David Oliver, whose event is the 110-meter hurdles, likes to simulate what he calls the "critical zone" of his race—the part where the race will be won or lost. He skips the starting sprint and the finishing kick and runs four separate times through a course of 10 hurdles, some set at lower-than-usual height. That mimics the race without putting too much stress on his body, says Koop. If you're training for a 5K race, for example, you can run three 1-mile segments: the first three fourths of each mile at race pace and the final quarter mile very easy.
Smart, the fencer, prepares for competition by sparring with as many as 10 teammates in a training session. That gives him practice against a variety of opponents. (You can apply the same wisdom to your own workout by changing your routine regularly, tackling different terrain or a different weight machine, say.) Smart, says Koop, is "trying to be adaptive to any situation." That's a skill that comes in handy outside the arena, too.