Recovering from workouts and physically taxing events is really important to a long career. You can get away with not doing it for short periods of time, but that will catch up to you! I am always surprised to learn that people aren’t aware of how important recovery is (especially professionally), but I also forget sometimes that I’m 32 and have been at this a while. I guess I didn’t prioritize recovery until I became a professional for the simple reason that there didn’t seem to be time in college. Now, I love recovery activities of all kinds! There are lots of facets to this idea. Here are some simple categorizations of the different forms, and then answers to Instagram questions at the bottom.

Physical vs. Mental

I’m not sure I believe in burnout necessarily. I think I’m too tough for that, but I’m likely being an idiot. It’s obviously a real thing that many have experienced, but perhaps people who get burnt out just haven’t recognized their own need for a break until it’s too late. And one major contributor to burnout is if an individual doesn’t have support from family or coworkers in his or her pursuits! Mental recovery and mental training are just as important as physical. Luckily or unluckily, my breaks have been forced upon me, but I’ve learned the importance of mental recovery through them.

Knowing yourself and knowing what it takes for you to recharge mentally is really important to not only performance, but training. I find that if I haven’t had enough alone time (see last blog), I sit in my car doing nothing for like a half hour before I have the energy to get out and practice. That’s wasting my own time I guess, but I just can’t bear physical activity if I haven’t had enough mental rest! And if I don’t take that moment to reset and refocus, my practice isn’t as successful as if I’m mentally prepared for it. If I have the mental energy to put my best effort into each throw, drill, or sprint, I’m getting way more out of it than if I was only half checked-in.

The way I see it, there are two seasons in the year, and physical and mental components to recovery within each of those. Let’s tackle all of them.

Off-Season vs. In-Season

I am not shy about loving the off-season. No structured javelin practice, no place I really need to be, all the fun. It’s a really important time of year, and I respect it and its necessity. Regardless of the season’s outcome, letting your body heal from the really specific and difficult things you asked of it for months is important, and letting your mind wander about the possibilities of the future and what can be gleaned from the past is essential.

Off-season physical recovery sometimes means nothing, depending on what happened at the end of the season. In 2018, I strained intercostals and obliques in my last competition, so physical activity wasn’t advised for a while. Sometimes it means just doing something different than your sport though. After my side healed, I did Pure Barre for a month (3-4 times/week), and swam as well. In 2017, I wanted to run Emma Coburn’s inaugural 5K, so I did an endurance experiment that consisted of a couch-to-5K program, lots of planks, and swimming as cross training. I ended up running an all-time mile PR of 7:41 before I started official 2018 training! Doing more balanced training than my fairly violent, unilateral sport during the off-season resets my body in a really important way.

Outdoor time is important all year round, and better together.

Outdoor time is important all year round, and better together.

Russ taught me almost everything I know about the outdoors, and he definitely taught me the value of spending time outside from a recovery perspective. There are so many backpacks I want to do when big chunks of time are available to us in the summers of the future. For now short ones in the off-season of the fall will hold me over.

Off-season mental recovery is also very enjoyable and important. This Fall, I traveled to the PNW, Hawaii, Ohio, Texas, Florida, Bermuda, Idaho, Iowa, NYC, and New Orleans. I spent a lot of time wandering around outside with Madeline. I read books and did new things in other parts of my life that were really rewarding. I actually spent time with friends. Having a moment when I can feel a little less external pressure is really nice.

In-season! I consider this to be any time I’m actually training for javelin again, not just when I’m actually competing, as my recovery strategies are basically the same for training and competition. Physically, there’s a lot to cover from both active and passive standpoints. I will get into that below.

Mentally, there’s a lot that I do to stay sharp, well-rounded, and happy during the season:

I often go to lunch on my own after practice. I’ll watch throwing film or write in my training journal, and reflect on the day’s work. Letting the physical lessons I learned manifest mentally during moments of quiet helps me prepare for the next session, even right after the last one.

Your brain is amazing. It is moldable and foldable. It can do lots of different stuff at once! Sometimes focusing on a problem directly doesn’t work: We have all felt like we are beating our heads against a wall at some point. Do something else. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Read a book. Do a puzzle. Play the piano. Take a class. Teach your pet a new trick. Learn a language. Take photos, then actually edit and organize them. Go fishing. While you’re doing something else with your brain, it will still be processing what you learned at practice the day before. Pursue other interests and let it! Then when you focus back on your athletic passion, that background absorption will burst forth into performance. I started announcing at USAs two years ago, and the mental challenge of keeping track of everything and being somewhat entertaining is fun, plus I’m serving my fellow athlete!

