Thanksgiving Training Update

Thanksgiving day is a bit different in Switzerland. For starters, I have to work. Turkeys are harder to find. And no one understands what stuffing is. But this year it was nevertheless special since it was the last day of my first eight-week block of training this season. That gives me a good opportunity to look back at the first two months of training and see how things are going after all of the changes I implemented this year.

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New Year, New Plan

The first major decision I had to make this offseason was whether to continue to train. That was simple. But as soon as I decided to keep training I faced the tougher question of how I would train. A lot is changing in my life, so I want to make sure I do things right if I will keep training. This means a host of changes in my training, but also many of the key elements that have helped me over the past decade.
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I’m Going to Zurich!

Zürich_2014Today was the day Swiss athletes have been waiting for as the federation named its final team for the home European Championships later this month. I’ve had more stress over the last two weeks waiting for this announcement than I can ever remember having. So it was a huge relief to scroll down the press release and see my name on the list. I’m going to Zurich!
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The Four Eyes Principle

features-foureyes[1]When I started working in the finance world back in 2010, I quickly became familiar with the Four Eyes Principle. At the time I thought “four-eyes” was what bullies called kids with glasses, but in finance it is a risk reduction device. Humans make mistakes, both intential and unintentional, and having two people (i.e. four eyes) look at something before being approved can help minimize the mistakes.
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Sweet Number Six

Yesterday the Swiss Championships took place in Frauenfeld and I captured my sixth straight title. And while I again had little competition, this victory felt a extra special. The crowd was small, but with my parents arriving the day before the meet I knew I had fans. The European championships organizers also used the meet to fine tune their preparations, including live coverage and interviews from Schelbi in the infield, a live stream, and the official European Championships hammer retrieval car. My top athlete also made the women’s podium for the first time.
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Fighting Through The Pain

I always have the tendency to want to “man up” and train through small injuries and pain. By my recollection I have missed only one day of training due to injury over the past decade and I’m quite proud of that. I have a very high pain tolerance that lets me put the little aches and pains in the back of my mind and push through. But just because I did train doesn’t mean I should have. Looking back there are many days where taking the day off would have been a much better decision. Just because the pain has been moved to the back of the mind doesn’t mean that it has disappeared. The body adjusts and copes to avoid the pain. And when the pain finally disappears, the body still reacts like a trained dog, bracing itself for the pain it expects to arrive.
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Season Update: Training to Compete

I haven’t blogged about my season so far because, frankly, the results weren’t worth writing about. Had I been throwing personal bests, you’d be the first to know. Had my training gone in the crapper, I’d be dissecting it right here before your eyes. But instead I’ve been stuck in a middle ground: great training but bad meets.
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Växjö Training Camp with Bondarchuk

Near the end of January I picked up a normal
hammer for the first time since September. After months of focusing on developing strength with heavy and short hammers, this was the longest I have gone without touching a normal hammer.

My results have been strong with the normal hammer, but I find myself sending my training results to Bondarchuk with footnotes saying that the results should be even better considering the state of my technique. My technique with the heavy implements was quite good, but short hammers do not transfer well to normal hammers. Just see how many good weight throwers have problems with hammer technique. I still haven’t found the right feeling and rhythm with the normal length hammers and slowly some of my old technical problems have reemerged. Plus, since the hammers are lighter, I amplify the problems by being less patient.
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October Training Update

Last year I wrote about my training only sparsely since there was not that much new or exciting going on. But this year I am barely two weeks into training and I am already eager to give a training update. As I discussed in my season review a few days ago, there were several problems that kept me from reaching my goals last season. I hope to learn from those mistakes and make some improvements to my training. This year I have kept one of my goals from last year: technique. I need to improve the start of my throw by staying a little lower and getting more “range” on the first turn. Then I need to stay relaxed throughout the final turns. In addition, I have a new second goal, which is to keep my focus on these points even as the competition season begins. Last year this went well in the off-season, but as soon as a little extra stress was added to the formula (be it an injury, more work, house guests, travel for competitions, etc.), the wheels came off. I have also developed a plan for both of these points and am already implementing it. Read more

My 2013 Season in Review

After taking two weeks off at the end of September, I have already jumped back into training for 2014 and the first week is now behind me. During my time off I took some time to reflect on the last season. Whether I make this public or not, this is something I do every year. Some things are more clear in hindsight than they were at the time and everyone must learn from these moments in order to continue to improve in the future.

I had just two goals to start out the season. Unlike many athletes, I do not define my goals in terms of how far I want to throw or what place I want to finish. I simply identify what I need to do to get better and then focus on that. After the 2012 season I was physically in the best shape of my life but I couldn’t translate that into the throw. Therefore my first goal was clear: my technique needed to get better. My only other goal related to my priorities for competitions. Rather than trying to hit a peak for the Swiss Championships, I wanted to shift my peak to the Jeux de la Francophonie this year. Having a later peak allowed me more time to prepare and hopefully reach better performances. With those two goals I started out towards the 2013 season.
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