Can you do these Olympic track workouts?



Minute 1: It's track time in Tokyo

Did you hear the joke about anticipation? [...pause…] OK, tough day in the writer’s room, so that’s the best intro witticism we could muster. What is not hard to muster is the very real anticipation for the distance running events which begin in earnest tomorrow morning. At 6:00 am EDT you can watch coverage of the men’s 10K final which kicks off a week of endurance action that runs through the men’s marathon 8 days from now. The first week of the Games has provided multiple story lines for television viewers and has been grueling for the athletes. Between the heat, Covid precautions, and a lack of fans, there has been a lot to contend with for these athletes. Track & field events won't be the first events featuring running (the men and women's triathlon have already completed, more on that shortly), but they are some of the biggest audience draws of the Games. The Washington Post provided this great primer, "What to know about track and field at the Tokyo Olympics," that covers athletes from the US and international athletes to watch, as well as a full breakdown of the event schedule. Timing has been a challenge for American TV watchers, as Tokyo is 13 hours ahead of EDT. Yet, it does allow for some live viewings if you're willing to wake up early or stay up later. Things kick off tonight with preliminary heats in men's steeplechase, women's 800m, and more. As for mid and long-distance finals, here is when you tune in (all times listed are EDT):

  • July 30: Men’s 10,000m (6 - 8am - live)

  • August 2: Women's 5000m (6 - 9 am - live)

  • August 3: Womens’ 800m (6 - 9am - live)

  • August 4: Men's 800m, Women's steeplechase (6 - 9 am - live)

  • August 6: Men’s 5000m, Women’s 1500m (6 - 9 am - live), Women’s marathon (6 - 9:15 pm - live)

  • August 7: Women’s 10,000m, Men’s 1500m (6 - 9 am - live), Men’s marathon (6 - 8:45 pm - live)

#TokyoTrackTime

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Minute 2: Triathletes battle the elements in Tokyo

The first endurance sports events are complete in Tokyo, with medals awarded in the women's and men's triathlons. Both races featured dramatic moments, weather complexities, and excitement. This recap, "Olympic men's triathlon: Brilliant Blummenfelt beats Yee to gold" is an excellent and detailed summary of the men's race, which took place on Monday. Kristian Blummenfelt of Norway claimed gold, and a lot about his race and his training is quite extraordinary. "A 27-year-old triathlete won Olympic gold, vomited everywhere, and had to be taken away in a wheelchair" calls it like it is. Blummenfelt literally left it all out there. Not that we should be surprised, since Blummenfelt trains for upwards of 8 hours PER DAY. Blummenfelt's win and performance weren't the only shocking part either. Try this one: "Camera boat nearly runs over swimmers with outboard motor in bizarre false start at Olympics triathlon." That's right, the men's triathlon began with a false start when a camera boat blocked nearly half the athletes from starting the race. Athletes were called back, and things were restarted a few minutes later. Then, on Tuesday, the women had their turn at the triathlon and it too had plenty of excitement, including the first gold medal in history for a Bermuda, courtesy of Flora Duffy. You can read more about her race in "Bermuda becomes smallest country to win Olympic gold after Flora Duffy's emotional triathlon triumph". American Katie Zaferes won a bronze medal in the race, battling the elements much like the men, this time with wind and rain. #TriUmphant

