Structuring decathlon training

I have spoken to 2 junior international decathletes from the same training group who have both developed patella tendonitis. From talking to them, I have learned that their coach works them very hard every day – there is no real periodization that I can see and their gym work is always the same and always full throttle.

My question is, with so many high CNS events and such a large skill component how do you handle the stresses of training 10 events at one time?



I am now thinking of starting training decatlon, but not so seriously (I am 22)…
One rule in theory of training is wave-like(volume,intensity etc) load principle, so without that you are going into overload injuries (tendonitis) or into overtraining. Periodisation is a must!
I think in decathlon training you could train all 10 activities but 1500 is a rest for you. So you can combine 1500m training like some kind of unloading (aerobic training, LA production, tempo etc)! Opininon?

duxx, I agree that 1500 training would have to be combined with some sort of tempo or unloading, like you said. The other events are all based more on shorter speed and power than the endurance of the 1500, so you’d just have to bite the bullet on that one and focus on doing extremely well on the other 9 events.

tc, I dunno how they do it, because there’s a lot of hard stuff in there. But actually I was thinking about this the other day (kind of randomly, but that’s not the point) and I’d train with the CFTS with some modifications. For example, I’d extend the tempo distances as the season progresses in order to build better aerobic capacity for the 1500m. I don’t know how effective this is, but this is what I came up with.

Monday: Short speed work with hurdles, long jump technique and approaches, work with the slider box for pole vault
Tuesday: Tempo (longer distances than normal for a sprinter), hurdle mobility drills and low-intensity walk-overs with hurdles, work on shot put technique (as if you using medicine ball throws, but with an emphasis on shot put)
Wednesday: Speed Endurance (early in the season) or Special Endurance (later in season, this is for 400m training); work on high jump technique and approaches, discus throws
Thursday: Tempo (shorter distances, like a sprinter would train), hurdle mobility, similar shot work as Tuesday
Friday: More short speed, work on pole vault, work on javelin throws
Saturday: Continuous distance run
Sunday: Off

There’d be weightlifting on Mon, Wed, and Fri, with some bodyweight stuff on Sat as well. Tue and Thu would include some GPP-type stuff, but not so much as to make the day too intense. Ab work would be done Mon-Sat.

It’s probably not ideal, but that was what I came up with. The days are basically alternating in low and high-intensity, and every event is covered at leat once during the week. I figure that a decathlete should do a lot of shorter speed work because most of the events involve some speed component over a short distance (long jump, 100m, pole vault, high jump, 100m, 110HH, javelin).

As far as your decathlete friends, I’d say find a new coach. If that’s not an option then take the heat out (as kitkat likes to say:) ) of tuesday, thursday, and saturday on their own. Instead of giving it everything make sure to leave a little in the tank, and screw what the coach says. It’s about doing what’s right in your own training to get better, and if thats what it takes then thats what you need to do.

Thanks for your ideas, this was kind of along the lines of what i was thinking. My problem was with all the field events, I’m just not sure if you can practice them at low intensity and still develop technique that will transfer to competition. With such skill based events you need to be fresh to practice but how do you stay fresh then you have so many of them.

I don’t know much about training for any of the field events but I do know that shot putters etc definitly train hard at least 3 times a week which is just unrealistic for decathlon.

Dan John’s latest Get-up has some good ideas on multi-sport program organization, you might want to look there

I have never trained a combined event athlete, but I did compete in a Decathlon once. I won’t mention my score. LOL!

Dean Macey said that the decathlon itself is not that difficult to complete, but it’s the 8-10 months of training for the 10 events that’s the difficult part.

I have to agree after doing it myself. The hardest part was committing in the 400m when your feeling tired from the other 4 events and been out on the track for several ours at that point. The next difficult part is waking up and feeling good for the 110m Hurdles. I suppose a good cool down, massage, nutrition and a good nights sleep would help a lot here.

I haven’t seen it but Cliff Revalto has a video out on training combined event athletes. He talks about what he calls “The Three C’s” of training the combined event athlete. They are;

(1) Commonality
(2) Compatibility
(3) Complimentary

A lot of events will have commonalities and complement each other. So training would be structured to train these common skills.

Macey also talked about how the running training was mainly geared towards the 400m. I think if your training for the decathlon and putting particular emphasis on the 400m in training you will have exceptional conditioning levels and the 1500m at the end of two days should not be a problem physically. Mentally it may be very tough.

There has to be recovery incorporated into a combined event athletes program like there is in any other athletes plan.

Usually decathletes work on 9 events directly, leaving the 1500 a bit behind:all the conditioning level is a byproduct of the general conditioning and event training.
a strategy you might undertake is a “block of events strategy”, that is, prioritaizing for example 3 events for some months or weeks, while retaining the others and then switching.
of course, some basci training on a few events will give the athletes a good advantage for the future.
For example, 110 hs shuold be a cornerstone of a young multi athlete, for its need of speed , strenght, balacne and power;it is also really technical.