18' 1" Olympic Trials 2008

18' 1" Olympic Trials 2008

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Things with Meaning

              What to say about living in Northern California again? Honestly I haven’t written lately because I haven’t had much to say. I think that part of it is the extreme comfort or contentment I’m feeling being back in the Mountains. A large part of my goal in coming out here may sound funny to some, but it is to find a sort of Spiritual, Psychological, and Emotional center and its proving as effective as I could have hoped. These elements of being an athlete are too often overlooked and the sometimes looming pressures and damages of physical training will tear down these most important facets of being a next level performer. When you are young you constantly beat yourself down with training to become the best, but as you get older in body I think you get stronger in mind. All the old Clichés start to add up and make sense, but dwelling on there meaning is a waste of energy, and forward thinking must be essential. I apologize for the tangent but the issue, in my opinion, is horribly overlooked.
Back to me….
My daily routine.
In the morning I wake up and build a fire. Its still in the 60’s during the day, but at night it gets chilly and colder weather is coming so evening and morning fires will become a must. The wood stove is right next to my recently built workout area. I do 3 sets of push ups, Ab curl ups (back injury friendly), Planks, Opposite arm opposite leg, Cat Camel (back therapy, flossing of the discs), then a reverse row (which is also therapy). I do this in a circuit everyday in honor of the importance of routine taught to me by Daniel Ryland. After that I eat a light breakfast and prepare for either a lower body session or an upper body session. Then I drink some protein, eat some lunch and head out to work on one of my many projects. The projects are a form of meditation for me, but I always make time during some part of the day to sit down and meditate on life and pole vault if even just for a few brief minutes. 
My upper body training has remained almost the same. It is all exercises on the rings only, with the aid of weight vests and weight belts to increase difficulty.  My lower body training has changed. I was spending a lot of time on the bike and the pool. But numbers showed that over the past year, I have gotten slower. I came up with some ways to have a more extensive focus on fast twitch and muscle recruitment in the water and out, but I don’t have access to a warm pool anymore. I also lost access to a stationary bike for now, but I will eventually get a bike trainer when I can figure out a way to make some money. Meanwhile, I do the same bike intervals at the same speed or higher on an actual bike going uphill, and it is a hell of a lot more fun. I do squats hanging weight between my legs from a belt, so it does not put any strain on my back. I also enjoy squats on the bongo board wearing a weight belt. The importance of stabilizer strength is also something constantly overlooked and is the key ingredient to all of my training.
 In place of the pool training I am doing speed work uphill. This is a bit more risky as far as injury management goes. But before I left Idaho to move to Minnesota I had slowly eased myself into stair and ramp/hill speed training with the idea that is was lower impact and a more logical stepping stone to get back to flat land running workouts. When I went to Minnesota I sort of lost site of that part of training and have decided to give it another shot. So far I have been able to handle it, and am very excited about that fact.
After a long talk with my good friend and fellow vaulter Robbert Jan Jansen of the Netherlands a few days ago, he helped me realize something. I’ve been running wrong. Alex Tapplin was the first to point out to me the vital importance of tilting my hips forward with a tight “ab brace” not only for better and more efficient running mechanics, but for the protection of my injury, giving me the ability to have a higher volume of running workouts and jumps. I know Alex and I were on task with that, but once the season started and the jumping took over, I lost focus of it. Since then, I have been dwelling on minimizing and removing all lower body impact from my training. When really I could have probably been spending all this time running, even if it was just in very short distances (like 10-20m) until I break form, then stop. The problem for me is taking things to far, which is a personality trait that has gotten me in trouble and also given me great victory. But that topic is for another day. The point is that I will run till way form breaks, then far beyond that point, putting heavy stress on my back as my hips turn out. This also happens at the end of vault sessions when fatigue and stubborn habits set in, creating a situation where severe damage can take place. Anyway, I am hoping to do this hill training for a few more weeks with 100% focus in sessions in my form and not in the volume or intensity of the workout, just the form. Beating this new physical stature into my subconscious so it becomes the only way I can run. Then I will take that new repair to the track and ultimately, to the runway, where I can only imagine how immense the benefits can be.
So that is what I am up too. I should have never said I didn’t have a lot to say. I guess I was wrong.

-Keep it Classy

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