US multi-eventer Ashton Eaton owns both the world decathlon and indoor heptathlon record, along with a full set of Olympic and world titles. This means that he's the best all-round athlete, EVER! But how on earth does he do it?
Less is more
“With multi-event athletes, our system is a ‘less is more’ approach. We typically don’t do a lot of decathlons. I do what I have to do: the trials and then the championships – two a year. I remember one year I did five, and I was completely burned out.
“A lot of the Europeans sometimes don’t have the choice, with qualifications and European championships and those things. They end up doing about five [decathlons] a year, with the big championships, or Olympics, being their fourth or fifth one. They are really tough athletes. I don’t know if I could do that and compete well.”
Don't you even lift, bro
“We have a hard training session routine in the fall, and then the closer you get to the competitions, you back off as far as lifting and training is concerned. I don’t remember even lifting at all leading into London or Moscow, maybe just push-ups or sit-ups or something.
“As far as running is concerned, you do things that make you light and fast. You don’t really need any too hammering workouts anymore. The work should be done by the championship part of the season.”
Eaton sneaks in a quick game of Buckaroo before training.
Listen to your body
“Our bodies and what we do actually changes from year to year. The older I get, the more it changes. I don’t work as much in the fall, and I do more speed work as I get closer to competitions.
“When I was younger, I would probably work a little bit longer. Basically, what I’m trying to say is: what I do now may not work for 20-year-old Ashton. It has to be an adaptation, and it’s really decided by the coach and the athlete.
“Communication is important, not everybody is the same. Some people need to work right up until a month before the big competition.
“It’s very person to person. I think that’s the beauty of track and field. You see people getting to the same result and same competitions, but in completely different ways.”
Be your own man
With no world champs or Olympics to win this summer, Eaton has added an 11th event to his roster. He'll be taking on the world's best in the 400m hurdles.
“Kevin Young, world record holder [in the 400m hurdles] was amazing. Tall guy, beautiful strides. He took 12 steps for multiple hurdles which is just unheard of. He’s a guy to admire. Am I gonna model myself after him? I don’t think so. I don’t think I can do 12 steps between hurdles.”