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The 5-point pentathlon plan

Natallia Dobrynska is a multi-event medallist both indoors and out. The Ukrainian won Olympic heptathlon gold at Beijing 2008 and indoor pentathlon gold in Istanbul in 2012 – where she set a new world record of 5013pts. 

For the uninitiated, the one-day pentathlon consists of: 60m hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and 800m – and there's nobody better positioned to to offer us a guide. Take it away, Natallia...

1. Prep to be powerful

“I really like hard work, so I usually took the opportunity to take part in the winter indoor events. The training is intense and very technical for the indoor competition. I used bigger weights and did fewer reps in free weight training, to get explosive results. I did not pay much attention to the longer runs, and focused more on sprinting.

“The indoor events were really useful preparation for [outdoor] heptathlon championships which start six weeks later. I wanted to win in every championship and it was good to get synergy moving from indoors to outdoors.”

2. Seize the day

“Two day outdoor heptathlons were always harder for me, more demanding and more exhausting. I think every athlete wants to start and finish the championship in one day. I was not an exception!

“I think some athletes prefer pentathlon because there is no javelin, which is the really tough discipline. But the winter championships are more difficult from a physical perspective because most athletes peak for the outdoor season.”

3. Remember this holy trinity

“For victory in the pentathlon there are few elements needed: first is balanced training, you have to be explosive and unpredictable; second is the ability to concentrate for each of the disciplines, every discipline has to be treated like it is the last one.

“The third is a positive attitude - I tried to be very positive in every championship. Be unafraid to lose and leave all doubts outside the arena.”

4. Be good in four, perfect in one

“Pentathletes have to perform well in every discipline. If you perform badly in one discipline you hugely decrease your chances of winning.

“In pentathlon you have to be good in each of the disciplines of the event and perfect at least in one of the discipline. The shot put was the discipline that always rescued me indoors.”

5. Soak up the atmosphere

“You cannot beat the atmosphere of indoor events. The crowd is really loud, sometimes I had the feeling I could hear each of the spectators, It was very motivating! The voices of the fans help you put all of your energy into the competition. You feel like every single person is watching you, and there's no way I was going to let them down.

“The times I competed in my home arena, I felt like the crowd gave me extra power.

“My first world championship in Budapest [in 2004]. I won the silver medal that day, my first international medal. I have mixed feelings about the experience. One one hand that championship gave me huge self-confidence – I felt like I could beat the best athletes in the world, and perform at the highest level.

“But on the other hand, I was very disappointed. I knew that I could expect more of myself. That championship was the beginning of my international growth, the growth that took my to Olympic victory in 2008 and a world record in 2012.”