Part IIISCA 824-827. Excerpts from a conversation between Sri Chinmoy and Robert Zmelick, Czech Olympic gold medallist in the decathlon, that took place at Annam Brahma Restaurant on 19 June 1996.
Training for the decathlonSri Chinmoy: If you practise your 100 metres more, it will definitely, definitely help you in your long jump and in other items as well. But if you give more importance than is due to 1500 metres, then it will ruin your long jump and high jump. You are an excellent sprinter. One hundred metres, shot-put, long jump and high jump go together because of the speed and the spring that are needed. The first thing that 1500 metres does is take away the spring. No matter how slowly you run, 1500 metres is so bad for sprinters. Up to 400 metres you can practise, but 800 or 1500 metres is bad for sprinters. You can get stamina, but stamina is not speed. If you practise 800 metres, it may help you get stamina for 400 metres, but if you practise 800 metres more, definitely you will lose some spring for your 100 metres.
You will not get endurance for the decathlon from running long-distance. You have to get endurance by practising the individual events. Suppose you are doing shot-put or discus. You do not have to do your best performance; you do not have to use your maximum capacity. You can increase your endurance not by running 1500 metres, but by practising the events that you are already very good in. For example, you can do two or three hurdles instead of ten hurdles to get stamina. Then in pole vault, you can jump, but not at your maximum height. For stamina, you can do the pole vault at a very low height. If you want to get endurance and stamina, you can practise the items that will not take away your spring. If you run 1500 metres, it will ruin your spring, and then it will affect your high jump and your long jump.
The 1500 is nothing, less than four rounds on the track, but if you practise it many times, then your spring disappears. So kindly be very careful with your 100 metres, long jump, shot-put and high jump. Definitely I want you to do well in 1500 metres, but not by running it more times. You can increase your stamina in some other way. If you want to, you can even try sprinting 30 or 40 metres many times. You know your speed for 100 metres, so you can do it a few times more to get stamina.
So many items in the decathlon depend on speed. The shot-put definitely requires speed. It comes from the elbow or from the shoulder or somewhere else, but speed is absolutely necessary. Even very strong people cannot throw the shot well if they have no speed, and that speed you have.
How much time do you spend in taking exercises, such as weightlifting? How many days per week do you lift weights?
Robert Zmelick: I was lifting four times weekly, but now I do it two times a week. Now I am in a special programme using a medicine ball, with exercises for the abdominals and the torso. These are very important for turning and for force. Your record of 7,000 crunch sit-ups is unbelievable! I do 500, and then my abdomen hurts!