I’ve gotten really good at personal-item travel. I became an Aunt in 2018, and flew home for multiple weekends with just a backpack on the cheapest Frontier flights I could find. These little jaunts back to my family make me SO happy, and random yoga sessions with my Mom are all the exercise I need on such short mental health trips.

Active vs. Passive Physical Recovery

Active recovery is pretty much anything that you feel puts your body back together. I used to have two dedicated active recovery days per week (Wednesdays and Saturdays) when I still did two-a-day training. Now, my Saturdays are basically my only scheduled active recovery days, but I have a lot more time every other day to throw active recovery stuff in if I feel like I need it. Some examples for me are swimming, hiking, yoga (my new favorite is hot yoga, especially in Colorado winter), interval jogs, multi-planar medball circuits, core work, stretching and foam rolling, and paddleboarding. Russ will teach me to fly fish here in the next year! Walking my Maddie Dog is my favorite warm-up activity as well as the best easy active recovery event. Similar to the idea of doing other sports or activities to put yourself back together in the off-season, reminding your body of how good it feels to move in different ways during the season is really healing, too.

These active recovery things aren’t super taxing. Huge efforts are reserved for actual training. If you go too hard on the recovery stuff, you’ll be spent when it comes time to do the real work. An example from last summer of recovery in Europe: I swam competitively in high school, so my pool work is recovery during the season (I’m getting cardiovascular benefit, sure, but I’m mostly just trying to dynamically stretch my shoulders with each stroke.). I was taking the bus that day in Offenburg in May, managed to find a public pool, but didn’t quite know the hours, layout of the pool, how the locker room worked, and what exactly the bus schedule was. I didn’t have much time and almost walked out, but paid my very reasonable 2 Euros after all, wandered around and creepily watched others to figure out the locker system, and had just enough time for a straight 500m swim and hustle back to the bus. I felt way better doing a little bit of something different than I had the whole time I had been in Germany.

Passive physical recovery is just being lazy! It’s the best! Sometimes you have to do nothing! Also in this category is body work, though, and that does take some effort. Sweating through a sports massage that addresses very specific muscular issues is necessary sometimes. Naps belong in the passive recovery realm, and they’re better if you have a pet to snuggle. I love my NormaTec air pressure system while watching documentaries. I’m not a big fan of ice tubs, but I’ll sit in the river on a hot summer day while I watch Russ fish. I could read in bed all afternoon. Sleep is super important. Naps are great, but I also try to get 9 hours of sleep per night.

Kind of in between passive and active recovery is nutrition and hydration. You have to make an effort to eat and drink well, but your body does the work after you put stuff in your mouth! Planning meals and snacks around training is important, as is drinking enough water, but I might give you some different advice than others when it comes to food. I blame a portion of my ACL tear on my diet for the two years prior to that event. I was ill-advised to get leaner, so I did, at the expense of performance, strength, recovery, and ultimately (I believe) soft tissue integrity. Eat what you love and until you feel physically satisfied. Try to make it balanced. Get enough protein, preferably just after workouts. Do research and experiment with your diet to find what makes you feel the best. I love chocolate chip cookies from either Qdoba or Jimmy John’s. If I go to either place for my lunch (a mini burrito bowl or lettuce-wrap #12 with extra avo), I also have a cookie, but not every day. Russ makes me amazing balanced dinners and often breakfasts, and I’m so grateful for his support of my career in this way. I eat a Larabar or Dutch Bros. granola bar on the way home from practice if it’s in the afternoon. Food is fuel.

yum yum yum

yum yum yum

Water is boring. It’s my favorite during workouts, for simplicity reasons, but I find it really tough to drink just water all day. I like tea with some honey, Emergen-C packets (although I reserve those for potential-sickness times), Propel, and LaCroix (we actually DO like it at the Wingers’). I’ve tried infusing water with stuff before like I’m a fancy hotel owner, but I never actually drink it. Maybe I’ll try again. Figure out how you can get yourself to actually be hydrated. Try new stuff!

