Sunday, February 14, 2016

It's All In the Details (Part I)

            There have been things besides the typical swim, bike, and run workouts that have been making a big difference, and will contribute to making this season a game-changer.  Lately I’ve been focusing a lot more on the following: lifting, chiropractic care, hip exercises, sleep, and refueling.  I’ll address all but the last one here.  Next week I’ll talk about my personal experiences with nutrition and refueling lately.
            I got into lifting weights while competing in Track & Field in college.  I wish I had pushed myself even more back then though.  I was timid when I did cleans and some lifts, and I feel like I could have improved a lot more than what I did.  After college, Andy and I still liked to lift, and then we got into P90x with the crazy amount of pull-ups and push-ups.  Now I do an off-season weight room program with my student-athletes 3 days/week, and I also do P90x at the end of the sessions with a few of them.  It takes me about an hour each time.  Our favorite week is max week of course, and we are continuously pushing ourselves, and each other, to keep getting better and stronger.  I quit doing back squat since I’ve been dealing with back pain, but here are my current maxes….
  • Front Squat: 4x135
  • Bench: 2x120
  • Clean: 110
  • Snatch: 2x85
  • Incline Bench: 3x95  
  • Chin-ups: 29 
As a result, I’m feeling way stronger in the pool and putting down times that I haven’t seen in years!
            Getting regular chiropractic care has been huge!  I’ve had a lot more back pain (compressed spine, pinched nerve, etc) lately than what I care for, but Dr. Wendy and Dr. Scott have been tremendous in keeping me going.  They have also been working on my feet regularly so I can keep running without pain from bunions, and I am ever so thankful for that!  Dr. Wendy also gave me different exercises to be doing in order to combat my issues with my hip flexor (which has been tight for years and then in turn I end up with a stressed hamstring).  I’ve been doing basic kettle bell swings when I’m in the weight room in order to work on the motion with my hip flexors and strengthen them.  At night I also do a few different hip exercises that focus on lateral movement (fire hydrants, side lunges with a kick, and side leg raises) in order to better strengthen my hips and give me a stronger base for a stronger performance.
            In part of Alan Webb’s session at the Track Coaches’ Clinic in Madison, he talked about the value of his attention to the details.  For example, he believed he needed 9 hours of sleep to perform his best.  So he diligently made sure he went to bed early so he could get enough sleep.  If he fell short, he would try to make up for it with a nap.  He explained that there are a lot of similarly talented people out there, but doing the little things is what puts you over the edge and ahead of your competition.  If you have the same capabilities as the person toeing the line next to you, done all of the same workouts, but one has been more attentive to taking care of the other stuff (the mental, the food, the sleep, the recovery), then that one will be the one who pulls ahead.  Speaking of sleep, boy what a difference it is on the days that I have gotten good sleep the night before!

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