What track and field event demands the most/hardest training


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What track and field event demands the most/hardest training

Postby spammer » Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:50 am

I think that most people would be of the opinion that it does not require as much or as physically rigorous training to be a top ten in the world pole vaulter as it does top ten in the world marathoner. In your opinion, what track and field event (you can include road running and cross country) requires the most rigorous training to become top ten in the world.
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby shivfan » Sat Jan 26, 2013 7:09 am

400m....
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby Marlow » Sat Jan 26, 2013 7:16 am

shivfan wrote:400m....

400m . . . hurdles
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby tandfman » Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:01 am

Do the multis count?
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby spammer » Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:10 am

tandfman wrote:Do the multis count?

sure
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby Marlow » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:34 am

The literal answer is, of course, the marathon, but the relative answer is determined only by the individual perspective of the athlete. Could be the High Jump, when you factor in all the weight work, plyometrics, running and repetitive drills.
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby MJR » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:39 am

No group of athletes puts in more training time than 50km walkers. They do marathon volume work and take 25% longer to do it.

There is no event group that works harder than any other to achieve the top level of success. The method of training is just different. They specialize in the event(s) of their liking based upon interest and ability to perform the technical aspects at the highest level. All of the posturing that one event is harder than another is purely opinion, with no factual basis to determine otherwise. What is hard for one person is easy for another, etc.
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby gh » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:56 am

taking MJR's point another step: and having to put in as much time as it does to be a top-end 50K guy requires some massive kind of federation/government support. Which is why so few nations are successful at it.
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby Marlow » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:58 am

MJR wrote:No group of athletes puts in more training time than 50km walkers.

Time-wise, yes. But when so many of the successful Nat'l Championships finishers are "older", the actual work-load cannot be what the other events require.
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby Conor Dary » Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:12 am

Marlow wrote:
MJR wrote:No group of athletes puts in more training time than 50km walkers.

Time-wise, yes. But when so many of the successful Nat'l Championships finishers are "older", the actual work-load cannot be what the other events require.


They are probably older because no one younger is doing it anymore.
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby kuha » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:45 am

Conor Dary wrote:
Marlow wrote:
MJR wrote:No group of athletes puts in more training time than 50km walkers.

Time-wise, yes. But when so many of the successful Nat'l Championships finishers are "older", the actual work-load cannot be what the other events require.


They are probably older because no one younger is doing it anymore.


Yes, indeed. There are all kinds of skills out there and all kinds of over-the-top compulsive people. At some point, our "qualitative" judgments become perfectly reasonable. How much training/effort does the world's best unicycle rider put in? How many years of training go into the skill set of the top 10 card trick experts in the world? How much training is required to be the 40th best cello player in the world? Etc.

When anyone trains like crazy to be "somewhat near" the top in athletic events with zero social or financial prestige, the word "compulsion" definitely comes to mind.
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby Conor Dary » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:51 am

kuha wrote:
Conor Dary wrote:
Marlow wrote:
MJR wrote:No group of athletes puts in more training time than 50km walkers.

Time-wise, yes. But when so many of the successful Nat'l Championships finishers are "older", the actual work-load cannot be what the other events require.


They are probably older because no one younger is doing it anymore.


Yes, indeed. There are all kinds of skills out there and all kinds of over-the-top compulsive people. At some point, our "qualitative" judgments become perfectly reasonable. How much training/effort does the world's best unicycle rider put in? How many years of training go into the skill set of the top 10 card trick experts in the world? How much training is required to be the 40th best cello player in the world? Etc.

When anyone trains like crazy to be "somewhat near" the top in athletic events with zero social or financial prestige, the word "compulsion" definitely comes to mind.


You just reminded me of this fascinating article about a great pickpocket.

    A few years ago, at a Las Vegas convention for magicians, Penn Jillette, of the act Penn and Teller, was introduced to a soft-spoken young man named Apollo Robbins, who has a reputation as a pickpocket of almost supernatural ability. Jillette, who ranks pickpockets, he says, “a few notches below hypnotists on the show-biz totem pole,” was holding court at a table of colleagues, and he asked Robbins for a demonstration, ready to be unimpressed. Robbins demurred, claiming that he felt uncomfortable working in front of other magicians. He pointed out that, since Jillette was wearing only shorts and a sports shirt, he wouldn’t have much to work with.

    “Come on,” Jillette said. “Steal something from me.”

    Again, Robbins begged off, but he offered to do a trick instead. He instructed Jillette to place a ring that he was wearing on a piece of paper and trace its outline with a pen. By now, a small crowd had gathered. Jillette removed his ring, put it down on the paper, unclipped a pen from his shirt, and leaned forward, preparing to draw. After a moment, he froze and looked up. His face was pale.

