Back in the States

I am back in the states training in Eugene Oregon and things are a little bit different. I just got done with a five week training camp in Germany and it was quite different than what I expected. While stereotypically I assumed Germany would have super intensive training, it was actually quite laid back. Now that I am back my body is rapidly trying to adapt to my usual the strenuous workouts.

Now there is a fine line between “training hard” and “over training” so my coaches are always manipulating the program as needed. I highly suggest a good read about overtraining in the latest “Schaudt Out” called the Slow Death of Success.

I have been training with my coach, Christina Scherwin for six years now and we have are still learning a lot about my body, and how my training program needs to be altered in order for me to throw the farthest. Biggest problem is that injuries really throw a wrench in a perfect system. While getting stronger has been important in the past (in order to protect my injury prone ligaments), this year has been more about maintaining strength levels and working on throwing technique.

Strength Training

Weight room strength is great for throwing far, but there IS such thing as too strong. I talked with Jarred Rome (two-time US Olympian in the discus) a few years back, and he said when he was younger he tried to get as strong as possible to make the discus seem smaller. But after a while the strength wasn’t helping him throw farther and it wasn’t until he started to work more on technique did he find the gains he was looking for. Jarred has a personal best of 68.76m in the discus that he threw when he was 34 years old.

A lot of the world class javelin throwers could out lift me in almost every exercise. Most of them are crazy good at a few lifts that they can replicate successfully, safely, and that maintains their overall strength, but you don’t need to power clean 150 kilos (330lbs) to throw an 800g javelin 85 meters.

In 2009 when I was a redshirt junior at the University of Oregon I could clean 253lbs, snatch 154lbs, and squat 350lbs. I was not a strong athlete, but I was able to throw 83.16m (272’10”). Today I have increased all those maxes by over 45lbs each, but I still haven’t managed to throw any farther. So what needs to change?

Throwing Technique

The focus is back to throwing technique. My lifts are strong enough to throw 85m but if my technique is off a few centimeters here and there it will keep me from throwing far.

On a good year my coach can tell me to fix a complex technical issue and the very next throw I can fix it, and when I am throwing far I can feel my body positions and control every aspect of the throwing mechanics as if it were in slow motion.

So how do you get to that point? It’s all muscle memory, and every year I start almost at square one. Believe it or in October/November I have to work really hard to throw just 60m in practice. After months and months of training the body adapts, learns, and develops synapses in the nervous system in order to hold powerful positions and fix mistakes on the fly.

This all takes repetition. I can’t hold a powerful position at full approach until I have done it from 3/4 approach, and I can’t hold the position at 3/4 approach until I have done it at 1/2 approach, 7 step, 5 step, 3 step, and standing throw. It is very critical in my training that I do things right from short approach otherwise I will never be able to throw far from a full approach.

After hundreds of throws a week, thousands of throws a year I am able to run down the runway at 6.25m/s (14mph), block on the left leg with over 2,000 lbs of force, and reach a javelin release speed of 29m/s (65mph) in just 0.25 seconds.

This breakdown is what makes the javelin such an explosive and technical event. The high velocities and extreme impacts on the joints are what make it so important for me to get lots of reps at short approach to develop the functional strength and muscle memory to throw far – correctly.

My advice for everyone training this week is stop competing with yourself/others in practice. Practice marks DO NOT matter. Instead train at 70-80% with perfect technique. You will surprise yourself how much you will learn, you will learn how easy it is to throw far when things are technically right, and at the end of the day your body will thank you, because it won’t be over trained.

#TrainBIG #KeepFighting

7 months ago