Questions from Instagram:

1.       As a Javelin Thrower, what are the most important things to have in mind when talking about recovery?

               I would say that you should take stock of which parts of your body hurt the most after throwing sessions, and make an effort to recover those specific areas, even on non-throwing days. After my knee surgery, I would game-ready and NormaTec after every therapy session, which sometimes meant twice (each) per day. Core work will ALWAYS be important as a javelin thrower, and will make your low back feel better if you have issues there. My infraspinatus and serratus on my right side are always tight, so I’m constantly laying on my Hypersphere or a lacrosse ball at night at home. I go to the gym sometimes just to sit in the hot tub with jets pointed directly at the back of my right shoulder or my low back, and then stretch my hips in the steam room. So this is really an individual question, but being proactive about fixing your own specific issues will prepare you for your next throws.

2.       Opinion on ice vs heat immediately after a workout.

               I have never liked ice baths. Russ and I were discussing recently that taking them immediately post-lift can actually hinder your adaptation to the work you just did, too! Inflammation is a natural response to work, and necessary to heal the muscle fibers that get broken down in the training process. I use heat either to warm up (a specific area if it’s hurting in the training room with a heating pad) or as a recovery method (hot tub/steam room) fairly unrelated to any specific training session.

               I tend to use ice in a concentrated way: A Game Ready session on my knee or shoulder, ice massage for my forearm or elbow, or maybe sticking an ankle into the ice tub. My much-preferred method of flushing my system is the NormaTec.

3.       Which aspects of recovery do you put the most time/energy into? Sleep, nutrition, physiology, stretch, etc.?

               I think sleep and stretching/mobility! Much of what I do to warm up is mobility-oriented, and I foam roll and stretch almost every night. Sleep is my favorite. If I have like two days in a row of less than 8 hours per night, I start to go a little bit crazy.

4.       What are your go to recovery foods?

               I love smoothies but I don’t make them enough! One of my favorite snacks is cottage cheese with apple, pistachios, and cinnamon. I also love fruit dipped in equal parts nut butter and plain Greek yogurt! Charcuterie plates give me life like the old millennial I am. Larabars have become my favorite bar. I consider coffee to be a recovery food (I know it’s actually not), but I’ve cut back a lot in the last few years as well. Any dinner leftovers do the trick. Noodles and Company Wisconsin Mac n’ Cheese with grilled chicken is my guilty pleasure.

5.       Why can I not recover like I did 10 years ago?!

I KNOW RIGHT! But our bodies are wiser!


I hope you enjoyed this description of how I recover and the many different ways it’s possible!

How to be Injured (Injuries, Pt. 2)

People tend to talk about an athlete’s performance before injury, how they got injured, and then jump all the way forward to when that person has returned to glory. There’s a lot in between that you don’t get to hear enough about if you hope to be well-prepared for the tough road ahead.

When you do get injured (I’m so, so, so sorry), even if you’ve done everything in your power to prevent it from happening, it’s tough. In 2007, I developed a stress fracture in my back that ended my season before it started. Before that point, I hadn’t focused at all on keeping my lower back safe in the throw, and thousands of repetitions later, it almost broke. I was in college classes and had wonderful friends, sure, but my main identity at that point was “javelin thrower.” I didn’t make the best decisions (drank my Calories that semester), got the worst grades of my life, and was just generally a mess for about four months. I healed a lot that summer through family time, falling completely and totally for my future husband, and just removing myself from the environment that I’d gotten injured in. I had to have a major reset before I could go back and eventually make my first Olympic Team in 2008. When I tore my ACL in 2012, I promised myself I’d approach the injury in a more positive way. Here are the hard lessons I’ve learned in how to approach surgery or a major injury and the subsequent rehab.

1.       Get a life.

What makes you, you outside of your sport? You’re about to have some extra free time to explore other areas of your life. I applied for the USOC/DeVry University’s scholarship program in the Fall of 2012 (after my knee surgery), and cried the day I learned I’d been accepted and would be pursuing an MBA. My emotions about that program really freaked me out at first, but I realized eventually that I had been *only* a javelin thrower for three years at that point, and deep down I’d been craving something else in my life. I’m thrilled to have realized through that injury that it’s possible to pursue goals in multiple areas of life at once. I also started a year-long photography project that January 1. Whatever moves you, let yourself explore it during an injury period. You can rest your body while you expand your mind.

