One thing I've learned during my pole vaulting journey is to listen to my body.
The first time I ever held a pole vault pole, at one of Brian Elmore's practice sessions down around Austin, Texas, I tried six little jumps, decided that was enough for one day after stubbing my toe and pulling a groin muscle a little bit, and was later told that my decision to stop like that (before things got worse) showed good instincts, and was highly unusual, especially among older athletes.
So, after two days of Shawn Francis' challenging three-month vault conditioning program, my body (especially my knee, but pretty much everything from the waist down) and my brain were telling me to back it down a little. Shawn told me the same thing: "Just keep listening to your body and if you need a cross training day (bike, pool, walking) take it!"
So, I did.
On the program schedule, Wednesday is either a vault day, or an acceleration (sprint) workout day. I hadn't lifted weights this week, and my knee was so angry by the time I finished my shift last night at the gym that I decided to make today a free weights day. So I got up early, had my coffee, went to the gym and did a little lifting. Some incline bench supersets with cable pulldown (I like to combine push\pull exercises), then some dumbbell shoulder press combined with dumbbell rows. Probably did, I don't know, about 30 sets in all.
As I walked back and forth in the free weights area, my damn knee was still bothering me. I usually warm-up with 6-10 minutes on the treadmill, and I even cut that short because my knee was hurting so much. So after that fairly brief weight-lifting session, I grabbed a 50-pound small barbell, sat down with my left leg extended along a flat bench, and rolled that barbell slowly up and down my quad (thigh).
It's no wonder my knee hurts so much. My quad was full of knots, and after I rolled them out a little bit, the knee felt better. Not a whole lot better, but a little better.
Tomorrow's going to be a lot like Monday, with sprints and plyometric hops, skips and jumps, so I'm sure my knee is going to be quite upset with me by the time I go to lunch with my youngest daughter. I work a four-hour shift at the gym tomorrow evening, too, and so I'll have to get there a half-hour early and do some myofascial release, rolling that quad again with that barbell. Thankfully, my doctor appointment is Friday, so we can start to get to the bottom of what's going on and hopefully get this knee back to normal, or at least close.
Stay tuned, folks, for a report after tomorrow's session. Meantime. you can check out my book, "Finally Fit," the story of my learning to pole vault beginning at age 60 by clicking right here. Go ahead -- it's a really good story. You'll enjoy it.