    “Fuck. You,” he said, and slumped into a chair.

    Robbins held up a thin, cylindrical object: the cartridge from Jillette’s pen.

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013 ... fact_green
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby kuha » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:06 pm

That comment was based, in part, on that great chapter in Nate Silver's recent book--he described the endless, nearly-every-waking-hour practice that some of these guys do.
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby Conor Dary » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:15 pm

kuha wrote:That comment was based, in part, on that great chapter in Nate Silver's recent book--he described the endless, nearly-every-waking-hour practice that some of these guys do.


I know. That is also what this guy goes through every day.
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby Tuariki » Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:30 am

spammer wrote:I think that most people would be of the opinion that it does not require as much or as physically rigorous training to be a top ten in the world pole vaulter as it does top ten in the world marathoner.

That may well be the belief of many long distance runners. IMO the statement is a nonsense. The pole vault (in which I managed 13 feet or so a couple of times when I was goofing off when Wazzu Coach John Chaplin wasn't watching) is an event that IMO puts a hell of a lot more strain on the body during the couple of seconds of the plant and take off than does distance running. The same goes for the triple jump when hopping 6 plus metres on to one leg and driving in to a very solid surface so to hop 5 plus metres. The physical shock forces on the body in those 2 seconds for the pole vaulter or the triple jumper IMO far exceed the shock forces on the body when running a marathon.

While I never ran a marathon (ran a couple of half marathons) I did take up road running in my 30s once I decided to give up jumping. Got down to 36:30 for 10km. The longest training runs I ever did were in the 30km range. And yes, I was always bloody tired and my legs ached from that tiredness. And running repeat hills always left me buggered. But I never felt that running put the same strain in terms of shock forces as did jumping.

MJR wrote: There is no event group that works harder than any other to achieve the top level of success. The method of training is just different. They specialize in the event(s) of their liking based upon interest and ability to perform the technical aspects at the highest level. All of the posturing that one event is harder than another is purely opinion, with no factual basis to determine otherwise. What is hard for one person is easy for another, etc.

I think MJR's statement hits the nail on the head. At a world class level all athletes work unbelievably hard and all events require a huge amount of training. In terms of time required I accept that perhaps 50km walkers may well spend longer training in terms of physical activity but that doesn't necessarily equate to their training being harder or more demanding than a Reece Hoffa 2 hour weight training session or a 1 hour throwing session by Thorkildsen.

As MJR says they are just different and all are hard and all are stressful - just in different ways.
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby 18.99s » Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:32 am

"Hardest" is inherently subjective and will result in fruitless debates.

How about looking at something more objective, like what is the most time-consuming? The number of training hours per week can be measured, the "hardness" of training cannot.
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby ATK » Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:04 am

18.99s wrote:"Hardest" is inherently subjective and will result in fruitless debates.

How about looking at something more objective, like what is the most time-consuming? The number of training hours per week can be measured, the "hardness" of training cannot.

Cant that be debatable as well?
Wouldn't a hurdler who is naturally less flexible would probably spend more time doing certain practices/exercises than someone who is. No?
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby 18.99s » Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:45 am

ATK wrote:Cant that be debatable as well?

It's debatable, but at least it's a debate based on measurable facts.

Wouldn't a hurdler who is naturally less flexible would probably spend more time doing certain practices/exercises than someone who is. No?

Of course different individuals will have different training programs according to their strengths and weaknesses and age and coaching philosophy. So meaningful comparisons would need to include multiple athletes per event, say the average training hours of the top 5 London 2012 placers in the 100m vs. the top 5 in the 5000m.
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby jazzcyclist » Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:58 am

Marlow wrote:
MJR wrote:No group of athletes puts in more training time than 50km walkers.

Time-wise, yes. But when so many of the successful Nat'l Championships finishers are "older", the actual work-load cannot be what the other events require.

I agree with Marlow. Walkers might put in more time than marathoners, but world-class distance runners make up for that time with more intensity.
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby MJR » Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:25 pm

jazzcyclist wrote:
Marlow wrote:
MJR wrote:No group of athletes puts in more training time than 50km walkers.

Time-wise, yes. But when so many of the successful Nat'l Championships finishers are "older", the actual work-load cannot be what the other events require.

I agree with Marlow. Walkers might put in more time than marathoners, but world-class distance runners make up for that time with more intensity.


