How come there were so many Records at the Tokyo Olympics?

3 Minute Read | to learn how to break your personal records!

The Olympic Blues have set in but one thing has remained, the number of records set at the Tokyo Olympics, let’s zoom in on those ones achieved on the track and field!

400m Hurdles Men & Women, Triple Jump Women – World Records
100mW, 100mHW, 1500m M&W, Mens Shot Putt & Decathlon Bests – Olympic Records

Isn’t it weird that so many records have been set during a pandemic Coach?

If anything, the Olympic Games, is the one time we really should, consistently see records be broken.

Athlete’s will train off a what’s called periodisation, each cycle lasts 4 years and yes you guessed it, from Olympic Games to the next one.

Periodisation is about building strength and power in your athlete, honing their technical skills, getting them to peak for competition and planning in specific de-load week’s. This naturally and very deliberately fluctuates over the course of a year and even over the 4 years.

The idea is to peak, be at your VERY, VERY best in the space of a week. Some coaches even manage to do this during the heats and finals of an Olympic Event.

So, looking at it this way, I think we’d agree that it’s just about right to peak and break the record on the biggest sporting platform in the world.

When I am building a training programme for a client, I am focussing on this periodisation.

  • What are the main goals of the programme
  • What’s going to balance the workload
  • What’s going to be the best bang for the buck!

Undertraining or Overtraining?

Yes, some athlete’s who didn’t have access to facilities or equipment, or even their coach will have undertrained. However, I’ve also heard coaches saying their athletes likely overtrained. They were bored, didn’t know what else to do other than train, so they did more…maybe they needed that bit extra and that’s why they performed so well.

Others however, probably were fatigued, they were training to peak last year and in fact had to DRAG out their training phase for another 12 months, that’s hard work!

Shoes and Track

This is a big, big factor. Carbon plates in trainer and spikes have clearly made a difference to running times. In the one hand, isn’t that sad, that technology is improving performance but then look at it the other way, if we didn’t have technology, we would still be running on cinder tracks and carrying a trowel to dig in for the sprint start.

Absurd right?!

We are starting to hear that the track also offered the most force back to the athletes that anyh track in the past has offered but it was a level playing field at the time.

I’ve heard stats experts say that Jesse Owen’s would have run as fast as Usain Bolt, had he had the technology available to him, people weren’t really complaining Usain Bolt’s records didn’t count though did they?

I am torn but I think I lean towards the view of…if most elite athletes have access to it, embrace the technology, we would in every other facet of time!

Which record mattered the most Arj?

Haha, you’ve caught me out, it’s so so tough.

I was asked this question on Tuesday and answered it confidently, then proceeded to list all the other performances until I just couldn’t single out an event.

Yulimar Rojas’ Triple Jump World Record, is massive. She brought it on the final jump of the competition, just when other champions would have blown it. She’s a fierce competitor and that record has stood for so long!

However, those 400m Hurdles World Records by Sydney McLaughlin and Karsten Warholm are something else.

The build up for the Men’s race was more about can Karsten deliver the World Record, whist the Women’s Race was about the line-up of so many amazing athletes.

I sat mouth wide open, like a whale watching the Men’s 400m Hurdles. I though Rai Benjamin would be a real threat for the title and amazingly this created a World Record.

  1. You need to surround yourself with threats and challenges to bring the best out of you.
  2. Rai knew Karsten wins when he literally runs as fast as he can from the first step.
  3. Karsten saw Rai trying to keep up with him and that only pushed him further.
  4. The irony was that both athlete was doing exactly the thing to not only create a world record but to drive one-another further ahead. This was going to be the only way to win.

I may be wrong but I think I witnessed Dalilah Mohammed taking the exact same strategy in the women’s 400m Hurdles, yet she lost out.

Both were incredible races and most amazingly, they had athlete’s breaking perious World and Olympic Record’s further down the finishing results.

I mean poor Kyron McMaster came 4th in 47.08…in Rio that would have one the Gold medal, by a long way!

There you have it, the 400m Hurdles was the winner and the element of surrounding yourself by better athlete’s was the secret to success!

Next Time we’ll be discussing how delaying the Games had an impact on athlete’s and how I like to periodise my clients!

Coach Arj

You might not be wearing those new trainers or training on a brand new track but we can help you run FASTER so CLICK HERE TO BOOK A CALL WITH YOUR COACH


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