Competing in the Decathlon is the ultimate challenge for senior male and female athletes. The competition is against oneself, and the scoring tables aim to score more points than anyone else. It is the supreme test of mind and body, challenging the person's character, attitude, determination, and physical abilities. It is impossible to 'tame' the event because nobody has ever achieved the perfect score (although some have got close) - there is always room for improvement and progress.
The Decathlon (10 events) for Men is held on two consecutive days in the following order:
The Decathlon (10 events) for Women is held on two consecutive days in the following order:
When training for the decathlon, athletes will work on techniques and conditioning, during which each event sets its significant physical demands.
The elements in each of the combined events and the key physical demands of those elements are detailed in the following table:
Speed and strength (power) are vital, so it seems reasonable to conclude that successfully combined event athletes must be fast and robust. The predominant requirements of the decathlete are mobility, skill, speed and explosive strength.
The long-term planning of combined events includes the plan of technique and strength conditioning. This concept is genuine for athletes of all ages - technique is dove-tailed with conditioning, but varying degrees depending on age.
For younger athletes (13 to 15), during early training, athletes should work on the simple disciplines, ones that are more 'natural' to learn, such as sprinting, hurdling, long jump and high jump.
Later training (15 to 18 years) should include more complex events such as shot, javelin and pole vault events that are more demanding.
Conditioning should take the form of, primarily, bodyweight circuits and running, bearing in mind young athletes will be developing a fair amount of strength, agility and endurance by practicing the events themselves.
For senior and top-level athletes, conditioning should be worked on more extensively than technique.
In 1997, Denise Lewis trained six days a week, and the critical element for Denise was conditioning, which underpinned the whole training program throughout the year. A weekly schedule would include:
Mobility underpins the conditioning program and includes general and specific exercises.
The Early Years
Tony is a Senior British Athletics coach with many years of experience coaching young and senior athletes in combined events. The following is some advice from Tony in introducing young novice athletes to the Combined Events.
A training regime for a novice multi-eventer might be two technical sessions and a running session on every training night/day e.g.
Running sessions are based on 400 metres training but with much less volume and are athlete-specific.
The fun begins as a coach, and athletes must start fitting in basic weights, strength, mobility, conditioning, GCSE exams, A levels, and girlfriends! etc.
The basic premise that I would work on would be to improve the weakest events first but continue to develop the other events simultaneously.
Coordination training (skill work) should be done predominantly during the early years (13-18 years)
Speed, particularly running speed, can be ideally developed during the early years (13-18 years), but maximum strength training should be undertaken almost exclusively by top-level athletes.
Hard anaerobic endurance training is not appropriate for younger athletes and should only be reserved for top-level athletes.
Coaches with young athletes must work primarily on skills, technique and speed training. Training athletes to become stronger can take place at a later stage.
If coaches try to develop a robust young athlete and ignore developing skills and techniques, an accelerated improvement will be initially followed by a 'stunted' development.
If the skills and abilities are laid down at these young ages, then long-term improvement will ensue.
Combined event athletes must develop high levels of coordination before engaging in strength conditioning work.
For senior athletes, a very high emphasis is placed on strength conditioning, and technical work takes a subsidiary role during the winter.
Points Calculator - Combined Events (Male)
Points Calculator - Combined Events (Female)
The scoring tables for specific boys and girls combined events (80 metres & 110 metres Hurdles boys, 800 metres boys and 75 metres & 80 metres hurdles for girls) are not based on a polynomial equation so a simple algorithm cannot be used to determine the points. Copy of these tables is available from Neuff Athletic Equipment.
Rules of Competition
The competition rules for this event are available from:
If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is: