My colleagues from work have been asking me about ultimate recently: “When are tryouts?” or “Will you make that really awesome team you tried out for last year?” or “Are you going down to Arizona again to train?” Instead of giving them a direct answer, I respond vaguely by saying that it’s far too early to even think about these things. After all, it’s only January.
In reality, these questions have been running through my mind too. Identifying what I did wrong last year is a very important step for me to figure out what I want to do this year. Why did I get injured? What could I have done better? What am I going to do differently this time around?
In reflection, I’ve come up with a few answers. I am far from an expert and I know I’ll continue to make mistakes again this year. In the least, I’ve learned what to avoid and how to stay healthy enough to be able to play a full season of ultimate.
So without further ado, here’s what I think I did wrong:
- I stopped lifting weights. After I moved to Arizona, I didn’t bother to find and pay for a gym membership. I figured I did all the work I needed in my couple of months in Yosemite, so why bother? I could stay strong without hitting the gym, right? Definitely wrong. I felt weaker and unable to sustain the strength I needed to get through the rest of my training. This year, I’ll lift from preseason through the regular season.
- I didn’t rest. I was training two to three times a day when I lived in Tucson, with far too much emphasis on high-impact running. By the end of March, I just felt tired. My muscles and joints couldn’t take it anymore. That lead me to make some poor choices, like forcing myself to perform an awkward sideways layout on a hard concrete floor, which my doctors and I suspect was the initial cause of my stress fracture.
- I played too much ultimate. On top of doing an excessive amount of speed, agility, and conditioning workouts without enough rest in between, I was playing ultimate six days a week through college practices, league games, goaltimate and indoor. Although I still believe that playing ultimate is a great way to get better at ultimate, there came a point where my body just couldn’t handle that type of impact over and over again. I’m definitely going to play ultimate during my preseason training, but just not as much.
- I tried to change too much. Not only did I drastically change the way I trained, but also how I slept, what I ate, and what I did during my down time. As much as I was excited to “go all in” last year, it was a little miserable eating the same foods, not spending time with friends and watching endless hours of ultimate games online. I even refused to drink at Lei-Out. Lei-Out for crying out loud! I became so consumed by ultimate that I forgot why it was so much fun in the first place. I’ve learned there comes a point in time where you have to put it all aside, grab a cookie and a glass of wine and chill out watching episodes of Archer.
With all these things in mind, I definitely feel more prepared to train this year, and I’m focusing on staying strong and injury free. I’ve invested in Melissa Witmer’s 12 Weeks to Game Time, which I am already loving. At this point, as long as I get to play ultimate this upcoming season, I am going to be one happy gal.