Saturday, July 18, 2009

Kettlebells and personal bests...

I have been working with Whitney for six years now, since she was a junior in high school. She is now getting ready for her senior year in college, and last competitive season as a field hockey player. We have spent numerous hours together in the weight room, and hundreds more on the track, getting her ready for competition.
For five summers she has had a difficult time hitting her target run times until the last week of the summer, and even then, those have been a struggle. In short, she hates to run, and it often psychs her out.
This year, I decided to cut her running down to a minimum, and concentrate on her kettlebell work. Admittedly it was a little risky, but I felt it was worth the try. (Last summer, she stayed at school most of the time, trained with me minimally, and struggled to get playing time in the fall -- it was now time to try and regain her sophomore form, and try and improve it!)
Whit has been very willing to try the new approach, and has been one of our best kettlebell students this summer. She has come for extra time, focusing on gaining the strength and cardiovascular endurance she will need.
She has pressed more weight, for more repetitions than she has ever been able to before.
She has conditioned herself like a "Viking", following Kenneth Jay's Viking Conditioning plan. (Ironically, her high school's nickname is the Vikings...go figure).
She has ran minimally, focusing only on sprints, with few long runs. I felt she has paid the Pavement Gods enough in terms of time and energy.
We have, however, followed her summer conditioning protocol for testing, which calls for specific times to be met on specific days.
This was a testing week.
Yesterday, she hit her target time in all 12 of her 100 yard sprints. In fact, I "cheated" and marked off 100 meters, instead of yards, so her runs were actually farther, yet still within the required time for the test.
Today, she ran her fastest mile ever -- 6:32. Excellent, considering her target for August is 6:40.
The only difference? Kettlebells. She is stronger, faster, and has more endurance than ever before. And she is starting to believe it as well. To see her elation when I showed her the stopwatch at the end of the mile was incredible.
And we still have a month to improve on that!

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