Two weeks out!

Two weeks out!

My strongwoman competition is in less than two weeks. I feel strangely calm about certain events, but whenever I think about the pressing medley I feel physically ill. My coach is about to have knee surgery, so I’m on my own from now until comp day. This is my last full week of heavy training, as next week will involve mostly rest in the lead-up to the competition.

Last week’s workouts were a struggle, between coming back from holiday and running on very little sleep to then coming down with a cold on Thursday and coughing and spluttering my way through the rest of my workouts.

Monday – Shoulders in Ibiza
Barbell clean and press: 40kg x 2, 3, 3, 2, 3
Single arm dumbbell press: 15kg x 5, 5, 17.5kg x 3, 3
Overhead barbell hold: 40kg x 30-45 seconds x 3 sets
Dumbbell holds: 30kg x 45-60 seconds x 3 sets

Wednesday – Events with trainer
Narrow log press: 30kg x 3, 3, 35kg x 1, 40kg x 1
Wide log press: 40kg x 1, 1, 1, 2, 1
Medley practice: 30kg log straight into 40kg log followed by 50kg axle
Farmers walks: worked up to 69kg in each hand over a 30 metre distance
50kg bag carries: two rounds of sprint practice and pick-ups, followed by max distance in 90 seconds
Overhead wobble hold with 50kg: 32 seconds
Rope pull and drag: 25 metres each way x 2 sets (75 seconds)

This was my last workout with my trainer. The entire workout lasted three hours, and we spent more than an hour on pressing alone. I came *this close* to vomiting several times. I was exhausted before we began, but I still managed to dig deep and hit some PRs.

I had a blood blister, and my hands felt like they were going to rip open, so I’m very pleased that I hit a PR for distance on the farmers walks. There is something badass about carrying 96 per cent of my body weight in each hand.

I’m also getting much faster on the bag pick-ups and rope pulls/drags. Strength-wise, I was happy I got the wide log up as many times as I did. I’ve only ever done one rep with this log before. I remember when I first started strongman training, and I tried to clean this log and it nearly crushed me to death. I never, ever thought I’d be pressing it!

I’m a long way off pressing the 50kg axle. The most weight I’ve managed is 42kg. I’m hoping that on the day I can just accumulate maximum points on the logs and skip the axle, or somehow use adrenaline to magically get it up. I’m kicking myself for never learning how to clean and jerk (I’m planning to do some Olympic lifting before my next comp)!

This is the only event I’m dreading. It will be the second event of the day and my coach has been mentally helping me a lot, by making me promise not to let it ruin the subsequent events if I do poorly. I have a real problem with letting my emotions get to me; once I fail a lift, everything goes downhill.

A lot of people at my gym have now decided to start giving me advice about how to increase my press. I just nod and smile, and only do what my coach tells me.

Friday – A random mish-mash of exercises
Narrow log press: 30kg x 3, 3, 35kg x 3, 40kg x 2
Wide log press: 40kg x 1, 1, 2, 2
Axle cleans: 27kg x 5, 37kg x 3, 49.5kg x fail, fail, 47kg x fail, fail, 1
Zercher squats: 20kg x 8, 40kg x 5, 60kg x 5, 80kg x 3, 90kg x 2, 95kg x 2, 100kg x 1, 102.5kg x 1
Dumbbell holds: 25kg x 20 secs, 35kg x 60 secs, 40kg x 40 secs
Overhead wobble hold: 40kg x 20 secs, 50kg x 39 secs, 47.5kg x 42 secs

I honestly have no idea how I hit three PRs (double reps for the wide log, a 102.5kg zercher and max time for wobble hold) during this workout. I had 3.5 hours sleep on Thursday night, so postponed my workout to Friday night after I’d taken a three hour nap. My cold was in full effect and I felt awful. I dragged Rob to the gym with me so he could time me and yell at me. It must have worked!

Some shots of my axle cleans on Friday night

Some shots of my axle cleans on Friday night

Sunday – training with Anna
Narrow log press: 30kg x 3, 35kg x 3, 40kg x 1
Wide log press: 40kg x 1, fail, fail, fail
Farmers hold (per hand): 40kg x 20 secs, 60kg x 20 secs, 70kg x 40 secs x 2
Practice loading the 50/60kg bag over a bar
Wobble hold: 50kg x 44 secs, 45 secs

Thank God my training buddy is still here to keep me sane! Pressing was no good today (I swear I fail more presses than I actually get up nowadays!) but farmers were pretty good.

For the next seven days, I will be training every other day. I’ll be doing a lot of pressing and running through the events as much as I can. I think I’ll only be doing zerchers once more to give my joints a bit of a rest, and don’t think I’ll be doing any more deadlifts or regular squats for a while. I should have one more proper events day before the comp.

Ate so much pasta last week!

Ate so much pasta last week!

Apart from that I’m just eating, eating, and eating more! When I’m not in the gym, I’m resting a LOT and trying to get over this cold. All I have left to do is buy my train tickets (the comp is 1.5 hours outside of London) and buy my hiking boots. I have to make a list of what to pack on the day, including what food I need to bring! Knowing me, nerves will kill my appetite but I know I need to eat.

What do you do when people give you unwanted lifting advice? Any tips for calming nerves?

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