How does one achieved sustained success in a venture? That’s the ultimate question in life, whether one is aiming to throw the hammer far, or just be the world’s greatest father. It’s also a question that distance coach Steve Magness and write Brad Stulberg pose at the start of their new book Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success which will be released next week. Read more
Focusing on the two hours a day an athlete trains misses out on the vast majority of what is going on in an athletes life. The other 22 hours a day in many cases are more important. Lifestyle can have both positive and negative effects on performance and to reach the top you truly need to be a 24-hour athlete. On this week’s episode Vern talks about how lifestyle can affect performance both positively and negatively. Read more
Work! Work! Work! It is comfortable to just do work. Anyone can do work and look busy but is your work actually working? Is it productive? Are you digging a deeper hole or making progress toward a goal? How do you know? As a coach this an important question to ask daily. Your athletes may be getting better in spite of the work not because of it. Read more
Looking back on this site, I can’t believe I have never covered the topic of the so called “work-life balance.” In interviews I am often asked how I balance everything I do, but I have never sat down to write about it. Part of the reason is that I am hardly alone. Just as I do, Nick also works, coaches, trains, contributes to this site, and devotes a lot of time to family. Unless you are top 10 in the world, this is the life of a modern thrower. Another reason I have not written about it is that there are many others that do it better than I do. One of those people is Kevin McMahon. McMahon was a two-time Olympian and top American thrower for more than a decade despite working a full-time job, coaching, and being married. We invited him on this week’s podcast to discuss his experiences in finding the right balance, priorities, as well as some of the advantages that we all have noticed can come from this balancing act. Read more
Sometimes learning more about throwing can lead you to some weird places. Over the last year or two it has led me to read a lot of work by distance coaches. There is so little throws-related research and writing taking place that I am always looking for some nugget of information in another sport that might carry over to throwing. The mass participation in distance running means there are a lot of new ideas, research, and writing on training topics. Former Nike Oregon Project assistant coach and current University of Houston distance coach Steve Magness does a good job of keeping track of what is going in the field and contributing his own ideas on his blog, the Science of Running. His most recent post is definitely one that throwers can learn from too.
As I mentioned last year, mental fatigue can hurt your training. A recent study showed that cyclists peak power output was reduced 20% after being put through demanding cognitive tasks. I notice this first hand: since I’ve started to work my post-work training results have dropped and my morning training is now regularly better.
I’ve began regularly throwing twice a day after I graduated from law school back in 2008. When I was living in Kamloops my training sessions would start at 9 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon. The results were almost always better in the afternoon. When I arrived in Switzerland in 2010, I continued training twice a day but had to adjust my training times. Since I have to work in between trainings, my morning session normally starts between 7:30 and 8:30 (often depending on the sunrise) and my afternoon training session normally begins closer to 4 (unless I can squeeze it in at lunch).
If anything, you would think this change would mean that my morning training sessions would get worse in comparison. But the opposite has happened. Now my morning training session is, without fail, my best of the day. This summer some of my best results were as early as 7 o’clock. And my afternoon sessions were continuously unimpressive.
A little over a year ago I posted about what a day in the life of a hammer thrower looked like. At the time I was basically training full time in Canada, so although I spent many hours training, my day also featured some down time.
With my new job, I figured it was time to post an updated “day in the life” post. I think that the schedule below is probably more typical for the hammer throwers I know. The hammer throw is not a high paying sport, so a job is a necessity for most. And with a job comes the need for flexibility. In Canada my schedule would never vary. In Zurich, a late afternoon conference call may force me to move my afternoon training session to lunch and turn my lunch into a quick sandwich on the go. You do what you need to do to get in training, even if that means throwing in the dark or finding some other work around.
Throughout my career as a hammer thrower, I’ve constantly been traveling to find coaching. I traveled to Harold Connolly‘s cabin in southwest Virginia, to clinics on both coasts, and across the country to learn from the country’s top coaches. As a young college thrower, I went to training camps in Hungary, Belarus, and Slovenia to learn from the world’s top coaches. Then, in 2005, I met Anatoli Bondarchuk after he moved to Kamloops. He wrote my training programs while I attended law school in Seattle and after years of making the five-hour drive to visit him on the weekends, I’ve spent most of my time in Kamloops since graduating in 2008.
Hello, my name is Martin and I’m addicted to the hammer throw. It may have been obvious from my obsessively regular posts about the hammer throw on this website and others. But that’s just the addiction you see on the surface. It is much deeper than that.
This weekend I am preparing to head down to Lake Como for a four-day weekend escape with my visiting girlfriend, my friend Andrea, and her brother. I know the chance to relax and have fun in Italy will be well worth it, but I must be honest, I’m having a little anxiety about taking the time off of throwing. In fact, I’m even going to squeeze in a little throwing session Thursday morning before we catch the train. Still, my three day break from throwing will be my longest since September 2007.
I’ve been pretty incommunicado the past week. That’s because I’ve been settling into life in Zürich. I arrived this week and will be staying here throughout the rest of the season. Through the support of my club, LC Zürich, and my job at UBS, I am able to train, earn some money, and have time to travel to some great competitions across the continent.