Minute 3: Work out like an Olympian

As amateur athletes ourselves, every time we watch an Olympic performance, we silently wonder about how a medal winner trained for their accomplishment. Sometimes we pick up hints from TV commentators, like in Tuesday night's women's 1500m swim, the commentators spoke about Katie Ledecky's fuel intake on race day. We first learned of Blummenfelt’s 8-hour workouts from the NBC team. For more detailed insight, we turn to articles like "Ritzenhein’s 3 Staple Workouts Fit For an Olympian." Athletes Joe Klecker (men's 10,000m) and Alicia Monson (women's 10,000m) were coached by Dathan Rizenhein, who shares the workouts he uses regularly with his athletes. They include a ladder fartlek, 200m repeats and hills, and 1k repeats. The nice thing about these workouts is that you can translate them easily to your own pace at home, challenging yourself when you're ready. You may also want to check out “How Ellie Purrier Trained to Run the American 2-Mile Record” or this video from New Balance: “Workout Wednesday: Elle Purrier 2xMile/4x800/4x400.” When you're ready to switch gears a bit, grab a pair of dumbbells and give this workout a try: "3x3x3 dumbbell workout for runners." It is a short, 20-minute workout that is designed by Newfoundland's Jon-Erik Kawamoto. You can watch Kawamoto's entire workout description and breakdown here. The basics are this, 3 workouts, 3 exercises and 3 sets. #WorkFromHome

Minute 4: We’d like the non-smoking section

At some point this month, regardless of how much they had to drink the night before, most Americans have woken up in a haze. Wildfires are burning throughout the west, and the effects of those blazes are felt 3,000 miles away: “Wildfire Smoke in New England Is ‘Pretty Severe from Public Health Perspective’.” Airnow.gov tracks each fire as well as the smoke spread, and the current map is rather alarming. The current state of affairs has many of us asking: "Is It a Good Idea to Be Running Outside During Wildfire Season?" It's a complicated answer and comes down to a number of factors, including the air quality index (AQI), the size of the particulate matter, and your own needs. If you've got a race in a week then a day off probably isn't going to happen. But if you're running to stay healthy, then the healthiest thing is probably NOT to run. As the particulate matter decreases in size, 2.5 micrometers and smaller, then they are too small to be caught in your mucus membranes. That means it ends up in your lungs, depleting your VO2 max which in turn causes you to breathe in even more bad air. Rough. The best recommendation from the article is to utilize other resources if possible. As much as we prefer running outdoors, the wildfires mean that our treadmill may see more action than normal. #SmokeBreak

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • As Track & field kicks off this weekend, you may start to wonder about a few of those events that are unique to the sport. For example, who decided that two jumps wasn't enough and needed it to be a triple? Or who thought, "I'm going to use this super long stick and make myself fly up and over another stick that's over 15 feet tall?” "The origins of the Olympics' obscure track and field events" explains the origins of the most unexpected events. Don’t miss the opportunity to wow your friends by explaining that the hammer throw evolved from the Irish Tailteann games.

  • WFH routines have allowed for more flexibility on workout times throughout the day and the ability to turn commuting time into running time. But it has also meant more sedentary time in front of screens. That is not a recipe for success according to: "Different Workout ‘Cocktails’ Achieve the Same Health and Fitness Benefits." The story cites a new Columbia University study that found the following: adding some easy activities to your more intense workouts will amplify your fitness. As the story says: “If all you do is crush it at the gym and sit all day, you are not going to see the results that you would if you also added in some light activity during the other hours.” Researchers found that adding in simple tasks like walks and weeding your garden produces better results than just a long workout session.

  • Cristiano Ronaldo may not be participating in the Olympics this year (Portugal missed qualifying), but he remains one of the best footballers in the world. Part of his skill comes from his explosive strength. "4 Easy Movements To Build Explosive Strength & Enter Beast Mode Like Cristiano Ronaldo" offers up some ideas to help you practice moves that help develop that same strength and skill Ronaldo demonstrates. Workouts like vertical jumps, uphill sprints, lateral hops, and pistol squats can help.

Minute 6: Surfing = Gold

Don't sleep on surfers. If you doubt the athleticism that is required to become an Olympic surfer, you’re not appreciating these athletes who get paid to look chill. One of the most anticipated sports to debut in Tokyo has been competitive surfing. It has been years in the making to get the sport legitimized in the eyes of the Olympics, and the debut did not disappoint. Hawaiian native Carissa Moore will go down in history as the first woman to win a gold medal in surfing. She is no stranger to land-based workouts as detailed in this story: “Try Olympic-Bound Surfer Carissa Moore's Favorite HIIT Cardio Moves to Do at Home.” Check out her medal-winning ride.