With just 100 days to go to the London 2012 Olympic Games, we are looking at how our top athletes are approaching the decisive months that separate us from the biggest show on Earth coming to Britain.
The first hopeful sharing his thoughts with us is javelin champion Lee Doran: his blog, the first in this special category, sees us join him in warm weather training in Tunisia. Enjoy!
Sunday - 08/04/12
Today we had an early flight so needed to be in the airport by 3am... ouch! The airline seem to be stocking up on people having overweight luggage so suffered a charge for this which was frustrating!
We had a nice flight which was quicker than expected but when we landed in Enfidha airport, the queue was huge! It took us an hour and a half to get through passport control and another half hour waiting on luggage.
We arrived in the hotel at around 11am and eventually got into our rooms at 2pm. We had a light afternoon session which consisted of a warm-up followed by some stretching just to get the blood pumping through the body ready for our sessions tomorrow. The session went really well with then going through my routine set by my physio and S+C coach.
I am feeling ok after the journey with having a light nap in the afternoon before going for food. I am monitoring my food whilst out here as the food is basically all you can eat... this means I do tend to ‘pig’ out! Well, after a long day it’s time for bed... night people!
Monday - 09/04/12
Up early this morning for the 'all you can eat' breakfast, then to meet our driver Sami Ben Fitma to take us to the track!
We left for the track at 9.30am for a throwing session to start at 10am. Today, we had scheduled 18 warm up throws then moving to 10 Rhythm Run-Ups and 15 Full Approach throws, keeping between 65m-70m working on more technical than distance.
My father Michael was my coach today and we were working on two technical points with maintaining a block on full approach and keeping my arm high whilst throwing ‘over the top’. The session went really well (also had my new javelin from my sponsor GDMHosting.com) with improving one factor which led to many other factors improving because of this - so it was quite a good day at the office! My block is still struggling with my hips ‘swinging’ in, causing me to sit back but only on full approach. Grrrrr! This is frustrating me now!
We all had food then it was back for our afternoon session which was weights. In my session I had planned Snatch, Front Squat, DB Shoulder Press, Prone Pull and Single Leg Weighted Glute Bridge. I am in my strength phase so intensity is really high!
I lifted quite a few personal bests today so I am very pleased but very tired at the moment (Hopefully I will recover with all the food tonight). Well, time to go for some much needed food! Keep checking the ‘Media Gallery’ section on my website for some videos to be posted soon!
Tuesday - 10/04/12
Today a track session was planned, consisting of some Shots, Medicine Ball, Plyometrics and some sprints. The weather was really hot today with a light breeze (probably perfect throwing conditions).
We started with some shots using a 6.25k, giving 100% with every throw. I was really happy with the way I was throwing today, throwing some very good distances! We then had some medicine ball with a total of 150 throws using a 4k and a 2k. Everyone did really well with the medicine ball, concentrating one every single throw being explosive.
There were between 80-100 contacts in our plyometric programme today set by my S+C coach Matt. This was quite an intense session then having to finish off with some sprints which tired us out quite a bit! No pain, no gain!
We got back to the hotel and went for some food; food is really good over here with being able to eat whatever you want in terms of red meat, poultry and fish etc. So my nutritionist will be very happy but won’t mention about all the desserts... but I have been very good at the moment
This afternoon I just had some specific exercises to target my weak areas. This is coming on and I can feel the benefits of these exercises already with strength levels showing a massive improvement. Ok, off to eat now and will update you all again very soon!
Wednesday - 11/04/12
The weather once again today was really nice, hitting around 26 degrees but unfortunately we were stuck inside carrying out our weights programmes.
Today I had Box Clean, Split Jerk, Deadlift and some specific work. I carried out my warm up routine before the session, which consists mostly of specifics to target the weak areas of my body to help my throwing... hopefully!!
I am in my strength phase so the session today was still really intense but I was pleased with how my body is reacting to all the hard work as it is not yet breaking down! I lifted quite a few personal bests today so I am more than happy with this! We also found out that the competition has now been switched to Friday 20th April. This works out probably better as my body will hopefully have more time to recover from the stress of heavy training. The programme has now been altered slightly and quite a few sessions have changed so hopefully some decent throws on Friday!
This afternoon we had just some light recovery consisting of running, stretching and a massage so were in tip top shape for our medicine ball testing with jumps in the morning. The recovery went really well using an ‘ice’ pool to act as our ice bath! After recovery I felt really good and body is a little tired but feeling good which is the main thing!
Well, off to the Irish bar for some food... no drink of course! Athlete you see!! Catch up with you all soon!!
