Some days, just finishing what you set out to do feels like a victory. Today was one of those days when, early in my training session, I wasn’t sure whether my body would cooperate. On Thursday, my body flat out didn’t seem to want to do cleans. Technique wasn’t happening. My left elbow was screaming at me and I was getting easily distracted and frustrated. I couldn’t seem to focus with my kid whining and screaming and I just got angry and then didn’t seem to recover from that, mentally. I skipped to front squats and then called it a day.
Since I was nervous following Thursday’s bad day and feeling unsure of my clean technique, I watched some technique videos as a refresher before I left for Barbell Club. Olympic weightlifting is so complex. You can work your technique for years. Every time you watch a video, you find a different aspect of your technique to focus on. This morning I went back to basics. I watched this video and determined I needed to really focus today on catching the bar in the rack position. This would protect my elbows and wrists. I also knew I needed to focus on my speed in dropping under the bar. So, I decided to work on all my lifts from the hang position. One of the reasons I have some trouble with dropping under the bar (aside from just being new to weightlifting) is that my pulling strength off the floor is very good relative to my speed under the bar and catching the bar in the correct positions…..which are not (yet) so good. So, when I pull the bar off the floor, I pull it so high that I have to catch it in the power position or even standing, because I don’t get under it fast enough before it flies over my head. Starting from the hang position would eliminate some of that momentum and give me time to practice dropping under the bar and catching it lower. (By the way, I’m not a coach, obviously. So before you take me too seriously, read the fine print.).
Yesterday I had undereaten during the day, overeaten at night, gone to bed late, didn’t sleep well, and was woken up early this morning by my Rooster Toddler. There was no fruit left in my house so my breakfast was heavier than I would have liked it to be before training. My left arm felt tight and sore all the way through – shoulder, elbow and forearm. So, earlier in my training today my body felt like garbage. I sat down to recover after every set. At one point I felt a bit nauseous (breakfast too heavy) and I was just hoping I’d get through it without vomiting. I remembered what my coach had said on Thursday though, that it wasn’t always going to feel great. And I remembered when back in my marathon days (10 years ago!) that there were some training runs when you just wanted it to be over as soon as possible. I told myself that was okay. Even if I love what I’m doing, not every day has to feel great.
I am glad I was able to stick it out today. Working out at Barbell Club without a screaming toddler underfoot made a big difference in my focus. I worked all my lifts from the hang position and focused on shrugging under the bar and catching it in a good front rack position and I was mostly successful. The practice was really helpful, even though my body didn’t feel great. I was able to do all the lifts at the weights prescribed in my program. And once I got towards the end of my clean and jerks, I knew I wasn’t going to throw up and I started to feel better. I did all my back squats and presses. I got through it and was happy to have finished because it was productive training for me. I felt better at the end than I did at the beginning. So, I felt victorious, even though it wasn’t my best day or a PR. I finished what I started, I didn’t get discouraged, and I used the opportunity to pattern good technique.
I was definitely ready for an afternoon nap, and even though Rooster Toddler didn’t take one, I enjoyed mine!