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A Different Kind of Year

Last night as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep I was feeling slightly bad for myself when I thought about how my workouts had changed and how my running habits had changed. But then I recalled that in spite of what feels like a shift toward “exercising” (I really hate that word) I managed to pull off some pretty impressive stuff in 2016.

PR’S All Over the Place

Deadlift-After spending a ton of time on my deadlifting technique, including a sumo pull, we decided to try 190lbs. So, deadlift PR.

Push press– After barely being able to hoist a barbell over my head, I learned to do a decent push press, push press and strict press, with weight on the barbell. Push press PR- 70lbs. (Maybe it was 75). A year after purchasing my first practice barbell for my basement gym I just purchased a 15k barbell to start practicing more Olympic lifts.

Bench press- Another solid lift that was pretty new to me 2 years ago, so another PR 75lbs. (maybe 80)

Squats- Back squats, front squats, box squats,single leg squats, all replaced lunges, lunges, lunges. And we did lunges too. Reverse barbell lunges and walking barbell lunges. My goal was to do a single leg squat-unassisted, and before I sprained my ankle, I could do them. Another goal achieved.

 

Running PR- First I began working on my form, and over the course of the year my form changed pretty dramatically. I began working on my pose form, and tried training for endurance in order to run a 25k trail race. Although I sprained my ankle in a 10 miler practice trail race, 4 weeks later I was STILL able to complete the 25k race. I wouldn’t recommend it, but because of my conditioning and ability to train through the injury, I accomplished a trail race PR and a distance PR.

 

And during the course of the year I still kept learning how to do new stuff-things I didn’t think I would ever be able to do, like box jumps. I learned the importance of having the right training shoes, whether it is for road running, trail running, or lifting. I also learned that even though you take a break from intense training, it doesn’t mean you have to get lazy and sit around eating crap all day. I learned to listen to my body; I have a hard time training in the heat and humidity, and it is ok to back off a bit if your body doesn’t feel right. I also learned that life stress is the same as workout stress and when under extreme stress it is even more important to listen to your body and back off the intense training. I learned that your body will tell you when it is time to put it into gear again, but you can’t start the engine in high gear.

This year more than any other year I learned that every body reacts and adapts differently to different types of training, and looking back over my training years, I can honestly say there are things that work for me and things that do not work for me. It is not enough to have a program that is supposed to work to accomplish specific goals and adaptations, there needs to be an element of engagement and commitment as well. There is a fine balance between what is perceived to be working and what is actually working. There is a fine balance between soreness and pain. Every body has limitations to range of motion that may prohibit an athlete form reaching full ROM for any particular movement. But what are those limits?

As I look back on 2016, I am ending the year feeling a little mediocre about my training, but really, I shouldn’t.  I ran 15 races, many of which were 5 miles or longer, so my disappointment in my 5k times is pretty unnecessary considering I was not training for speed. The last four months I have been focusing on lifting maybe no more than 80%, and most of the time keeping it in the 50-60% range, so it feels like I have lost my strength, when really I haven’t. The last four months really haven’t been about me as my husband continues to get stronger every day.

Maybe it is time to move away from SMART goals for 2017 and keep it even more simple:

  • Learn something new-clean and snatch
  • Improve something- overhead anything, 5k speed, endurance
  • Change something up that isn’t working-not sure about that just yet

“I can help your body but I can’t help your mind.”

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