Thursday – 12/04/12
Today was supposed to be our rest day as a competition was originally planned for Sunday but that has now been changed as I earlier stated to Friday 20th April.
We now had Medicine Ball Testing and Jumps planned, which included Standing (2k+3k), 3 Stride, Standing Jump, 3 Jumps and 5 Strides. The tests are an indicator of where we are in terms of strength and speed and obviously we always try to beat our personal bests, usually set the year before during our peak period.
I made quite a few personal bests last year in Tunisia, so I was hoping to create some new personal bests. Booooooooom! This was a very good day at the office with me improving massively on my personal bests... I knew I was in shape to PB but I didn’t think it would be by that much!
My standing throw (2k) went from 22.20m up to 23.00m; standing throw (3k) went from 19.00m to 19.55m. Both of my 3 stride throws improved by over a metre! Moving onto the jumps I was obviously optimistic and moving swiftly on, my personal best standing jump went from 3.12m to 3.20m. My 3 bunnies’ personal best was 9.60m and this was smashed with a 9.73m jump. I am really pleased with how the day has gone and has given me a massive confidence boost leading into the season!
I have now just finished my recovery session that I am able to do in my room as we have a javelin test tomorrow which is very important for me and can give me an indicator of where I am with my distances and I can then compare from recent results.
The tests include standing, 3 stride, 5 stride, 7 stride and full approach. I am looking for some big throws tomorrow and feel in good shape after my recovery session, so hopefully all goes to plan!!
If anyone wants to request any of my ‘personal best’ videos to be put online then feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday – 13/04/12
I woke up this morning after an early night last night still feeling pretty tired after Medicine Ball testing yesterday with having to give 100% in each throw.
Today, with the competition being moved, we have had to squeeze in a little more testing so our body has time to recovery from the intensity. Today we had javelin tests (Standing, 3 Stride, 5 Stride, 7 Stride and Full Approach) so it was time to get on some caffeine and get my head in the game which I obviously did! I finished the testing with personal bests in every single throw and what makes it even better is that in every throw there was at least two metres improvement!
Looking back on the technical analysis, there is still room for improvement but I can see improvements in some of the technical areas we have been working on so really pleased with today! We also have a Tunisian thrower called Ameli training with us so she has been with us for the past few days to hopefully learn some new things; as she was throwing today, if she can change some small things then I think she can be a very good thrower.
She is going to train with the group all next week and compete with us on the Friday so hopefully she can learn from us this week. I tested out my new Nemeth Club 85m today which was from my sponsor GDMHosting.com. The javelin was great! Always good to pick up a new javelin on testing day and throw numerous personal bests ;).
Our afternoon session involved some shot testing (the last session of the testing). This would be carried out with a 7.26k, 5k and a 4k. I have previous personal best so I was trying my best to beat these previous marks!
Once again, my test results show a big improvement so this can only mean that I am obviously stronger and faster! Hopefully this can be put into my throwing on Friday and we will see some big throws there! Speak to you all soon.
Saturday – 14/04/12
Today all I had planned was a nice easy day of recovery which involves me going through my recovery session of some shoulder rehab and some other specifics.
It is my niece’s birthday today so after the session we took her for food and opened presents. The only day I have off and the weather is cold and wet!!! So we can’t really do much apart from shop and I am not really a shopper!
Not much to report on today, apart from training is going really well with many pb’s falling this week and feeling in great shape. I am looking forward to the competition on Friday in Sousse and of course the arrival of coach JD tomorrow but John, the weather isn’t looking great for you! Hope Britain is nice for everyone!
Sunday – 15/04/12
Much needed Rest Day!
Monday – 16/04/12
After a good rest over the weekend, I was now feeling refreshed and raring to go!
A technical session was scheduled today followed by some weights. I had around 40-50 good technical throws today from short approach and moving back to full approach. We were working on two technical points of trying to get over my right foot once it lands from my impulse stride and also keeping a long, high pull to enable a flat release.
The session went really well, I was hitting the javelin nice and flat but going to full approach I am still struggling to get my left side over my right foot as I feel as though I am going to ‘fly’ or fall which I have already done this year! All in all, the technical session went really well and I am starting to feel more relaxed on the runway during full approach work. With my throwing, rhythm is the key and I feel my rhythm is slowly coming back to me!
This afternoon was weights (My de-load week) with the main exercises being Full Clean, Back Squat, Pullovers followed by some specifics. The ‘De-Load’ session was to help my body recover and hopefully help me perform later in the week at the javelin competition. I lifted between 80-90% of my 1RM and was feeling really good leaving the gym and not too exhausting!