With the school holiday program finished a couple of weeks ago, our focus this term is on pre season training and building strength and fitness for the year to come.
The past two years I have missed parts of this training due to injury and I think my general fitness has been lacking, most notably towards the end of the second and third rounds.
Talking with Carlo and Adam (my physio) we have put together a training program for me on top of what were doing at the club. The two goals, increase cardio fitness and as Adam said "make me indestructible" to injuries. I like the way he puts this because it seems like the past year and a half I've been constantly troubled with soft tissue injuries.
The main concern has been my hamstrings, previously tears but now dealing on and off with extreme tightness. The fact that age is no longer on my side and the nature of our sport (be it from one moment completely static to the next highly explosive) puts a tremendous amount of stress on the muscles. I have had to be extremely conscious of taking my time during the warm up even to the point of letting my instructors know were I am at on each given night.
At the club we are gradually building each week the number of reps and sets we are doing as part of our training. Nothing new there but on top of this we have been asked to complete 2-3 gym sessions and 2-3 cardio sessions in the form of the dreaded "interval" training (This is probably the hardest thing I have tried to do myself and it takes great focus for me to do it, or more importantly do it well).
The gym program Adam has prepared for me focuses on low weight, high reps / sets, working the muscles we use most in our sport (calves, quads and hamstrings). Simple in that most of the exercises are based around using my own body weight such as squats, skips and lunges etc. All (if done correctly) also activate the core muscles which is important.
The interval training (1 minute sprint, 1 minute jog etc) I hope to be doing with either Adam or with the others from the club. It would be nice to get together on a weekend as a group and motivate each other though as yet nothing has been organized.
This heavy load is only short term (5 weeks) as after I have a 3 week holiday planned. So the key to maximizing (or surviving) this heavy training schedule will be in the recovery and diet. Plenty of walking / stretching in the mornings and only good wholesome food to eat.