Related to this is enjoying life as much as possible before you’re entirely focused on healing. Russ and I hiked and camped for a solid month before my knee surgery in 2012. Those are treasured memories outside with him, and looking at the pictures from that trip motivated me during my rehab. I wanted to get back out there.

2.       Assemble your team.

Who can best help you succeed? Rest a full recovery from injury does not make. I watch far too many people just wait to feel better. Put your physical therapy/doctor/perhaps sports psychology team in place before you have your surgery/are ready to take the rehabilitation steps. Do your research, trust your gut, and choose people who will help you work hard to be even better than you were before your setback.

One of the questions I got about this blog was, “Is it true you were on a bike the day after your surgery?” in reference to my ACL surgery. Chris Garcia, one of my favorite PTs on the planet, was absolutely essential in my recovery, and continues to be a confidence booster for me through hard work in my twice-yearly or more visits to Sports Performance Physical Therapy. He put me on a stationary bike one day post-op, and while I didn’t cycle all the way around until about a week later, that activity so quickly after my first major surgery shocked me into realizing that I didn’t have time to feel sorry for myself, and I’m incredibly grateful for that gift. (Once the range-of-motion stuff started later in the session, I felt a little sorry for myself again, but those difficult steps are just as important.)

Your support system is a huge part of returning to sport as your best you. People who believe in your abilities as an athlete will help you plan to succeed. Having loved ones to commiserate with on the hard days is important. Choose people who will empower you to face this journey bravely: Those who would hold your hand every step of the way do not have your best interests in mind. Key players on your team are essential. Ultimately though, your recovery is up to you…

3.       Do what you can with what you’ve got.

What can you work on that doesn’t involve your injured parts? I started upper body lifting in the second week after my ACL surgery, and my focus that entire year was improving my bench press and pullovers (lifts I had historically been weak in). I did up to 900 seated medball throws per week that year. After my left shoulder surgery in 2015, Jamie programmed heavy sled pulls for my lower body lifting until I could use the safety bar for squats. I stayed in my sling for safety and pulled that sled at a walk for weeks in all directions. I ran never-ending stadiums after I broke my arm. If your throwing shoulder or elbow is injured, you are absolutely able to keep your core and legs strong. A little creativity, a lot of communication with the people who are watching over your healing, and some asking for help in the weight room mean you can be stronger than ever in other areas of your body when you jump back into sport. Rehab time when you have supervision is for your actual injury, but there is a TON you can do to stay sharp with the rest of your body during normal training hours. Just be smart about it.

Two specific questions I got via Instagram:

“I have an elbow pains during and some after throws what should I do to heal it quickly?”

Forget about focusing on healing quickly: Shift your focus to healing correctly. There is absolutely no reason to rush it.

“Currently I’m out with a shoulder injury and I’m not allowed to throw for four weeks, if not more. What do you recommend to not lose the technique, because I’m not allowed to even lift up my arm really so I can’t even just practice my steps with a jav or with my arm up. Any recommended exercises or drills?”

Like I said, there is a TON you can work on technique-wise with your lower body. Controlling the javelin within technique is obviously important to throwing far, but if you can’t do that, don’t do that. I’ve done countless crossovers while pulling a sled. Work on block leg stability, both in a javelin-specific way and from a rehabilitation standpoint (balance work, theraband work, etc.). Get creative and remember how much you CAN do.

4.       Be patient. Also celebrate.

Things worth doing take time! Surgeries and the processes that go on inside your body to heal from them are actually amazing. An ACL bone-patella-bone graft (what I had) is a chunk of tendon with two chunks of bone on either end that the surgeon inserts into the middle of your knee at a specific angle. Then, over time, your body lays down new tissue to turn that tendon into a ligament (anterior cruciate ligament, ya know). AMAZING. Those processes, and the ones for any other major injury, take specific amounts of time for your incredible body to heal. Patiently allow them to happen. If you rush, you just risk re-injury and annoying the people who are trying to help you (read: heartache and disappointment all around). Take the opportunity to develop new habits as far as treating your body well goes: Employ recovery methods like stretching, cryotherapy or what have you every day. Be diligent about the exercises you’re allowed to do. Some days will be terrible, but there is ALWAYS a little victory to be had in each day. If you balanced on one leg for 5 more seconds or felt your shoulder blade move correctly for the first time, even if it’s weak, celebrate. Little daily victories pile up, and make the process a lot more enjoyable than constant complaints.

