Competing for Brookes at BUCS
Wednesday, 27 June 2018
My final BUCS was a huge success although the preparation was a lot more challenging than I thought it would be! The preparation for BUCS started straight after the English Senior Championships in January. I had 13 weeks to train and get myself ready to lift on a national stage again after my first English Seniors.
5 weeks into my new training cycle I suffered a back injury. My physio explained that it could be due to the increase in training volume as my exercises stepped up a whole new level.
I did not feel any pain at the start but with every set and every rep my back felt tighter and tighter.
5 weeks into my new training cycle I suffered a back injury. My physio explained that it could be due to the increase in training volume as my exercises stepped up a whole new level after getting personal bests in the English Championships. I was back squatting reps of 8’s with 80+kg and pause back squatting 75kg for reps of 6. I did not feel any pain at the start but with every set and every rep my back felt tighter and tighter. On week 6 my training was on and off. I avoided squats and I also had to give up deadpulls (similar to deadlifts). Soon most exercises made my back pain worse.
In week 7 just over a month before the BUCS I consulted an osteopath, my GP and my physio once again. They all agreed that my only chance of actually making it to the competition is giving my body a complete rest. I rested for 4 weeks and it was incredibly hard not going to the gym as it was part of my routine. However, an essential part of being an athlete is being able to listen to your body and be disciplined enough to follow through and stick to the plan.
The plan was to buy me enough time to recover so that I would still be able to lift something on the day. A lot of friends, as well as fellow lifters, told that me that it was not worth the risk making my back injury worse but my last BUCS really meant a lot to me. This was my final chance to represent Brookes and I did not want to miss out on that. I knew I had to be sensible and set realistic goals for the day, I used this time off to work on my dissertation and focus on exam revision.
2 weeks before the BUCS I told my coach that I was still planning to compete. She was hesitant at first to let me so I promised her that I would not come out of it with a worse injury. With a week to go I was still trying to figure out how to snatch and clean & jerk again. Olympic weightlifting is a highly technical sport and it requires constant technique and strength work. This means that 4 weeks is quite a long time and my body was deconditioned when I first tried to do these lifts again.
The night before BUCS I was feeling more nervous than usual.
Representing my university in a national event for the very last time is not something I was going to run away from. I knew I was fit.
The night before BUCS I was feeling more nervous than usual. I believe that was because I still did not feel 100% ready. I concentrated on how much it meant to me. Representing my university in a national event for the very last time is not something I was going to run away from. I knew I was fit enough to lift some weight and my goal was to simply have fun on the day.
During the competition I took warmups very slowly, only doing the reps necessary to keep me warm and ready to lift the weight on the platform. I ended up with a 50kg snatch and 60kg clean and jerk at 47kg body weight. I did not get any PB's and my total was far from my best. Yet I was incredibly happy to pull out these lifts considering that my preparation for this meet was far from what my coach and I had initially planned. I also managed to get the silver medal for Brookes without breaking myself and just having a lot of fun on the day.
There were lots of ups and downs leading up to this competition, for me though it was about appreciating the highs and learning from the lows. More importantly, forging the mental strength to keep going when you are not seeing any progress was one skill I managed to work on during the process.
This piece was written by Kristine Santos, Brookes Sport Ambassador. You can find Kristine on Instagram
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