The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are just around the corner, due to take place this summer. And as a result of this summer competition on the horizon, there is no doubt that people are starting to look into different event types and sports in which they can get involved with in preparation for the big games. Therefore, in this article we are going to focus on the athletics category of the Olympics and to start with we are going to investigate the short distance track and field events. So, if you want to find out more about these events, then keep on reading.

short distance track and field events blocksOverview on the Events

Short distance track events are often known as sprinting as this is a type of running which requires a large burst of speed and energy to get you to the finish line rather than over a prolonged period of time. There are a number of different sprinting events in the Olympics athletics category and they are split up into three different distances. Each distance has a men’s and a women’s race in which the genders compete separately but still run the same length. Below are the three main distances you will come across in sprinting races for athletics:

  • 100M
  • 200M
  • 400M

Helping you to get enough force to start the sprint, athletes will start the race in a crouched position with their feet on blocks. These blocks give the runner the ability to begin the run in a stable stance which providing them a piece of solid apparatus to push off from. Having the blocks means that you can have a stronger start with a higher forced push off compared to standing still as speed and strength is key in this type of race.

Training Requirements

The ability to run at a high speed for a short period of time might come naturally to some, but you can also train your body to improve your speed and force into the sprint using various techniques. Training for sprints usually consists of focuses on:

  • Running workouts
  • Targeting acceleration
  • Speed development
  • Speed endurance
  • Special endurance
  • Temp endurance
  • Strength training workouts
  • Plyometric workouts
  • Jumping workouts

Collectively all of these types of exercises are used to improve an athletes speed on the track and endurance to ensure that they maintain their high speed from the moment they push off the block to crossing the finish line. As we can see above, training for short distance running goes beyond practice runs as it also focuses of improving endurance and acceleration too. By training using these techniques you will start to see your on-track speed increase, but you will also feel stronger in yourself too as these exercises help to strengthen muscles to prepare for a higher speed run.

short distance track and field events raceGetting Involved

Taking the time to get involved with any type of running can be beneficial to your health as there are a number of benefits which you can reap during your training sessions. From mental stress relief to weight loss and improved cognitive and respiratory systems, the positive effects which running has on your body are endless. And this is why we see so many people interested in running whether it be for sport or recreationally.

However, if you want to take part in short distance events you would need to ensure that you train properly with a qualified coach at your local gym or by signing up to an athletics club near you. Athletics clubs are a great way to get involved with running as you can join in with a variety of events and classes to help improve your fitness as well as helping you identify which type of running event suits you.

Whether you want to sprint competitively or as a way to keep fit, the sport will benefit a wide variety of people and conditions such as:

  • As sprinting helps to burn fat, those who struggle with their weight will benefit from short distance running as it will reduce their weigh and leave them feeling energised.
  • The elderly can benefit greatly from HIIT training exercises such as sprinting, although their speed will not be as high, they will still reap the numerous health benefits of short distance running.
  • Diabetics can also benefit from short distance sprints as the exercise helps to improve glucose control and insulin sensitivity so is a great sport for those with type 2 diabetes.
  • As short distance sprints are a form of HIIT training they help to reduce blood pressure which is great for those who are trying to lower theirs, provided that they speak to a medical professional first.
  • Short distance running is great for heart disease patients as it improves your cardiovascular health to combat heart disease risk factors. Although it is also recommended to speak to your doctor first.

Have You Tried Short Distance Track Events?

In this week’s article we have looked into the different type of short distance track and field events which you can expect to see during this year’s Olympics and in athletics competitions in general. Have you ever taken part in short distance races or are tempted to start training? Let us know over on our social media pages where we would love to know about your experiences. Don’t forget that you can also kit yourself out with new high-quality sports clothing from our online store – Sports Fitness to get you ready for the new athletics season.

This article was written exclusively for Sports Fitness by Loren Astbury