You're making the common mistake of confusing speed with intensity. They are completely different. Because of the mechanical needs to avoid transitioning into a running gate, walkers at 7:00/mile are working more intensely than runners at 5:00/mile.
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby Marlow » Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:24 pm

MJR wrote:You're making the common mistake of confusing speed with intensity. They are completely different. Because of the mechanical needs to avoid transitioning into a running gate, walkers at 7:00/mile are working more intensely than runners at 5:00/mile.

Very, very doubtful. How many 40-year-olds are excelling at the highest levels in distance running vs. those that are in Race-walking?
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby tandfman » Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:02 pm

I'm still voting for the decathlon.
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby Dave » Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:26 pm

tandfman wrote:I'm still voting for the decathlon.


That makes sense to me. Endurance, speed, strength, and skill events. Everything is there and you can't afford more than 1 weak event. That is a lot of training to get right.
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby Smoke » Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:44 pm

Deca followed by the hurdles overall.
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby TN1965 » Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:16 pm

Tuariki wrote: While I never ran a marathon (ran a couple of half marathons) I did take up road running in my 30s once I decided to give up jumping. Got down to 36:30 for 10km. The longest training runs I ever did were in the 30km range. And yes, I was always bloody tired and my legs ached from that tiredness. And running repeat hills always left me buggered. But I never felt that running put the same strain in terms of shock forces as did jumping.


A marathon does not start until 30km. It is the last 12km that does real damage to your legs. And unlike mere mortals like myself who train to sustain my pace in the last 12km, the elites train to "race" the last 12km. You often see the fastest split in a major marathon at 30-35K or even 35-40K. Preparing for that kind of race is fundamentally different from preparing to run a marathon at an even pace.

I cannot comment on how hard PV or TJ is, as I have only minimum experience with the latter, and none with the former. And as far as the OP's question is concerned, I'd vote for the multi.
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby Marlow » Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:26 pm

TN1965 wrote:I cannot comment on how hard PV or TJ is

The PV is a zillion hours of strength/fitness training, plus a zillion more of technical training.
The TJ is significantly less 'training', because the weight work and plyometrics are much more intense than anything the PV demands. I saw a workout of Christian Taylor's at UF and it was insanely hard.
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby 26mi235 » Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:37 pm

Running distance is both hard and not too hard. Not too hard because you can only train at the primary activity a couple hours a day. You can add all of the other stuff (weights, etc., but the total duration is still not that high). The reason, of course, is that you start to breakdown after more than 150mpw/250kpw (Cam Levins is pushing the envelop).

Conversely cycling and swimming can be done for many more hours in a day, so triathlons are grueling to train for at a top competitive level.

The decathlon, because it has so many disciplines allows a greater duration of training and it covers a broader range of efforts (sprints, technique, power, weights, PV, etc) will allow more training, and that means your competitors are doing it so you need to if there are incremental benefits from more training. Some of it might not be that onerous since learning technique can be done without full-out effort and video review (e.g., the jumps and throws).

Marlow got in before me and said some of my thoughts. By the way, the damage that the triple jump can do is a good reason not to have it in the decathlon.
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby Marlow » Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:43 pm

26mi235 wrote:the damage that the triple jump can do is a good reason not to have it in the decathlon.

As a 20-year TJ coach now, I've finally fully disavowed myself of that canard. The only way to get hurt in the TJ is to train poorly (not enough strength work and plyos), or to jump competitively too often. The Euro women are ample proof that can can stay at the top for a long time.
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby TxHottrack » Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:45 pm

400 hurders
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby MJR » Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:52 pm

Marlow wrote:
MJR wrote:You're making the common mistake of confusing speed with intensity. They are completely different. Because of the mechanical needs to avoid transitioning into a running gate, walkers at 7:00/mile are working more intensely than runners at 5:00/mile.

Very, very doubtful. How many 40-year-olds are excelling at the highest levels in distance running vs. those that are in Race-walking?


What 40 year olds are you talking about? Only 2 in the USA qualify (#103 & #113) & only 1 was over 40 (not to discount their dedication & effort). Only 2 of the top 100 times (=2%) & 8 of 174 ranked (= 4.6%) from 2012 were achieved by an athlete 40 or older.

http://www.iaaf.org/records/toplists/ra ... enior/2012

The unreliability of Kenyan & Ethiopian birthdates and the sheer number of athletes with no record whatsover is a little fishy in this area. Through 300 deep, it was 1% for the marathon.

http://www.iaaf.org/records/toplists/ro ... enior/2012

Seems pretty comparable.
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby Marlow » Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:40 pm

MJR wrote:What 40 year olds are you talking about?

Is this not the top 10 in the 2012 USA Olympic Trials?

