decathlon training

How to Organize Decathlon Training

The decathlon is a two day competition consisting of 10 total events, five different events are performed each day. The first day consist of the 100 meters, long jump, shot put, high jump, and 400 meters. The second day starts with the 110 meter hurdles, followed by the discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw, and concludes with the 1,500 meters. There is a scoring table for each event based on performance, the athlete with highest 10 event point total is the overall winner of the decathlon. World Athletics (2022) states "A decathlete requires speed, explosive strength, skill and agility". It is part of the coaches job to train decathletes to improve these athletic qualities and develop the required technique for each event. 

Decathlon Training Concepts

One throw and one jump every-day for technical work

Work from heavy to light in throwing events

After every 3 weeks of training have regression week

400m training will cover the speed work and speed strength for 400m plus endurance for 1500m depending on the design of the work

Keep stats and records within multi-event athletes

Decathlon Ideas

  • Best combined event athletes are fast and explosive
  • Train to improve athletes that are fast and explosive
  • Be on the same page with terminology as your athletes
  • Focus on one to two technical skills during practice 
  • Try different phrases and ideas to fix one technical issue in practice
  • Use broad terms and ideas early in training year
  • Use specific and focused ideas in competition 
  • Simple little phrases work best in competition
  • Get feedback from your athletes 

Should combined event athletes train all of the events all the time?

Athletes should slowly learn all of the event areas, however developing strong events early can be beneficial, especially when athletes are helping the school team in junior high or high school.

Develop skills and technique to minimum base line level

  • Athletes and coaches need to understand the point system
  • Balance training to reach a baseline performance in all the events
  • Train weak events to a base line level
    • score at least  xxx points in every event
  • Least number of gains with experience are in the high jump, 100m and shot put
    • least technical of the events
  • After a baseline in all the events are established, the focus can move to specific events

Top overall athletes with strong work ethic and patience will have the best chance to succeed.

Train Common Themes with Decathletes

  • Train commonalities together in practice
  • Takeoff in the jumps
  • Approach runs (jumps and javelin)
  • Train speed for the track and power in the field events together
  • Train block starts with and without hurdles

400m Training 

400m training is the heart of any decathletes speed endurance plan

Running the 4x400m in the competition is important to improve the self-confidence of a decathlete

1500m Training

  • Do not train as a 1500m runner
  • Train the 1500m every 7-10 days
  • Sample meet preparation workout - 7-10 days from competition)
    • 800m (race pace) 1 minute rest
    • 400m (race pace) 1 minute rest
    • 300m (150m race pace plus 150m kick)

Complimentary Training

  • Multiple jumps and throws
  • Acceleration training
  • Strength training for speed and power

Coaching During the Meet

  • Limit number of cues: no more than two per event
  • Review the cues before each event
  • Fix the first technical error first
    • The back of the circle in the shot put
    • The drive phase in the long jump approach

Competition Warm Up

  • Warm up for the first event only at the start of the day
  • Stay focused between events, rest, and review event strategy
  • Use the time between events to hydrate and snack

Mini Meets and Training Sequence Simulation

  • Use mini meets with correct event sequence and modified rest periods
  • Events do not have to be exact competitive event
  • Limit mini meets because of the training intensity and volume

Sample Mini Meet

Event: 60m

15 minute rest

Event: Long Jump

Meet warm up plus 3 attempts

15 minute rest

Event: Shot Put

Meet warm up plus 3 attempts

15 minute rest

View how to develop technique in the shot put and discus throw

Event: High Jump

Meet warm up plus 3 attempts

Learn more about the jumping events

Event: 300m

Cool down 1 mile (jog easy/walk)

Training Sequence Simulation

  • Low volume with high quality training for competition preparation
  • Follow proper sequence with training
  • Not as demanding physically as the mini meet

Event: 100m 

3x30m sled pulls (2 minute rest)

10 minute rest

Event: Long Jump
3x 12 step approach (5 minute rest between approach runs)
3x 8 step long jump for distance (5 minute rest between jumps)

10 minute rest

Event: Shot Put
3x stand throw
3x mini glides with no reverse
3x glide full throw

10 minute rest

Event: 400m
1x 300 (95%) 2 minute rest
1x 150m (95%)

Cool down 1 mile (jog easy/walk)

Non-Decathlon Track and Field Meets

  • Work on weak events more often the best events
  • Try to simulate event order
  • Do not hop from event to event if possible
  • Run the 4x400m

Decathlon Competition Mindset

  • Have a plan for all the events going into the meet
  • Focus one event at a time
  • Do not reflect on a positive or negative of previous event

Safe Attempts and Planning

  • Safe attempts in the field events are ok
  • Have a just in case plan of one foul or two fouls

More Decathlon Training

Running: Train with the 400 meter runners

Example Early Season- 8x300m 3:30 rest decreases 30s each rep. 54s total / 36s 200m pace

Example Mid-Season  - 1x500m 5min. 32pace-300m 1min. 28 pace-200m 6min. 26 pace-450m 28 pace

Example Late Season - 3x3x150 3 min and 5 min. rest. 19,18,17

Jumping:  Teach the basics - focus on approach work

Example Early Season -Jumping off of boxes

Example Mid-Season   -Short approach Jumps.  Full approaches without jumping

Example Late Season - Full approaches without jumping

Throwing: Teach the basics - focus on basic movements

Example Early Season- Medicine ball work.  Balance Drills

Example Mid-Season  - Full throws with regular implements

Example Late Season – Full throw with light implements

Decathlon Training - Bring It All Together

Training Events Together

  • Long jump + Hurdles+ Pole vault
  • High jump + Javelin
  • 100m + 110 Hurdles

Training Sequence

  • 100m + Long jump
  • Shot put + High Jump
  • 110HH + Discus
  • Discus+ Pole Vault
  • Pole Vault + Javelin


The decathlon the one of the difficult athletic competitions in the world. Decathletes must be willing to train long and hard for several years. Beginning decathletes should start with a balanced training approach. More experienced athletes need to understand the point system to help focus the training system on the areas that will yield the highest gains in points. Using similar neurological systems in a session and practicing the events in competition sequence will help decathletes be more prepared for meets.

As a coach, it is important to identify the athletes with the right skills and work ethic, both are required to success.

If you want the decathlon basics, visit Wikipedia


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