Sunday, August 14, 2011

Learning From Mistakes

Just because "next year" has started, don't think for a second I'm not still examining last year.  What I did made sense to me and I would do it over again, but to the outside world it probably sounds pretty dumb and risky for a championship year.
  • Early last fall I jumped a PR 13' / 3.97m from 8 steps, yet later in the year could not jump it from 14 steps.  Even though I was a better athlete, I lost my timing by not vaulting.
  • I got 14' 7" / 4.45m poles to pick me up better and they worked great but I lost over a month getting used to them in meets.  I would boom 12' 6" / 3.81m on the 14' 1"s and then move to the 14' 7"s and be lost.  Ultimately I had to cut off 5.5" / 15cm to make them feel right.  Now they are awesome!
  • I decided I would not vault unless I was on these poles so I could get used to the way they feel.  I would start at 11' 6" (3.51m) instead of 12' / 3.66m so I could work my way through the new poles before the bar got high.
  • Vaulting in practice is a risk anyway so I chose only to vault in meets when I felt good since I would only use the 14' 7" poles.
  • I got a PR 13' 5 1/4" / 4.10m from 14 steps in Reno when my goal was to jump on bigger poles from longer runs.  GREAT!!
  • I jumped 13' at indoor nationals and got a hamstring strain.
As the championship season approached I found myself unable to move my poles because I had trained myself into being 7 lbs (3 kg) lighter.  I jump better a little heavier when I can bring more power and momentum.  On top of that I had two small injuries that took me about eight weeks to get back to the speed I had before them.

Logic says that if I would have continued the progression I was on when I jumped 13' from 8 steps that I would have had a far better year.  Probably, but I argue that I needed to get used to using the next pole series and that training to do so would reward me later when I would be in great shape.  I'm happy today with how that turned out.  MY important year is 2013 when I turn 60 right two weeks before Worlds.

My logic also says that I was going to skip the big meets this year because all of the young studs were coming into the age group and I would be outclassed.  I decided instead to challenge myself to compete anyway.  Another reason to focus on my speed and strength for the future.

This next year I will stay in touch with my short run jumping by using small poles and short runs as a warm up.  I will vault two days a week and have the poles for no matter how good or bad I feel.  My 1st 14' 1" / 4.30m pole is the same flex size as my biggest 13' 1" / 4m.  My 14' 7"s will probably only be used in meets or if I feel my three new 14' 1"s are too small in practice.  I'm also running more but have actually cut back a little on my lifting and bar work.

I'm confident that this is a good plan and really enjoy getting to know my vault again.  I'm far from any respectable consistency but I think that will happen by the end of the month.  At that point I can progress.

Have a great Sunday and thanks for being here!  Bubba

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