Trey Hardee: On Recovery In Decathlon, Confidence, And Phases Of Training

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Trey Hardee, a Vestavia Hills (AL) High and University of Texas graduate, won a silver medal in the decathlon at the 2012 Olympic Games in London and is one of the premier multi-athletes in American track and field. Check out what he has to say about training for the decathlon at an elite level. 

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Recovery Between Days In A Decathlon

"I can't remember the last decathlon I did where I was sore after day one. It had to have been maybe 2006; I might have been sore. But the way that my coaches set up training and the way our programming works that we do, I feel great day two. All up until the 1500m, I feel good. I work really hard on my nutrition over the years to feel that way, even more so now.

"The way you recover in between days in the decathlon, is you train your butt off for nine months of the year. You work hard, you work smart, and you teach your body to recover. We have a protocol after we run the 400 after day one, how long we have to take after that run to start cooling down, to start our stretching, and how long of a cold tub or contrast needs to be. How long we're in norma-tech boots, what kinds of foods we eat during the first day to help us for day two. Two days out, what we need to do, the sleep we're getting. It's all preparation. There's no magic pill and everyone is a little different.

"For me, it's all about listening to your body and finding what works. Training hard. Training and putting yourself in decathlon like situations and positions. For me, you call it front-loading. You have to know that it takes your body a long time to burn protein, you need to turn protein into energy. You're going to be breaking down your muscles a lot in day one so you need a lot of that front loaded in. You need a lot of complex carbs, you need a lot of simple carbs. You don't need a lot of fat in competition, that's not going to help you at all, unless it's a certain kind of fat. You need a steady stream. You can't have a lot of big meals. You won't digest most of it. It's a guess and check. See how you see and feel, see what works and what doesn't. It doesn't have to be anything overly scientific, just look at your macro nutrients and figure it out."


Confidence Through Every Event

"The trick to staying confident through every event, no matter whether you're good at it or not, is to only worry about yourself. For the longest time I wasn't the best shot putter, but I could compete against my own self, and the loudest I've ever screamed in a competition and the most raw and primal I've ever been. I threw 42 feet in the shot put, but my PR was only 38 feet. So for myself, it was the first meet I ever broke 8,000 points.

"I tied (my) personal best in the 100m, I just set a four foot PB in the shot -- I was in like 20th place in shot put -- but I had made a ton of ground myself, so I was on fire. I was going nuts. And getting caught up on what everyone was doing. If you do that? I don't think I'm the best in anything. I beat Ashton several times in the hurdles, but he has a better PB than me. So if he beats me? That's fine. I don't care. If I run 13.40 and he runs 13.30, I'm going to go berserk. I don't care what he's going to run. And that's the easiest, maybe a trick. It's just not getting caught up with anyone else. Stay within yourself. And you can actually celebrate these little tiny things."


Mental Training

"The mental training I do preseason happens in those off weeks. The week or two before I start my general prep is when I'll start having meetings with coaches and start to try to figure out the gaps being filled. That's as much a part of the success coming around the next August then anything you do. You're basically looking at a road map and trying to figure out how to get from A to B. And there's no right answers, there's no wrong answers. There's better answers.

"That, to me, during the preseason is how you mentally prepare. Because when it boils down to it, if you're standing in the back of a runway or getting in the blocks or toeing the line, you have to be confident. And the only way you will be confident is that you know you've done all the right things and all the work to that point to be the best version of yourself in that moment. So the preseason part of it, 'What did we do wrong last season and how did we fix it?' That makes that moment all the more grand."


Phases Of Training

"We break down our year in several different phases. We have general prep phases, general prep one and general prep two. That leads into special preparation. All those are is getting your body in shape and put together, pieced together from the ground up in order to train. In order to put on your spikes every day. In order to throw and run and jump, back to back to back to back. And once the season gets closer, you get into pre-competition phases.

"That's when you put in lots of volume in your events and your specific areas. You take high volume throws and high volume jumps. See basically what you messed up on general prep. Then you have competition phases. The cycles where you're trying to find that magic formula of rest and volume and controlling your training so that you're fit and you're ready, but you're also somewhat healthy and rested for major competitions. And then there's offseason."

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