For years I have stressed the importance of ‘getting in’ and ‘staying in’ shape year round. The past few years, I have been doing seminars for the Wild Sheep Foundation on “Getting in and Staying in Sheep Shape”. This year, however, as I CRUTCHED up on stage, I realized for the first time in about 20 years I wasn’t ready to hunt. As I write this, I still have a long road ahead of me if I am to be chasing bugling bulls around the mountains by September.
Back in the first week of January, while playing indoor soccer with my 15 year old daughter and her U18 team, I completely ruptured my Achilles tendon. In a split second I went from being able run and climb just about anything to barely being able to walk. Surgery was scheduled immediately, and after surgery my foot was put in a half cast with my toes pointed down for two weeks. At this point I had two options – become a perminate fixture on the couch (and let 20 years of conditioning go right out the window) or crutch my way into the gym and continue my program.
Normally the first couple months of the year is when I pick up the intensity on the weight training. Around March, I start all my heavy strength training, which leads me into June and HIIT (high intensity interval training). With the fear of not being in elk shape staring me in the eyes, one week after surgery I crutched myself into the gym and did what I could.
Two weeks after surgery, the cast was replaced with a walking aircast with a 2” heal lift, and it was at this point I was able to really pick up my training. At this point I was also able to work my legs. Cautiously starting with one legged lunges (with the aircast boot on), I was able to maintain my leg strength. From there I moved to the Stair Mill by Stair Master (still with the boot, of course) – a little awkward, but I was climbing, slowly but surely.
At this point my workouts consist of heavy lifting once a week, and complete body workouts 3 days a week, in addition to the Stair Mills and walking small hills and stretching. Fortunately, I was also able to make it to a good friends to hunt turkeys for a few days this spring. The small hills proved to be challenging and set the stage for the goals ahead over the next few months as I prepare for the upcoming elk season!
Don’t let obstacles keep you from achieving your physical conditioning goals. Do as much as you can now, and it will be much easier for you as elk season gets closer. As always, if you need help with an individual training program, feel free to contact me. Bottom line, find a way to make it happen!
Best to everyone this fall,