Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Max Efforts

Training near one's max effort can certainly mess with one's motivation and confidence. When your goal is on the opposite side of a brick wall, what do you do? You can either point yourself forward, put your head down, hit the gas and accelerate and hope for the best, or you can find a path around the wall. It's a given that ultimately you will want to overcome the wall head on, but sometimes you need to know when to pick your battles.

This scenario has been playing in my head since Saturday's Snatch session. On Sat, I performed 8 sets of 10 snatches (5L,5R) on the minute for a total of 80 snatches. This was my max effort. Preparing for the RKC Snatch Test, I have been using Steve Freides' protocol and I knew that following this session, my next attempt should be 9 sets of 10 "on the minute". Knowing what it felt like to grind out those 8 sets and knowing how I felt afterward, there has been a constant fear, or anxiety, in me regarding today's session. How in the world could I get 9 sets out? Did I have it in me to push that hard? On top of it, I am still struggling to get over this cough and congestion that I've had for two weeks now. Six days on antibiotics and I'm only slightly better than I was than before I started the meds.

When the alarm went off this morning at 5:00, my body told me to get another hour's sleep. I didn't listen to it. After hitting the snooze once, ok maybe twice, I got up and got moving.

Warmup with 2-Hand Swings: 16kg - 20, 24kg - 20

Double Clean-Squat-Push Press: 20kg - 3 sets of 5

Then it was time to start Snatching...

Snatch: 24kg - 5/5 on the Minute for 5 minutes
Snatch: 24kg - 5/5 on the 2nd Minute for 4 minutes

I didn't have it in me today to make it all the way through. But at the same time I wasn't going to end up with anything less than 90 snatches. This was definitely an easier workout than Saturday. I didn't find it easy by any means either. So I guess the 9 minute threshold will now be the focus of my training. Breaking through that barrier head first and not looking back. The anxiety is now gone.

I doubt I'm the only one who gets these feelings, when training hard right up against one's max. I probably could have saved myself a lot of worry by planning to go around this wall of mine immediately after Saturday's session. But at the same time, there's a part of me that thinks, 'hey you just did 8 minutes, with a few days rest you can certainly do 9 minutes'. I think that was my ego talking. Maybe the anxiety is good. Maybe it forces us to prepare in ways we wouldn't have otherwise. Regardless, it's probably always smart to have a detour map handy just in case you get to that wall and you don't want to get splattered.

Training Tip of the Day: If you do insist on swinging or snatching kettlebells while sick, do not use Puffs Plus Tissues with Aloe. Next time you pick up that kb, it will be very slippery in your hands and hard to control!


Mark Reifkind said...

1) you are not a machine,programming can only work so much.
2) you are sick. you can almost never do endurance pr's when you're sick.
3) recovery before increases. sometimes you just have to rest more and gear up for the next effort.
4) its hard to do ANYTHING maximally at 5 am!

you'll be fine. rest up, back off a bit and take some pressure off yourself.

Howie Brewer said...

Thanks Rif. I needed that. =)

It's always good to get some perspective from a neutral party. I have laid off since Wed's session. Resting up for Sunday's workshop. I also aggravated the A/C joint on my left shoulder a bit. Something I haven't done in over half a year. Another indication that I'm pushing too hard. Maybe a few easy swings tomorrow to stay loose, but that's it. Then once I'm feeling better, backing up on the snatches and building back up slowly. I've got plenty of time, I just need to keep reminding myself that.

Mark Reifkind said...

no problem man, glad to help.
another thing, drop down in weight and do the same work with the lighter weights; you are still working the same energy system and the lighter weights moved faster will give you the same force output.also allow you to really work the technique.
train, dont strain.

Sara said...

haha! Nice tip, good to know ;) Rest up and get healthy, you'll have no problem with the RKC if you're dedicated like this already. If you feel like you HAVE to do SOMEthing, why not GTG with snatches?

Franz Snideman said...

Great to see how dedicated and enthusiastic you are about training! I do agree with Rif, take some time off if you are sick!

Otherwise, great job brother!