This past weekend, I had the opportunity to fly to the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California for a steeplechase performance workshop with my coach, Danny. I was very excited to have the opportunity to work on my steepling technique. I did not get a lot of technique help during college, or in my first three years as a professional athlete.
I was not let down. My Saturday started by meeting with Iain Hunter, a professor at BYU and bio-mechanist. He had videotaped my steeple race at USA Outdoors and created a report showing how my take-off, hip height, and landing compared to the range they found to work well for the best American steeplechasers going over barriers. After reviewing the report, he videotaped me going over hurdles and water jumps.
Next, I did a functional movement test with a doctor and physical therapist with St. Vincent’s. They were able to pin point my biggest weakness in running, my lower back caving in when I get tired, after a few tests. I was given few exercises to do every day in order to strengthen my back.
I was then able to go over the videotape with Danny and Iain, and I got a few pointers about how to improve my form. This was followed by a meeting with a nutritionist, a meeting with a sports psychologist, and a presentation by Iain to all the steeplechasers who attended (Amber Henry, De’Sean Turner, and Matt Cleaver).
The next morning I was able to practice hurdling while trying to incorporate the suggested changes with Iain and Danny.
I got to catch up with University of Minnesota track alumni, Liz Podomonick, who made the world team in the discus last year, and moved into the training center this fall. She has a great set-up – healthy prepared food always available, beautiful weather, easily accessible training centers, and in-house coach, medical services, massage therapy, nutritionist, and sports psychologist. The hardest part for her, and everyone else, I’m sure, is going back to dormitory style living. She has to share a small room with another athlete, which is difficult returning to in your late 20’s!