There are three types of indoor track and field events — track, field and combined. Indoor track and field meets feature many of the same events as their outdoor counterparts, such as the 400-, 800-, 1,500- and 4x400-meter runs. Common field events include the long jump, triple jump, high jump, pole vault and shot put. In addition, indoor track meets include the 60-meter run and 60-meter hurdle, as well as the heptathlon and pentathlon, which are combined events.
Most indoor tracks are 200 meters in the inside lane, which is approximately half the size of an outdoor track. The smaller size of the track means the 100-meter and 200-meter races are not normally run during indoor track and field meets. The 200-meter race, in particular, is difficult to run on an indoor track because the inside lanes cover a shorter distance than the outside lanes and there is not enough length on the track to stagger starting positions.
To compensate for the loss of the short sprints, indoor track meets usually include the 60-meter dash and the 60-meter hurdles. These races are run down the shortened straightaway of the indoor track. The hurdles race includes five hurdles over the 60-meter course.
Field events at an indoor track and field meet are the same as at an outdoor meet. Field events that are found at an outdoor meet but not included at an indoor meet include the discus, hammer and javelin throws. The exclusion of these throwing events is a result of the size limitations of the infield at an indoor track and field meet.
The two combined events found at an indoor meet are the heptathlon and the pentathlon. The heptathlon is normally reserved for men, though some indoor meets also offer the event for women. The pentathlon is generally accepted as a combined event for women only in international competition.
The heptathlon consists of seven events. Four events are held on the first day of competition. These are the 60-meter run, long jump, shot put and the high jump. On the second day, the athletes compete in the 60-meter hurdles, pole vault and 1,000-meter run. The winner is determined by a scoring system that awards points based on time, height and distance achieved during the individual contests.
The pentathlon is a combined competition that consists of five events. The events can vary depending on the organization governing the indoor track and field meet. The accepted events for international, amateur competition include the 60-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and 800-meter run. Like other combined events, the pentathlon is determined by a point system.