level of competition and individual circumstances. It’s always best to consult with coaches and trainers for guidance on setting realistic goals and improving performance.

How to Train for the 800 Meters

Build a Base with Aerobic Running

When training for the 800 meters, it is important to start by building a strong aerobic base. This can be achieved through consistent and regular running at a moderate pace. Aerobic running helps to improve your endurance, allowing you to maintain a faster pace for longer periods of time.

Aim to run at least three to four times a week, gradually increasing your mileage over time. This will help to develop your cardiovascular system and prepare your body for the demands of the 800-meter race.

Add Speed and Tempo Work

In addition to building your aerobic base, it is important to incorporate speed and tempo work into your training regimen. Speed work involves shorter, faster intervals that help to improve your overall running speed. These can include sprints, intervals, and hill repeats.

Tempo runs, on the other hand, are longer runs at a steady pace that help to improve your lactate threshold and teach your body to sustain a faster pace for a longer period of time.

One effective way to incorporate speed and tempo work is through interval training. This involves alternating between periods of high-intensity running and periods of recovery. For example, you could run 400 meters at a fast pace, followed by a 200-meter recovery jog.

Repeat this sequence several times during your training session.

Train Specifically for the 800

As you progress in your training, it is important to start incorporating workouts that are specific to the 800 meters. This can include race-pace workouts, where you run at your target race pace for a specific distance or time.

For example, you could aim to run 600 meters at your goal 800-meter pace, followed by a short recovery period, and then repeat the sequence a few times.

Another important aspect of training specifically for the 800 meters is working on your race strategy. This involves practicing your pacing, knowing when to make a move, and how to handle different parts of the race.

By simulating race scenarios in your training, you can better prepare yourself mentally and physically for the demands of the 800-meter race.

Remember, consistency and dedication are key when it comes to training for the 800 meters. Be sure to listen to your body, rest when needed, and gradually increase the intensity and volume of your workouts.

With proper training and preparation, you can improve your 800-meter time and achieve your goals on the track.

800 Meter Race Strategies

Start Fast But Under Control

When it comes to the 800 meter race, starting fast is crucial. However, it is important to find a balance between a quick start and maintaining control. Athletes should avoid going all out right at the beginning, as this can lead to burnout later in the race.

Instead, they should aim to establish a strong pace from the start, gradually increasing their speed as the race progresses. By starting fast but under control, athletes can set themselves up for a successful race.

Maintain Pace in the Middle

The middle part of the 800 meter race is often where athletes face the biggest challenge. It is important to maintain a consistent pace during this portion of the race to avoid exhaustion. One effective strategy is to focus on maintaining a steady rhythm and stride length.

This can help athletes conserve energy and prevent the onset of fatigue. Additionally, staying mentally strong and maintaining a positive mindset can make a significant difference in pushing through the middle part of the race.

Finish Strong

The final stretch of the 800 meter race is where athletes can truly showcase their strength and determination. It is important to save some energy for the last 200 meters, as this is where many races are won or lost. Athletes should dig deep and give it their all during this final push.

Strategies such as increasing stride frequency, pumping the arms, and staying focused on the finish line can help athletes finish strong and achieve their best possible time.


Running an 800 meter race in under 2 minutes as a male or under 2:30 as a female is an impressive accomplishment for any high school track athlete. While talent plays a role, proper training and race strategies are critical to maximizing your ability and running your fastest time.

With a good training plan focused on building an aerobic base, speed development, and anaerobic conditioning, you can steadily drop your 800 meter time. Work on getting out fast but under control, maintaining pace through the middle, and squeezing every ounce out of yourself in the last 200 meters.

Keep chasing that PR, and enjoy the thrill of the 800!

Similar Posts