Archive for November, 2011
My birthday came and went on the 6th… I’m 29 now…
Sunday afternoons are some of my favorite times to train. During the week, I’m constantly racing the clock to get to work, to get to training, to hurry and wait; my time is precious but it’s not mine. Sundays I have the day off, I’m rested, I feel good, there’s no pressure or expectations. The track is quiet, not full of the college students or fear of the ticket people and I’m in no hurry to rush to work, or rush to something else. It’s just me, my hammer, and the circle. (And on most Sundays, I’m joined by my training partners who also enjoy training at its purist.) It’s the pleasant Sunday afternoons that remind me why I do what I do. My focused is almost like meditation, I problem solve, I don’t think about how I’ll pay the bills or work or the stresses of my personal life, I just feel the throw.
This last Sunday was the first time I’ve gone over 67m with the 4k since I’ve started fall training. It was an easy rhythm day and I decided to see how well things held together if I tried to be a little more aggressive. I throw so much heavy and know those marks are where I’d like them to be and are growing, it’s nice to actually see my comp hammer go too. I’m pleased with my progress and I think it’s testament of how things are going and how they will go the rest of the year.
Learning to feel more and over think less is something that I’ve struggled with the last few years and something I’ve been addressing. When left to my own devices, I will deconstruct the throw in its entirety to the point I can’t even get four turns and a release at times
I’ve simplified a lot of my training this year and corrected many of the problems I think have plagued me in years past.
1. Listening to my body: I do what I am told and what is expected. If you tell me I should take 100 throws a day and lift 800lbs for 5 hours, 7 times a week, I will probably try to do it. When my body starts to feel tired, I push harder trying to over come tiredness, soreness, and pain. There’s a reason why I have a metal rod in my left leg… I’ve made several mistakes of not listening to my body. So coming off my break and feeling so good and seeing how well things were going, I knew I needed to make changes. I’m not 21 anymore. I’m making an effort not to over train, to take time off and not feel like I’m being lazy and know when to do active recovery instead of adding more training in. This year, while I’m being more vigilant of this, I’m working with people who respect that and trying to be smarter of how I balance work in this equation unlike last year…
2. Going back to the basics training/lifting/fitness: I know how I feel when I’m throwing my best. It’s not pure strength that I need, it’s athleticism and yes, rest. There’s a certain strength I feel when I’m throwing far and it’s not always found in the weight room. I can get strong and get fast, but I burn out very quickly. I know this, some of my best years are when I get hurt and am forced to rest. So I’m not a machine in the weight room. Knowing my time and my energy, this is better spent elsewhere. I lift “heavy” once a week with a various squat (front,back,OH) or dead and it’s typically just one lift on that day. I focus on Olympic lifting once a week with a heavy/intense Olympic lift and again, it’s typically one lift on that day. And then I train my overall conditioning (fitness, strength, power, speed, etc.) with shorter Met Con training twice a week which consists of moving mostly med weight quickly. These days I get my general fitness, core strength, balance, agility, conditioning, different type of overall strengthening, etc. When I feel more fit, explosive and fast, I throw better.
I get my specific strength through heavy implements. I’m throwing the weight (yes, like a hammer), 16lbs, 6k, and 5k. When I’m feeling strong and put together with my heavy hammers, I know the 4k will fly. I also use puds, plates, and bars to get the specific strength in my training as well.
Last year, in the fall when I was throwing far my heavy hammers were going well. I was throwing the 5k around 57-58m. During the season, I got away from doing as much heavy, wanting to go light and fast. My 4k started to finally take off later in the season as I was moving into my peak, but I was lacking specific strength in the sense my 5k was only going 52-55m. My furthest throw last year with 4k was just over 68m… if I could have kept my specific strength better, I think that would have helped.
So yes, I realize I’m limited with time and energy and I think using heavy implements are a better and more efficient way for me to get my hammer fitness.
3. Going back to basics of throwing: The hammer is very complex. Once you think you know something, realize there is another school of thought and even more complex science and formulas. Some want the low point here, your foot there, this goes there. And I’ve gotten a lot of unsolicited advice of how if I changed this or added that or in the last turn or on the start if I just… the list goes on and on. But the throw is always different and no one can possibly think about all these things during the throw. My time feeling my throw, watching and coaching others, I’ve learned good athletes will always try and typically succeed in hitting positions you tell them to hit. The problem is, if they can’t hit it the right way, they’ll find another way and it’s usually wrong.
Koji told me throwing is like signing your name, your signature. Different every time but distinctly yours. You could go slow and be meticulous and write in block letters and it would be the same every time, but it wouldn’t be a good signature and lack the artistic qualities. Kibwe and Crystal told me they doesn’t think about where their foot lands and this and that, just pushing and the where they are in relation to the hammer. And in truth, when I’m throwing my best, I’m not think of anything. Once I sit back and start the push, the throws seems to carry itself. I believe getting too bogged down in details has been a problem.
I’ve tried to slow it down and hit position and it ends up looking like connect the dots instead of Rembrandt. This year, I’m not trying to do anything special, just the basics.
I’m not going to neglect drills this year! Last year, I didn’t find a job for the first 5 months I was in Colorado. This meant plenty of time for recovery and training and this meant more drills and focus at training. I wasn’t trying to get through my 20-25 throws and rushed to the porta-potty and then off to work. I had time to do the little things right. I’m getting back to that. I start every practice with some sort of specific drill that flows directly into my throwing. I don’t just do drills to get through them or simply to warm up. It’s neuromuscular activation at it’s best.
Right now I’m working on my start: catching it high on the wind and pushing with my right side while keeping more weight on my left. When my start is balanced and doing good things, it follows in to the rest of the turns. Along with that, I’m focus on sitting back against the hammer and smoothing out the transition between my turns. With all the things I could think about, I think setting up a balance throw pushing from the right with sitting back against the hammer and smooth transitions is all I need to get me over the hump.
So yeah, My 29th birthday came and passed a few Sundays ago on the 6th. Though I didn’t do anything on that day, it gave me time to reflect. I picked up my first hammer almost 12 years ago. I’ve put in a lot of time and effort. I’ve done a lot of things right, I’ve stumbled on things by accident, and yes, I’ve made some wrong decisions that resulted in not great things happening. But I’m learning, I’m learning every day and I’m getting better. I guess you can still teach an old dog new tricks, but nothing is wrong with brushing up and perfecting the oldies but goodies either.
Happy training and learning to appreciate every moment of it… doesn’t last forever.