Throughout an injury, just remember that you are an athlete, even though you’re an injured one. It’s easy to feel like your identity is suddenly stripped from you, but maybe find a new one, and when it’s time to test your athletic ability again, trust that it won’t have magically left your body during your healing process. Recognize the time you have to spend with loved ones or pursue other interests during an injury, and be grateful for those new experiences. Gratitude is powerful, and so are you.

Specific questions about specific injuries belong in another kind of blog post, so please be patient with me! Part three of this series will finally discuss how to return from injury. Stay tuned!

How to Prevent Injury (Injuries, Pt. 1)

I started writing a blog about how to return from injury, then found myself writing about three different facets of injury. So now I am writing three different blogs. This is the first one!

Ideally, we wouldn’t have to miss out on playing time because our bodies betray us. Sadly, that hasn’t been my experience, but there are a few things you can do as a developing athlete to try and ward off injury:

1.       Be well-rounded.

As this world gets more and more competitive, it is more and more common for athletes to focus on just one sport really early in life. That can lead to injury. Continue to be a well-rounded athlete for as long as possible.

I’m a huge advocate for playing other sports, especially growing up. Tee-ball and softball were my first sports, I played soccer, volleyball, and basketball, swam and finally tried track and field in 8th grade. I vividly remember getting cut from the first basketball tryout I went to, and even took a tennis lesson once. I used to golf with my Mom. We went on (very few!) ski trips in elementary and middle school, and surfing on vacation in Hawaii. I was a three-sport athlete all through high school, and my track season each year remained relegated to track season until I was a scholarship athlete at Purdue. I had traumatic injuries, sure (turned ankles, some connective tissue damage from throwing in the cold, a bruised tailbone after an off-kilter rebound, a broken arm (from mud football with my friends)), but I didn’t experience an overuse injury until I became a single-sport athlete. Take a moment to google “overuse injuries in youth sports,” and let that plethora of returns motivate you to stay well-rounded.


These days, my well-roundedness includes walking the dog every day, running with her, swimming laps each week, and hikes with my Russ. He and I have talked about how great hiking is for glute and core stabilization, and therefore for knee and back health. My healthiest professional seasons have been in conjunction with home renovation (read: manual labor), and I guarantee it’s because I’m moving my body in different planes than it needs to to throw the javelin. Give your javelin muscles a break. Do something ELSE physical that makes you happy.

2.       Pre-hab.

You’re probably familiar with the abbrev. “rehab.” Its lesser-known partner, prehabilitation, is my favorite. Athletes (and this was the case with me) often have to go through injury and the subsequent rehabilitation to realize that there is something they could have done before disaster struck to possibly avoid it. I had no idea how my knees *should* be moving before I tore my ACL, and now that I have the knowledge, my heart hurts sometimes thinking about what could have been if I’d been proactive before.

Seek out a physical therapist who employs preventative therapy. More and more, physical therapy clinics are diagnosing imbalances and weaknesses in clients and tailoring specific programs to help individuals overcome them and prevent further injury as a result. You might come in with a specific complaint, but a fantastic physical therapy office won’t just treat the culprit and send you away, they’ll take a look at how your entire body is moving and help you correct things you didn’t know were wrong. Pain in a certain area doesn’t mean that area is the only problem. If you are in Southern California, PLEASE go see Sports Performance Physical Therapy. If you’re somewhere else, it’s likely that the SP Team could help you get linked up with a quality provider in your area.

Athletes have egos. That is an age-old truth. But please remember that the way your body moves is just a fact. You’ve done nothing wrong to this point to make it move “badly” or “well.” If you’re already an athlete, you’re doing great, but imagine how much better you could perform if you weren’t hindered by little hiccups in your movement. Check your ego and just go see. Ironing out the kinks that you’re not fully aware of could mean complete freedom on the playing field. That's the opportunity that a good PT is living for. They are wonderful people who love sport and only want to help you perform at your very best. If you’ve already been introduced to a clinic through injury, that’s unfortunate, but use that relationship to build on your foundation when you’re reintroduced to sport after the injury rather than turning your back on what’s easy to compartmentalize as a difficult time in your life. Turn that rehab into prehab, and become the best you.

3.       Rest and recovery.

Work work work work work, then RECOVER. Regardless of sport, recovery from activity is essential to avoiding injury. You get nothing from the high quality work you put in if you don’t give your body an opportunity to absorb it. If you deny your body the chance to heal from all of the micro-trauma it goes through in training, eventually it will retaliate.

