This post was guest blogged by Kenneth Edwards Jr. of Championship Circle.
These are the events on Day 1. Day 2 events will be covered tomorrow.
The Decathlon crowns the World’s Greatest Athlete. Why? Because the Decathlon is a true test of every attribute of an athlete.
The Decathlon tests strength, mental toughness, consistency, commitment, technique, speed movements, jumping ability, flexibility, throwing ability, technique, hand-eye & hand-implement coordination, explosive power, endurance, agility, heart, and much more.
There is no other single event that tests the ability and talent of a person in every way as the Decathlon does.
So, what are the secrets to success in this challenging and grueling event?
Firstly, you must look at each event and determine…
What does it take to be great at that event?
What are the fundamentals to success in that event?
What is the consistent key across the board, regardless of technique that makes champions in that event?
Decathlon Day 1
A test of speed, which is defined as Stride Length x Stride Frequency. You must find the optimal stride length that allows for maximal stride turnover. You must also allow the sprint run to go through it’s phases: block start, acceleration, and a few “ins and outs” to keep it simple.
(* Note – An “in and out” is a max effort followed by a “free fall” or relaxed sprint in order to maintain the greatest amount of speed for the longest amount of time. Humans, on average, only have about 6 seconds of all out max sprint before you need to rest.)
One last comment: make sure that your feet are landing right underneath you, or slightly in front, while maintaining a slight lean forward. In order to accomplish this, you will find yourself running with good knee lift, or what we call “front side running”. Also, get your feet on and off the ground as quickly as possible.
Understand this: This is the “long jump”! A jump for distance. I find so many decathletes, especially young ones, talking about hitting the board in an effort to obtain height. Once again, I say this is event is measured for distance, not height. So, your effort off the board should be out not up. All of the most successful jumps in history have had a very low angle of launch.
As in all jumps, the most important aspect of the long jump is the approach. You’ll want to carry good speed down the runway and be consistent with hitting the board for take off. Focus on rhythm. Be tall at the take off board, and four steps out from take off, you should not be looking at the board anymore whatsoever.
At landing, your center of gravity should be as low as possible. You can do this by getting your legs extended out in front of you and leaning the chest over the thighs.
The test of strength and explosive power. So, firstly, spend a solid amount of time increasing your strength and power.
Focus on these lifts: Bench, Squats, Dead-lifts, Clean & Jerk, and Snatch.
Let’s address: What effects the distance of all throws? It is the angle of release, the height of release, and most importantly the speed of the implement at release.
As far as technique for the shot goes…Well, there are two main ways to do it: the Glide and the Spin.
In the glide, your focus is to start the acceleration of the shot to the center of the ring, then to seamlessly put yourself in a good power position to continue the acceleration of the shot and the throw side of the body, while blocking or stopping the opposite side.
In the spin technique, you are essentially doing the same thing, except you are using a rotation to accomplish this goal instead of a linear motion.
You’ll find it easier to be consistent with the glide because there are less moving parts, but you’ll find more potential to increase the speed of the shot in the spin technique.
The key to success in the high jump is understanding how to use the approach run and a proper take off to jump high.
Firstly, the high jump approach is run in the shape of a “J”. The bottom of the “J” is where the mat would be. When you are carrying great speed into the bottom of the “J” part of the approach, you will find yourself in a interesting lean position away from the cross bar.
This may seem weird at first, but when you take off in this position, you will shoot up into the air and because of the forward motion and speed that has already been built up, you will be carried over the bar.
This is the key. A fast approach run, a good lean away from the bar due to centrifugal force, and a quick yet powerful takeoff. You will need to prepare the legs to handle this take off. Squats, power cleans, and plyometrics will help you in this area.
The test of speed endurance. The great 400m coach, Clyde Hart, once said that the reason M. Johnson is the best 400m runner on the track was because of his ability to run faster than anyone on the track for the longest amount of time.
That’s the key to the 400m. To train yourself to maintain the fastest speed for the longest amount of time.
I like to use combination interval training for this. I combine interval training with event specific training.
On one training day, run 8 x 100m at race pace. Then, increase the distance as you find yourself consistently hitting your race pace times, while maintaining form. As you increase your distance, you can do less reps.
Take 5-10 minutes rest. Soon, you find yourself easily running and hitting your goals in the quarter mile.
Then, on a second running workout, run intervals between 100 – 200m. This distance is good because it works the ATP and lactic acid systems. Run between 76-88% of race pace with little rest between reps. As you near peak time, increase your speed and do less reps and sets. Also, take a longer rest between sets.
About the Author
Discover How-To, step-by-step Sports Instruction for any competitive or recreation sport in the world, available 24/7/365 at www.ChampionshipCircle.com. Kenney Jr. is the director of Championship Circle, where you can get all sports instruction you need anytime, from anywhere!