There are 44 events in the Track & Field competition of an Olympic Games making the sport, by far, the most contested of all Olympic sports. These 44 events can be divided in to their different event areas beginning by separating track events (all of the running and walking events), from field events (all of the throwing and vaulting events). There are also two multi-events, the decathlon and heptathlon, which combine disciplines from both track and field.
Track and Field
Track and field is a sport that incorporates different types of athletic events. Track events are running events that range from short distance sprints to middle distance runs of a mile or so to long distance runs, like a 26-mile plus marathon. Field events include strength events, such as the shot put and discus, and throwing events, such as the javelin and hammer. The heptathlon and the decathlon are a combination of seven and ten events, respectively, and incorporate both track and field contests together in a quest for the highest score.
The rules for track and field events are different for each event. The specific training for each event varies as well. In this lesson, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most common track and field events and examine training procedures that can help athletes improve their skills.
The Track Events
- Sprints: 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters
- Middle Distance: 800 meters, 1500 meters
- Distance: 3,000 meter Steeplechase, 5,000 meters (5K), 10,000 meters (10K), Marathon (26.2 miles)
- Hurdles: 100 meter hurdles (women), 110 meter hurdles (men), 400 meter hurdles
- Relays: 4 x 100 meters relay, 4 x 400 meters relay
Relay races are usually the closing events at a track and field meet, partly because they’re thrilling races that are fun to watch. Relays consist of teams of four runners per squad that take turns around a track, where each runner must pass a baton to the next runner within a certain area of the track or be disqualified. The first runner leads off the race, so he/she does not receive a baton pass. The last runner does not pass the baton either, since he/she is the last runner, and instead focuses on crossing the finish line. Each team usually passes the baton three times during a race. Athletes hold the baton from the bottom to facilitate a smooth pass.
Most distance races are either 5K, 10K, half marathon, or full marathon. The workout procedures involving distance training are different for each event. Many experts recommend a blanket beginner’s plan in which the athlete builds up to running for thirty minutes continuously at a relaxed pace of about 15 minutes per mile. The goal in this type of training is NOT to run for time but merely to get the body used to running 30 minutes without stopping. Then the athlete can move on to stage two, which is customizing a plan for one of the given running distances.
- Walks: 20 kilometer race walk, 50 kilometer race walk
Race walking is a special long-distance race event in which the participants must walk as fast as they can, while they are expected to maintain good form. The competitors are penalized for bending the knee as it passes under the body or having no foot-to-ground contact.The men compete in both 20km and 50km events, women only in the 20km event.
- 3000m Steeplechase
- 4 x 100m Relay/
- 400m Relay
- 4 x 400m Relay/
- 20 Kilometer Race Walk
- 50 Kilometer Race Walk
The Field Events
- Horizontal Jumps: Long Jump, Triple Jump
- Vertical Jumps: High Jump, Pole Vault
- Throws: Discus Throw, Javelin Throw, Hammer Throw, Shot Put
- Long Jump
- Triple Jump
- High Jump
- Pole Vault
- The Throws
- Discus Throw
- Hammer Throw
- Javelin Throw
- Shot Put