Recovery days could be anything in my book. If I’m just at home, I’ll do some core and go for a swim after yard work. If I want more adventure or I have something planned with Russ and Maddie, it means paddleboarding, hiking, fishing (sitting in nature’s ice tub while Russ fishes), or other outdoorsy fun. If I’m in Europe and travel days have been particularly frequent, I count that exhaustion (plus always core) as my activity for the day and cut my swimming way down, prioritizing rest otherwise. Active recovery is anything that balances your body back out from the stresses of the sport you do. Bonus points if your chosen method of recovery also relaxes your mind (my outdoors and family focus).

Recovery also includes things like massage therapy, chiropractic work, NormaTec system usage, contrast baths, etc. Again, putting your body back together after hard work and before more hard work happens. You must reset and restore the body before you ask more of it, or you’re just piling on to a stressed system. If I ignore this part, eventually I’ll be feeling pretty good in a lift, and all of a sudden my old friend the back spasm will show up. Recovery is important for good performance, yes, but that’s because it allows quality training to continue.

Rest is something altogether different than recovery. I LOVE me an entire day at home with Madeline, walking when we feel like it, napping, cooking new recipes, maybe pulling a weed outside, playing piano, and binge-watching funny shows. I can be very, very good at an off day. Sometimes the three of us will go out to the farm to play Bridge with Russ’s grandparents and enjoy a gorgeous sunset fetch. Complete rest days are necessary for body and (my) soul.

I was sick last week. I won’t go into too much detail, but GI distress away from home is no fun. I barely left my hotel room for three days and still didn’t quite feel right during warm-ups for the Athletics World Cup. The worst night of my sickness, I was up and down all night from 11pm-on, but slept well when I was down, then slept until 3pm. I had absolutely no trouble sleeping that night either. Come competition day, I was surprised by how good my body felt, even if my stomach was still complaining! The reason is rest. It is so healing. Do it.


My career is not a great example of how to avoid injury (L5 stress fracture 2007, ACL tear 2012, L shoulder labrum and rotator cuff tears 2015), but it is a great example of how to learn from difficult experiences and return to action, and for that I hope you'll heed my words. I wish I’d done more to prevent injury earlier in my career, especially from a prehab standpoint. Be wiser than I was.

Part 2 will revolve around the mental aspects of being injured; preparing for a surgery and the immediate aftermath of that, the first few physical therapy appointments, and getting through the really trying parts of the recovery process. Please let me know if you have specific questions for that blog! I have some saved from my Instagram request for questions on this topic before.

In Part 3 I plan to talk about return to sport. Most of you asked about this, so thanks for your patience!


I got quite a few questions when I requested them in my Instagram story (thanks, guys!), so in the spirit of more concise and frequent blogs, I’m turning this one into a travel question-and-answer instead of my typical freeform! I’ll also take this opportunity to direct you to a guest blog I did last summer for Rodhe Sport. I’ve embedded the companion video to that blog at the bottom of this blog, but you’ll have to head over to Justin’s website to get the description!

Dos and don’ts when traveling with javelins? Do you travel with your javelins or do they provide them at the meet?

DO bring them. One of very few times I decided to leave mine home because I got to see a rare list of provided implements, those implements weren’t actually there! Cue stress. If you are worried about having something to throw when it comes to the meet, bring your own stuff.

DON’T stress about them. Things happen. Javelins are pretty darn interchangeable (even if they’re not, for you, mentally, but that’s a different conversation), and you can’t help it if they get lost and miss a competition. As long as you find them again, it’s not worth your diminished performance to worry about when that will happen.

               The key to staying calm when there’s a javelin snafu is to be your own advocate. I spent a lot of years being too passive and apologetic about stuff (and I think, regardless of loud reputation, this is kind of an American attitude). As long as you’re respectful and sportsmanlike, the javelins are all fair game once they hit the competition rack. Don’t rip an implement out of a competitor’s hand, but be brave.

DO leave yourself extra time to check your luggage at the airport or get on a train or bus. People will stare at you as you tote a long ski-like bag and maneuver it in tight spaces, but they will not give you extra space or consideration for the most part. There are different fees for oversize luggage for different airlines, and finding a place to stow a large bag on a train takes extra patience. Find your platform or stop early, and either decide to be first or last to board, as negotiating around people just makes an already-cumbersome task more frustrating.

