I did know that plan A is the better plan, actually, it is the only plan since plan B is more of a failed plan. But, I thought it might be better to post it as a question since I did want feedback.
With exception of my first 400, my 200's were faster than my 400's — but only slightly. My last three 400's were 74, 74, 76. I don't know if the 76 was due to physical fatigue or mental fatigue at seeing him run away from me. I can only guess that his 400's were around 70 by the distance that I trailed him.
It's been awhile since I've done any reading about intervals. Perhaps I need to do some reading to remind myself of my purpose when I hit the track. 8×400 was fairly arbitrary as far as I was concerned. I have read about doing 5k or 3 miles worth of intervals, but I am probably not ready for that much volume and it also would take more time than I have available.
I did know that it is best to be able to follow the plan, but I also figure that so long as I get some hard work in, I get some benefit. I just like being more controlled on the first rep and perhaps the first two. I feel like that results in a better peak later in the workout.
I like your ideas for using the staggers. I also thought that I might propose that we take turns setting the pace and insist that I set the pace for the first rep. I really do think that we're fairly evenly matched, but if he insists on setting the faster pace from the outset, then using the staggers will probably be the best option.
I think that I was also taken off guard by the pace that he set. Prior to showing up for the intervals, it sounded as if we both expected me to be the one setting the faster pace — if only based upon recent race results. So, I was surprised to find myself struggling to keep up. But, now I realize that he was setting a pace that he could not maintain through eight 400's either. It was only awhile after the workout that I realized that he was probably just running too fast and I should have stuck to my planned pace and let him run what he wanted to run. Then, I might have gotten in eight 400's. I'll be prepared next time.