1 JOHN NUNN 33
2 TIM SEAMAN 39
3 BEN SHOREY 29
4 PATRICK STROUPE 27
5 ERICH CORDERO 36
6 ERIN TAYLOR-TALCOTT 33
7 ALLEN JAMES 47
8 RAY SHARP 52
9 MICHAEL MANNOZZI 25
10 DAVE MCGOVERN 46

Find me another event where 4 are 39 or older (half at 36 and older).
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby MJR » Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:27 pm

Marlow wrote:
MJR wrote:What 40 year olds are you talking about?

Is this not the top 10 in the 2012 USA Olympic Trials?

Find me another event where 4 are 39 or older (half at 36 and older).


The premise of the discussion was top 10 in the World, not top 10 in an event in the US that receives less than $10,000 of total funding for all athletes for an entire calendar year and has absolutely no NCAA support to develop a talent pool.
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby gh » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:48 pm

Marlow wrote:
TN1965 wrote:I cannot comment on how hard PV or TJ is

The PV is a zillion hours of strength/fitness training, plus a zillion more of technical training.
The TJ is significantly less 'training', because the weight work and plyometrics are much more intense than anything the PV demands. I saw a workout of Christian Taylor's at UF and it was insanely hard.


I think you'd be surprised to find out how much technical work world-class walkers have to put in.
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby j-a-m » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:33 am

Of course racewalkers have to do a lot of technical work; it's gotta be difficult to train your body to do something the wrong way. If humans want to move at a fast pace using their legs, there's a way to do that, and it's called "running".
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby spammer » Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:40 am

j-a-m wrote: If humans want to move at a fast pace using their legs, there's a way to do that, and it's called "running".


...or if you're a racewalker, it's called racewalking. This thread has really opened my eyes to the hard work that race walkers put in, but I just can't believe it's harder than being a 400m hurdler or triple jumper.
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby MJR » Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:50 am

spammer wrote:
j-a-m wrote: If humans want to move at a fast pace using their legs, there's a way to do that, and it's called "running".


...or if you're a racewalker, it's called racewalking. This thread has really opened my eyes to the hard work that race walkers put in, but I just can't believe it's harder than being a 400m hurdler or triple jumper.


Its not harder, just different. Some people will naturally be more inclined to perform that set of techniques better, as it meets their neuro-mechanical skill set.
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby Conor Dary » Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:53 am

gh wrote:
Marlow wrote:
TN1965 wrote:I cannot comment on how hard PV or TJ is

The PV is a zillion hours of strength/fitness training, plus a zillion more of technical training.
The TJ is significantly less 'training', because the weight work and plyometrics are much more intense than anything the PV demands. I saw a workout of Christian Taylor's at UF and it was insanely hard.


I think you'd be surprised to find out how much technical work world-class walkers have to put in.


The event were the goal is to move faster less efficiently. :lol:

http://www.racewalking.org/physiologica ... unning.pdf
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby MJR » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:45 am

The event were the goal is to move faster less efficiently. :lol:

The truth is for many people, they actually are more efficient at walking fast. Jefferson Perez is one example. He could barely run faster than he walked because it was not a natural movement sequence for him.

Its the same reason guys like Aries Merritt do the 110HH rather than the 100m. He's better when the hurdles are there. Allen Johnson and most of the other great hurdlers were that way too. The one glaring exception was Devers. Just like hurdling, walking is a technical skill that many people cannot master. It takes years to become proficient for most, but some are just naturally predisposed to it. If the same opportunities were available for walkers as PV'ers, we'd dominate the event purely on the size of the available talent pool to draw from. But closed minds remain that way.
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby ATK » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:46 am

MJR wrote:
The truth is for many people, they actually are more efficient at walking fast. Jefferson Perez is one example. He could barely run faster than he walked because it was not a natural movement sequence for him.

Its the same reason guys like Aries Merritt do the 110HH rather than the 100m. He's better when the hurdles are there. Allen Johnson and most of the other great hurdlers were that way too. The one glaring exception was Devers. Just like hurdling, walking is a technical skill that many people cannot master. It takes years to become proficient for most, but some are just naturally predisposed to it. If the same opportunities were available for walkers as PV'ers, we'd dominate the event purely on the size of the available talent pool to draw from. But closed minds remain that way.

But a walker will never walk faster than they can run...
Just like a hurdler will never hurdle 100m fast than they can do the flat...

I know(hope) you weren't trying to say that, but it comes off as if you were.
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Re: What track and field event demands the most/hardest trai

Postby dj » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:42 am

ATK wrote:But a walker will never walk faster than they can run...


Depends on the distance. For different people there are different points at which walking becomes more efficient and faster than running. Granted, that's beyond 50km for elite athletes, but still . . .
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