World and Olympic champion Ashton Eaton has proved the multi-events master of modern times. The decathlon world record holder shares his words of wisdom with us.

1. Compete against your competitors

“Multi-events are different to any other track and field events in that because you are aiming for an overall score you are in some ways competing against yourself.

“However, you should not completely neglect competing against your competition and this was a mistake I made at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu. There I became fixated purely on trying to get a high score without using my competition to compete against [Ashton won silver in Daegu behind fellow American Trey Hardee].”

Ashton Eaton London 2012 Hurdles ()

TUNNEL VISION: Don't forget about the guys you're competing against

2. Pay attention to what you’re eating

“My approach to nutrition used to be, it is only food. It can't make a difference. Who cares? As a younger athlete you are more resilient. When I look back at college, I would train in ways I would never train now; all kinds of crazy hours, lifting first ahead of running, which I would never do now, and I my nutrition was the same.

“Maybe, it is because I am older and more sensitive, but nutrition really does play a part. At this level it is all about making small improvements and nutrition is one aspect of that. As a former coach said ‘control the controllables’ and nutrition is one part of that.”

Ashton Eaton WR  ()

Eaton broke the decathlon WR at the 2012 US Olympic Trials in Eugene with a score of 9039 points (happiest face after a decathlon 1500m goes to the guy in the Duke uniform, though)

3. Listen to your body

“I've always been very good at listening to my body. I've always had an instinctive feel for it. Yet, this can be a common mistake which some athletes can neglect.

“Only once have I ever been caught by surprise when back in 2009 I tore my meniscus in my knee while sprinting. My knee had been catching for a couple of weeks, but not enough to bug me.”