This article is guest blogged by Eric Broadbent, a certified USA Track and Field Level 2 Coach, Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), holds USTFCCCA Track & Field Technical Certification, and a USA Weightlifting Sport Performance Coach.
First, click here to read Multi-Events Training Part 1
To read all his guest articles on this Blog, click here for the full list.
Multi-Events Training Part 2
Training Setup Considerations
Once general training goals and a meet schedule has been setup, the coach can sit down and finally get to one of the best parts of coaching; setting up the training plan. Every coach (hopefully) enjoys this aspect of their job, but it is very easy to find yourself second-guessing certain progressions and plans that you write up. The key with setting up and implementing the program is to allow some flexibly within it’s entirety to prep for certain external variables which will inevitably come about. The coach must believe and trust in his plan and learn from what has been implemented. Taking notes and having time to reflect on how things went are a great idea to consider so that next year or training cycle can be even better than the previous one.
Whether or not to train short to long, ends to middle, long to short, or some hybrid version of those is entirely up to the coach. For the sake of a very length discussion on this topic, I will not go into detail on this but I have always been a big fan of a short to long approach when setting up training for my multi-eventers. The key thing to consider with the training is to allow for adequate amount of time to be spent doing event specific skill work while still addressing and improving upon the most important bio-motor abilities which will enhance technical work and performance. Below is a list of technical event considerations to make. Keep in mind that these are educated suggestions but in a real world scenario perfect setup might not always be possible.
Technical Placement Considerations:
- I recommend starting practices with event specific work and potentially blending it in to the tail end of the warm-up. It is imperative that technical work be done in the absence of fatigue so the earlier in the session it is done, the better.
- Do more technical work on lower intensity days assuming that the technical work is of lower intensity or is not as taxing on the nervous system. If technical work is of higher intensity i.e. LJ approach work, then you would want to do this on a higher intensity day.
- Consider doing more technical work at the beginning of the week than at the end of the week since the athlete will most likely be more fresh.
- Make sure too much technical work is not done prior to a very important speed or hurdle session. If the plan is to do some max velocity or longer hurdle work then you want the athlete as sharp as possible going in to it.
- You should also consider coupling events that have similar training themes in to the same day. This allows the athlete to carry over what they’ve learned in one event to another event. An example of this would be the similarities seen between the last step in the javelin and the high jump.
- Don’t force all of the technical work in to one week if it doesn’t need to be. Weak events need to be present in training more often but don’t fall into the trap of thinking that everything needs to be addressed in 7 days.
- If an athlete is learning a new event or is weak in a certain area, consider doing more event specific work in the off-season or early in the pre-season to address this. Training doesn’t always need to follow a general to specific flow.
- One final consideration with the placement of technical work is to have it in the order with which the athlete will compete in those specific events in a competition. An example of this would be for a female multi-eventer to practice the shot put before doing speed endurance work for the 200.
Ok so now that a few technical considerations have been addressed, it is time to think about where to place speed, strength, power, conditioning, and recovery components. That’s a lot to think about. Here are some general considerations when it comes to placement of these different training components.
Bio-motor Training Consideration:
- Combine speed and power work in to the same training session since these training tools are both high intensity and could enhance each other within a session.
- Consider placing heavier weight room days after speed and power training sessions because they are also of higher intensity.
- lace your most important speed session in an early to mid week slot when fatigue is not super high but the athlete is still recovered enough from the previous weeks sessions or meet.
- Most high intensity days should be followed by a lower intensity recovery/general conditioning day.
- Sometimes back to back high intensity days are necessary to prepare the multi-eventer for the rigors of two days of competition.
- Take into account that most of the technical work will be power development in and of itself so do not disregard this volume when planning other power development work and overall volume for that matter.
- General Conditioning days should be placed on recovery days since this will not disrupt CNS recovery.
- Training for the 800 and 1500 should start early in the year and progress slowly so that the athlete is comfortable running at race pace for progressively longer distances. This should not take up a large chunk of the training but needs to be consistently present in the training plan.
- As speed days become increasingly harder, low intensity days need to become more about recovery. Intensity and Volume can not both continue to rise!
- Develop your athletes strength during the general and special prep phases and try and maintain it through the competition phase.
- Develop speed early in the year and continue to develop it throughout all phases of training. This is the most important component of training so it should not be neglected even during the general prep phase!
Placement of different training components is of utmost importance as well as the intensity and volume of each component. As I mentioned above, the key is to find out what works for your athletes at the time and not just do what you did last year. Stick to your guns as far as implementing certain general principles that you believe strongly in. Use progressions that make sense to you based on what you’ve learned from better coaches or past experiences, but accept that each athlete is different and their needs are specific to them.
Lastly, it is important to remember what you are training for. Planning out these various components is very important but make sure training is based around peaking and doing well at meets. That is the time for the athlete to shine and test out all that training they have been doing. If careful planning isn’t made around ensuring the athlete can be successful at meets, then you will have no idea whether the training you are doing with them is actually successful or not. Happy Planning!
In the next part I will address commonalities between different events and how they can be paired together in the training plan.
About the Author
Eric Broadbent is a certified USA Track and Field Level 2 Coach, Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), holds USTFCCCA Track & Field Technical Certification, and a USA Weightlifting Sport Performance Coach. He also has over 6 years of coaching experience including coaching at North Carolina State and West Chester University. As an athlete, he won the USATF 2012 Indoor Heptathlon and was an Olympic Trials Qualifier. That same year he represented the US in the Pan American Cup and took 2nd place. As a national level competitor he also had top 6 finishes at the 2009 and 2010 Indoor Combined Events Championship and finished 10th at the 2011 Outdoor National Championships.