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    Training secrets of Olympic athletes - Blog.

    The latest news, videos and workouts from the Escape Fitness Team.

    Training secrets of Olympic athletes

    Athletics at the Summer Olympics includes track and field, road running, and race walking. Sounds like we can all learn plenty from the way Olympic athletes train!

    What Is Athletics?

    “Athletics” at the Olympic Games is an umbrella term which incorporates a range of events. Athletics could refer to track and field, race walking, or road running. In the past, it's included cross country too (and still does at amateur and club level).

    Personally, I’m a huge fan of track and field, particularly the combined events of decathlon and heptathlon. What's your favourite athletics event?


    Training secrets of Olympic Athletes


    Athletics was featured in the very first Summer Olympics in 1896 (the birth of the modern Games). It’s the original and fundamental display of athleticism: speed, power, strength, and endurance. The ultimate showcase of what the human body is capable of.


    Did You Know?

    I love this Olympics fact! At today’s Olympic Games, no other sport offers more medals than all the sports under the Athletics umbrella. Out of a whopping 141, 47 of them are gold!


    The Showpiece Of The Summer Games

    Ever noticed how designers of the Olympic Games timetable and architecture place athletics at the centre of things. The layout of the track for track and field events makes the venue a natural centrepiece. And the 4 x 100m relay and marathon are always crowd-pleasers, attracting interest even from people who profess to hate sports. And who doesn’t love the 100m final?

    The current list of athletics events on the Olympic Games schedule has changed several times over the decades. And it differs from the events you can do as an amateur, or elite club level athlete.

    Athletics is governed by the IAAF, with different countries having their own national governing bodies. There are 214 member federations, in 6 area associations: the EAA (European Athletic Association), the AAA (Asian Athletics Association), the CAA (Confederation of African Athletics), CONSUDATLE (the Confederación Sudamericana de Atletismo) in South America, the OAA (Oceania Athletics Association), and the NACACAA (North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association).


    Training secrets of Olympic Athletes


    Paralympic Athletics

    The 2016 Summer Paralympic Games will feature a huge range of athletics, track and field sport. At Paralympic level, Olympic athletes are classified by disability to ensure that people with a similar disability compete in the same event. The classifications include 11-3 (visual impairments), 20 (intellectual disability), 31-38 (cerebral palsy), 41-46 (which includes amputation) and 51-58 (wheelchair). Paralympic athletics is governed by the IPC, which represents 174 national paralympic committees.


    Athletics For Beginners

    The current list of athletics events on the Olympic Games schedule has changed several times over the decades. And it differs from the events you can do as an amateur, or elite club level athlete.

    Athletics is governed by the IAAF, and the national governing body in the UK is British Athletics. By getting involved in training at your local athletics club, you’ll have access to all the sports which make up “athletics”. That's everything under the banners of track and field, combined sports, running, race walking, and cross country running.

    If you want to run, jump, or throw (or do all three!) then look into athletics at club level. Everybody has to start somewhere. And it’s never too late. Athletics is definitely not just for talented teens.

    Training secrets of Olympic Athletes


    Run, Jump, Throw

    All athletics events come down to running, jumping, throwing... or some combination of those skills. But you don’t have to be super-fast, strong, or explosive to be decent at athletics. Athletics competitors tend to have good muscular endurance and cardiovascular fitness. But the great news is that both of those can be developed as you get fitter. Olympic athletes train in the gym, with barbells and plates (like strength athletes). They’ll also use functional training tools like battle ropes and Bulgarian bags. And of course they will incorporate kit like speed ladders to train specific skills like agility.


    Training secrets of Olympic Athletes


    Learning your sport, and training for your event, will build muscular and CV fitness as you go along. Athletics competitors across all the different events will use a variety of tools to get fit and hone their skills. So the take-home advice is: give it a go and get started!


    Training secrets of Olympic Athletes


    Great Days In Olympics Athletics

    Who can forget “Super Saturday” at the London 2012 Games, which saw Team GB’s Mo Farah, Greg Rutherford and Jessica Ennis-Hill winning three golds in just 44 minutes! Will it ever happen again?

    What’s your favourite Olympic moment? We remember Michael Johnson taking home two gold medals at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and smashing two World records as he did so (in the 400m and 200m). And Usain Bolt breaking the World and Olympic records in the 100m and 200m track events at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Athletics always seems to give us some truly memorable moments!


    The Skills and Strengths Of An Athletics Competitor

    People who are good at athletics tend to have these innate strengths:

    - the ability to dig deep and avoid distractions and discomfort

    - to enjoy longer training sessions

    - to like training and competing outside

    - to be good team players who can also rely on their own strengths

    - to have the patience to develop their skills over many years

    - to be willing to fail and try again

    - to understand that millimetres and split seconds can be the difference between winning… or not

    Image: speed ladder lifestyle


    5 Things That Might Happen If You Do More Athletics

    If you train track and field event, or do more road running, cross country running, or race walking, your fitness will improve dramatically. You might also:

    - develop a more powerful and balanced physique

    - learn the skills of co-ordination and timing

    - develop the steely mindset of an endurance athlete

    - make amazing new friends through your club or team

    - burn more calories than you ever thought possible!


    Training secrets of Olympic Athletes


    Who To Watch

    Britain has so many amazing athletics competitors, and most of them are on social media. How about following Jessica Ennis-Hill, or the marvellous Mo Farah? Or Dame Kelly Holmes - still one of GB’s most familiar Gold-medal winners and heavily involved in the sport of athletics. In terms of the Rio team, I’m enjoying following marathon athlete Callum Hawkins and 100m runner James Dasaolu.


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