This thread is starting to ask an important question for elite 800m racing, which is: how do you move a more 400m person up to the 800m? Apologizes to those of you outside the US, but I will use our homeland woes as my examples. Johnny Gray had excellent speed, but he also ran a 3:38 1500m. He definately worked strength. I think it is fairly clear that you need to be a "skinny" 400m guy rather than a thicker one....you just cant lug around a big set of quads and arms efficiently.
Mark Everett had incredible speed....he split 43.3 and earned a gold medal on one of the World Championship 4x400 relays in addition to the bronze he earned in (I think) 1995. He was consistent at a US level, fairly inconsistent at an international level, and PR was 1:43.2..To my knowledge he never was a sub 4 minute miler (I dont ever even remember hearing whether he ran a decent mile).
How do you move up a 400m guy? Borza is the best roadmap we have given his overwhelming speed. He also really races well, keeps inside his zone until he can unleash his kick. If you saw this past Olympics, he had a rough heat that favored the strength runners, and he came up short in a tactical 1:46 ish race after laying out a 1:42 a month earlier.
Even if you have a great deal of speed, I think you have to commit to strength training eventhough it will be frustrating and slow at first. Good coaching needs to play a part here...it is not just writing the workouts but recognizing the talents of certain athletes quickly and encouraging them to move up in events so that they can be more competitive. Not only do you need to be a good assessor of talents, but you need to be able to know the athlete well enough to be convincing (few athletes want to move up and do the extra work). There is risk that it wont work, and you need a source of confidence.
I new some that had aerobic talent, and those who greatly improved aerobically under structured training. Some dont, and that is something worth learning....if you cant develope aerobically to running around a 15:30 5k I just dont believe you are going to be able to break 1:47. Not to say that 1:47-1:49 wont make you a very competitive university level 800m runner, but you will not be able to compete at the national level in the US.
Still Searching for someone out there to keep on Symmonds heels while he is in his prime.