DON’T hit people with them. I only did this one time, on a crowded bus many years ago. I had an extremely close call with a child’s face in the Stuttgart train station the other day, and am so glad my fast twitch fibers were operational in that moment. Constant vigilance.

Coolest place you’ve competed?

I love Australia so much, but likely because of the country itself and not necessarily the competition venues? Finland was super fun last year (Lappeenranta) because of their understanding of the event and watching Tero Pitkamaki throw far in his home country. The Hallesche Werfertage is great because of the crowd’s proximity. The Berlin Olympic Stadium is one of my favorites in the world because of the history there and just how impressive the structure is. Luzern, Switzerland’s views from the track are epic. Lausanne as well. Same for the Monaco stadium and Rovereto, Italy. I won my first international competition way back in Kawasaki, Japan in 2009, and Japan remains one of my favorite countries in the whole world. I can’t believe I’m saying this though, not only because I tore my ACL there but because it feels so cliché, but there really is nothing like an excellent throw at Historic Hayward Field. I’ve been lucky to have a couple like that in my career, and I’ll miss it.

Is Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check worth it?

YES!! These things don’t really help you when traveling internationally (from foreign country to foreign country or with customs lines upon arrival in Europe), but when I’m at the end of a long trip and am almost home, it’s incredibly gratifying to soar through Global Entry and run into Russ’s arms quickly instead of standing in a line some more. Speeding through the security process at the beginning of a long trip is so nice as well, since it leaves you time to eat food you like one more time, re-organize your carry-ons maybe, get water, and relax a bit before boarding. Highly, highly recommend.

Do you bring snacks and fuel for competition day from the USA that you are familiar with, or do you just find local stuff when you arrive?

I bring snacks!! I have pretty specific competition day snack needs (see the Rodhe Sport blog for description), and for this current trip specifically, I’m so glad I brought some breakfast stuff too! I do enjoy buying local food also (especially because I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Germany and know what I like here), but I arrived in Offenburg on a Saturday in the late afternoon. Grocery stores were closed on Sunday, and Monday was a German holiday, meaning those stores (and bakeries and cafes) were still closed! I could walk down the hill for an early dinner each night, but I wouldn’t have had any breakfast if I hadn’t brought oatmeal packets, dried fruit, almond butter, protein powder and instant coffee (the real MVP).

Traveling in Germany? Europe? Or just travel tips in general?

This is a big question, so I’ll just say that you should do your research before arrival. Being very aware of what your phone plan is is important, too! I’ve spent more time than I’d like to admit sitting on curbs and crying in foreign cities, but that was mostly before international data plans were common. Mostly. These days, it’s easy to do a little research on what public transportation is available wherever you’re going, download the app for that train line or bus system or what have you before you leave, and be on your way. That being said, yesterday I walked literally an hour to practice because I didn’t have the correct bus stop name entered in my DB app, and I didn’t want to bike because I’m sore from biking.

Point number two! Slow down. Take a deep breath, listen, and just be sure of where you’re going before you take off. It’s easy to get caught up in the schedule you may have previously laid out for yourself, but getting rushed is when disaster strikes for me, and the stress that comes with it doesn’t help my body when it comes to training and performance.

               On my way to Europe for this trip, I missed my international connection and had to be rescheduled due to delay. I hadn’t previously purchased a train ticket to Offenburg from Stuttgart for precisely this reason, but by the time I got to the Stuttgart airport, it was getting kind of late and I was feeling pressure to get to my AirBnB and not keep the hostess waiting. So when I purchased my train ticket, in my rush, I left my debit card in the machine!! Didn’t notice for 24 hours. Can’t believe my account wasn’t touched. Feel so dumb. I also stood on the platform for approximately 15 minutes before the train came, so there was no reason at all to be in such a hurry.

My biggest tip is to let the good outweigh the not-so-good. My Mom is amazing at this. In 2011, she got pickpocketed in Paris and then spent days and days and days incredibly sick on the shores of Lake Como with my Dad. European travel can be difficult, but only because it’s different from your normal life (if you’re American and reading this), and while that trip was clearly awful for her, she talks about how beautiful it was and what they saw rather than the bad stuff. I bike over cobblestones and my butt is sore to get to the laundromat, but there’s a gorgeous church outside that’s 200 years old. I have a lot of those kinds of stories, but I usually have to work hard to remember the bad parts. (Thanks for gifting me your positive attitude, Mom!)

