FIRST HAND NEWS FROM LONDON OLYMPIC GAMES
by CEO Robert Forster, PTThis is a light day for track athlete Allyson Felix and shooter Kim Rhode as they prepare for their upcoming competitions. Every athlete has their favorite penultimate day routine before competition. For the Games, that routine and their mindset have often been rehearsed in their heads for years and becomes critical to their success. Although the last day of preparation is best comprised of a sound physiological and psychological approach to ready oneself for competition, many athletes often follow superstitious habits based on the relation of those habits to previous successful performances. If it worked well before why mess with it? I have known athletes who sequestered themselves to avoid all human contact and maintain focus while others want to be distracted from over-thinking their event and instead like spending time with friends, family and teammates. I knew one Olympian who watched cartoons all day to relax and was put in a panic when he realized the cartoons at a past Olympics were in a foreign language. He quickly found they were just as amusing when you cannot follow the dialog. Gail Devers, two time winner of the Olympic 100m race (’92 and ’96) and therefore the title of the “Worlds Fastest Woman”, liked to call her home answering machine and talk to her two pet dogs from afar. Jackie Joyner Kersee, 2x gold medalist in the Heptathlon (’88 and ’92) and still the World Record Holder in that event, had that much more technique imagery to review as her sport included seven individual events to contemplate. For Allyson Felix, today includes a light workout designed to keep the muscles loose with plenty of stretching, technique drills and work on her reaction time coming out of the blocks. Then it’s lots of rest, good nutrition, hydration and focused relaxation while hoping the night passes quickly before getting to her first event of these Games tomorrow, the 100m preliminaries. Although Allyson is the returning Olympic silver medalist at 200m and a three time World Champion at that distance, her appearance here in the 100m event is a first and a bit more unfamiliar, and her confidence therefore becomes paramount. Over the last few weeks, Coach Bobby Kersee, has tapered his athlete’s workouts to allow for full recovery and peak their fitness. With a reduced work load and reduction of the over all volume of work, he maintains short, high intensity efforts with more days allowed for full recovery between these high speed workouts. The stopwatch verifies the science of tapering and Bobby’s wizardry in this area of expertise as their times drop precipitously in these final weeks before competition. The athletes feel the increased power and speed propelling them down the track faster then any other time of the year. This is a time where injury prevention and recovery measures are paramount. If the athlete is well trained “structurally” i.e. in strength and flexibility, and has practiced good recovery techniques all season, then the muscles, tendons and joints are ready for the increased forces associated with these high velocity efforts. If not, the athlete’s worst nightmare becomes reality as injury strikes. Injury so close to the Games presents a daunting challenge as we work feverishly with two-a-day Physical Therapy treatments to reduce inflammation, spasm and pain while rehabilitating the injured structures. Fitness is maintained with pool workouts and confidence fostered by pointing out the improvement in function daily. This is when I earn my keep making difficult daily decisions pertaining to treatment choices, modified training activities and the pace of the rehab progression. Luckily, this has not come to pass at these games and all athletes have survived the taper and are healthy. Short of catastrophic injury, typically a few areas of nagging pains and tightness will develop during the tapering period. Often with the decreased volume of work, areas of the body that have been irritated and inflamed in the course of training, will now begin to scar down in the time allotted between these more sporadic workouts. While not serious, these pains and areas of tightness will not only mess with an athlete’s confidence but may diminish their ability to execute the best mechanics come competition day. The treatment indicated is specific cross fiber massage techniques to release scar tissue adhesions and has proven invaluable in my effectiveness to help nervous athletes in the final stages of training. Additionally, Physical Therapy modalities and lots of icing are applied to reduce inflammation, pain and promote faster healing. Kim Rhode is a 5x Olympic veteran (’96, ’00, ’04, ’08, ’12) who knows how to ready herself for great competitions as she has done so successfully in winning at least one medal in all of her Olympic appearances. Having already won the gold medal in skeet shooting here in London last week and therefore setting a record as the only American athlete ever to medal in an individual event in five consecutive Games, the pressure is off a bit. Never one to rest on her laurels, Kim has another record in her sights (pun intended) as she approaches today’s trap shooting competition. If she medals again she will also be the first female athlete to compete successfully for a medal in all the shotgun events at any one Olympics. Kim’s sport is certainly as much mental as it is physical and her mental preparations are obviously finely honed. We will be watching to see her do it again!
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Our programs have been honed over 35 years in the results driven world of elite athletics, and with thousands of athletes who have chosen our science based approach to achieving complex performance goals. PHASE IV offers the most comprehensive science based training and nutrition programs available anywhere! We make you better, and keep you healthy and competing longer. If you are interested in improving your performance, and preventing injury, we will design a periodized daily training plan for you, complete with nutritional optimization, as well as strength and flexibility training. Pictured here is CEO Robert Forster, PT and Florence Griffith Joyner “Flo-Jo” The fastest sprinter of all time. Call PHASE IV 310-582-8212 or send us a message