Cribs Meets Hammer Throwing

Sportanlage Sihlhölzli in 1935

Back in November our historic hammer throw training facility here in Zurich officially closed and turned into skatepark. While it was a huge loss, luckily we had another option to move to: Sportanlage Sihlhölzli. Sihlhölzli is a dedicated track and field facility and sport hall located less than a mile from the city center in Zurich.
Read more

Meet Recap: European Cup Winter Throwing 2012

This weekend I participated in the European Cup Winter Throwing for the third straight year. The idea of the meet is to provide a winter championship for events, such as the hammer throw, that cannot compete indoors. Since we throw outside a warmer location is ideal, yet this is the first time in three years that this goal was actually accomplished.

This year’s edition of the meet was held in Bar, Montenegro, a small Adriatic port town in Montenegro. With picturesque mountains, a ring just 100 meters from the sea, and warm weather, the conditions were perfect. After a strong opening meet last weekend I was hoping to throw 65 or 66 meters this weekend especially after being motivated by Sultana‘s massive Canadian record yesterday of 75.04 meters. Alas it was not to be.
Read more

Meet Recap: Zurich Winterwurf

The European outdoor season begins much later than the North American season, and that is especially the case here in Switzerland where most athletes do not start throwing until the end of May. But for athletes competing in the long throws, this can be a frustratingly long wait. I’ve competed at the European Cup Winter Throwing the past few years and will do so again this year. In addition, this year my club organized our own winter throwing cup here in Zürich today. Combined, these meets make up my pre-season; I get some feedback on how training is going and then have the opportunity to focus entirely on training again for two months before the real season starts.
Read more

Arizona Training Camp 2012

As I left work last week several coworkers asked me where I would be headed during my time off. I explained that I would first be attending a friend’s wedding and then off to a training camp in Scottsdale. The response was along the lines of: “You mean you’ll be working out the whole time? Doesn’t sound like much of a vacation to me.” I get a similar response whenever I head out on a vacation, as if it is impossible to enjoy yourself in a warm location if you have to train. Rather than thinking of it as work, I couldn’t think of a much better vacation than the one I am having right now. The two people sitting next to me on the plane ride down both were headed to Arizona to play golf. So why do people think that I also wouldn’t enjoy playing my favorite sport non-stop for a week?
Read more

Throwing Hammer Indoors

Throwing the hammer indoors in Kamloops last winter.

Throwing in the winter can present all sorts of challenges, but as I keep repeating on this site, it is important to throw the hammer year-round. The weight throw might look like the hammer throw, but nothing can replace the real thing. Throwing outside is the best option since you can get more feedback from your results, and I posted some tips for doing that last month. But it isn’t possible for everyone. In some places the winter is just too extreme to have a productive training session outside. Elsewhere, you are constrained by limited sunlight. If you work a normal job, or even a part-time job, it can be difficult to find daylight hours to go throwing (luckily our new facility this year has some lights since that was the major issue for me last season).
Read more

Holiday Training Update

It has been a while since I’ve written about my training, mostly because I’ve been exhausted for the past two months. For the six weeks after I visited Kamloops I was busy getting back into weight lifting for the first time in months. It took me a while to see some results and they finally came in the form of fatigue. Therefore I was excited two weeks ago when Dr. B gave me an early Christmas present in the form of a new training program.

As is typical, my training typically alternate between easy lifting phases and moderate lifting phases. This new program falls into the easy category and I, as always, think this period will be akin to rest. But it never is. If you are training ten times a week, you cannot classify it as a rest period no matter how little weight lifting there is. To top it off, my throwing volume is at an all-time high in this program. At first, I this was due to long-distance miscommunication between us, but it wasn’t. And after reshuffling rest days due to Christmas last week I clocked in a new weekly throwing volume record: 325 full throws! Read more

Throwing in the Snow

The training ring at Sihlhölzli this morning.

It might surprise people, but we get surprisingly little snow in Zurich. The winter months remind me more of overcast Seattle than the snowy alps nearby. Just this week we received our first snowfall of the year. Many people go inside to throw the weight at the first sign of snow. But it is important to throw the hammer in the winter. It isn’t that hard either.

I may not be from the midwest, but I’ve learned a few tricks that make throwing in the snow very easy. And, if that fails, you can check back in a few weeks for some ideas on building an indoor throwing cage. Read more

Training on Sundays

For most people in Switzerland, Sunday is a day of rest. The labor laws generally prevent anyone from working on Sunday. Therefore, with a few exceptions, all stores are closed. Residents are expected to keep loud noises to a minimum, meaning that even things like laundry and vacuuming can be frowned upon in certain apartment buildings.

But since I work all week, Sunday is the one day where I have lots of free time. It is my biggest training day of the week, yet the only place to lift weights is in the basement fitness studio of a hotel half way across town. Furthermore, I have to go out of my way to pick up an access card from my club on Friday. And the equipment doesn’t always fit my needs. This is a stark contrast to America where you can almost always find a gym open and when you can’t you know the guy who has the key.
Read more

Kamloops Training Camp 2011

Reunited with the master.

Over the past ten days I have taken a trip back in time. I returned to my former home and training partners. I returned to working with my coach in person. I returned to the routine of a life 100% focused on training. In other words, I returned to Kamloops.

After nearly a year away from coach Bondarchuk, I needed to touch base with him. We talk or exchange emails every week, but that isn’t the same as getting in person feedback from him. The feedback is something he also needs, since it is also difficult for him to determine my progress without observing me first hand.
Read more

Farewell to the Allmend

Every morning at sunrise I would start my day at the Brunau Allmend training facility in Zurich. It will be torn down in a few weeks.

On Monday I received an unwelcome surprise. My club’s manager told me that on November 14th construction would begin to turn our throwing facility into a skatepark. I was a bit in shock even if the news was not a complete surprise. A year and a half ago the city cleared the final legal hurdle to move forward with this project. We were first told that construction would begin last October. Then we were told May. And finally we were told it would start this October. With the month almost over and no sign of surveyors or bulldozers on the horizon I was starting to feel invincible, like a cancer patient who has lived decades after his doctor gave him just a month to live.
Read more