Archive for November, 2015

Time To Ring Some Changes

November 8, 2015

Take your eye off the ball, and suddenly three months passes, eh? Sorry, I ought to have updated this blog since August.

Sometimes, I think it’s easy to forget a job like that if you’ve nothing burning inside you to say. That was rather how it was for me in September. With the (successful) 2015 season over and now just a collection or mostly pleasant memories, I knuckled down to winter training, pretty much along the lines I’d hoped for when I sat down and sketched it out. I think I may even have drafted a blog at that point, though I’m damned if I can remember for sure, and certainly can’t find it anywhere. Age, I guess.

I didn’t have any competition scheduled after the World Masters in Lyon. I could have scuttled around chasing up a few low-grade open meetings and stuff in early September, but after a bit of thought (not much, to be honest!) I opted for a couple of weeks of good rest, and an early start to winter training. I don’t recall the rest phase being especially good, but I fitted quickly back into my routines when it ended. As usual, I think I’d finished the track season “fast but maybe not all that fit” (by my own expectations). That’s usual, and is mirrored by my typical season starting with me feeling “fit but not fast”.

What I did achieve was about three weeks of quite high quality basic training. I has a couple of weeks of holiday coming up at the start of October, so I pushed it quite hard, knowing I’d get a break quite soon. As is so often the case, the main focus was learning the lessons from 2015’s track season, and looking ahead to the needs of next year. A year older, but a year wiser, maybe?

One thing I did resolve to do was to bring in an outside view on what I was doing, and how well, or otherwise, I was doing it. Coincidentally, my superb chiropractor, Jesper, offered me an SFMA – a Selective Functional Movement Assessment. We were both surprised we’d not been through this before. At time of blogging this, I’m awaiting the results and recommendations. It was certainly thorough. I also spoke to one of the longer-serving Personal Trainers at the gym I use; someone I’ve observed working with a wide range of clients over the years, and whose reputation was extremely good.

Guy and I discussed where I was at, and what I thought would suit me best via ten personal training sessions mixed in with my winter training, roughly at the frequency of one a week. Basically, I was looking for someone who was going to:

* assess where I was, (eg was I kidding myself?)
* assess what would work well and push me, (easy otherwise just to do the comfortable & familiar)
* observe me closely in those tailored workouts (to see the things I can’t, etc)
* help me set some expectations and then meet them, (easy to “drift” without expectations)
* assess where I needed to go on to next.

Well, we’ve begun. The first session was a week ago, and I think I’ve nearly recovered from it! Guy certainly has high expectations of and for me. I think I worked at 101% in order to meet them. 24 hours later, I realised that some of the initial strength tests we did to help benchmark performance may have set off problems in my ever-dodgy left shoulder. Several days later, that sadly seems to be the case. Fortunately, those tests are not part of every session.

Focus at this point is core strength and developing a basis for better explosive power. I have fast reactions, that get me out of the starting blocks well, for example, but do I have the power to exploit that lead? Some experiences from 2015 would suggest not. We hope to go on to looking at the kind of exercises that will help me improve my plyometric strength. I have good leg “turnover” for example, but can I improve stride length, rebound, etc?

It’s already clear I’ll be fitting the rest of my training around this once a week blitz on my body. My plan had originally been for it to be the other way around, but it’s equally clear, for example, that the session that follows two days after “the big one” will need to include a recuperative element – I suffer from DOMS, don’t forget. Similarly, I don’t want to burn out core musceles etc a couple of days before a session with Guy either. However, that won’t be rocket science, just a case of finding the right order of sessions for the eight-day cycle I’m following, and ensure I still put in sessions that are overall fitness-specific, speed specific and that attend to the mental and technical aspects of what I do.

Interesting times. eh?

(Should you be interested, this blog’s title is from my favourites The Albion Band.)