What’s it like being on the road and continuing training?

This can be a challenge! A big part of being a professional track and field athlete is adaptability. It’s already fairly common to adapt your training at home, say, if a body part hurts or you have a family obligation or something, and the same things (along a little different lines sometimes) have to happen while traveling. I was scheduled to have a ball session the Monday after I arrived (that German holiday), but did a body weight circuit at my apartment instead because a) I don’t do so well with international travel and quickly adopting new time zones and b) it was a holiday! On Tuesday, I had a miscommunication with the coach here and biked all over town doing laundry, getting keys, and finally lifting at 6:30pm. At home, I’ve been swimming a little after throwing sessions because it helps decompress my back and also I love it. I hadn’t been in the pool since I’d been here, so yesterday I made my way by bus to the public one. When I walked in, it didn’t look like there would be a lane for me, I didn’t know how much it would cost, and I wasn’t totally sure of the bus schedule, so I walked right out again. After brief reflection, I decided just splashing around would be good for me (it’s hot here!), so went back in, paid, and found a perfectly good lane just beyond my line of sight from the lobby for a lovely swim. I got stuck upon exiting, sure, but I'm glad I stuck around.

In a nutshell, even getting to training can be more difficult when traveling, and knowing when to push yourself in training vs. when to back off because of those extra difficulties takes time. Having fabulous sounding boards at home helps a lot…

How do you organize your training during traveling because your coach isn’t always with you? Is she?

Dana is not currently traveling with me, no (but hopefully later this summer!), but the person who actually writes my programming is my other coach, my strength coach since 2009 and now the guy who tells me what to do every day (joking, but he is writing all of my stuff now), Jamie Myers! To answer this question, communication. I’ve been texting and emailing with both Jamie and Dana pretty much every other day or more since I’ve been in Germany, sharing video and double-checking if an adaptation for something is a good idea. After I biked all around the town on Tuesday, my lift was lighter that night, as confirmed with Jamie. I added a competition this weekend in Offenburg that I hadn’t planned on when I left home, so my overall training schedule has been redone through email discussion, and we’ve already talked about what I’ll do when I get home in the short time before USATF National Championships. But that might change! I listen to my body, communicate with my people, and try to make good decisions about what will make training great, while enjoying my trip at the same time.

Can you mention in your blog how you keep from getting too fatigued/tight while traveling?

Firstly, sleep!! Adapt to whatever time zone you’re in as quickly as you can if you’ll be there for a while, and don’t stress too much if jet lag hits you. Coffee is my friend. After that statement, hydrate like crazy. I sweat profusely in Europe, and forget what that’s like as a Coloradan of 5 years. Staying hydrated, as we all know, helps keep your muscles fluid instead of bound up!

During an actual travel day, I'm never shy about stretching in a corner away from people or lying down on the floor of any airport. I am committed to never outgrowing this willingness. Stay loose and as comfortable as possible when you have room to move!

The self-therapy tools that I brought with me are a little foam roller, lacrosse ball, a circular band (for clamshells or monster walks or what have you) and a regular bungee. I get down on the floor of my apartment at least twice a day and do some rolling, and while I’m down there, some stretching too. I especially emphasize this right after I get back from something, be it the grocery store or practice, because I’m biking or walking everywhere. I do an ab circuit every day that has really been helping my thoracic spine (it includes twisting motions) stay limber in a way that it hasn’t been for the last few years, so I’m pumped about that!

Recovery is super important when traveling, too. The bike can destroy your legs real fast if you’re not careful. I will likely take the bus tomorrow (Friday) instead of biking so that my legs can be fresh for Saturday’s competition. I do not at all plan to leave my apartment today (Thursday), my off day. I like to enjoy the places that I travel to, but there are days here and there that I can tell I’ve done too much (this happens to me domestically, too), and the last two have been big ones, so I’m jealously guarding my down time today! This will of course still include some therapy and core time, but there will be a lot of reading and binge-watching in there as well (Arrow Season 6 is making me really sad. I look forward to a new season every one of my competition seasons, but I’m sorely disappointed.).

Thanks for your questions, everyone!! This one got long…old habits…

A travel day in Europe for me and the tools that keep me at my best! Companion video for Rodhe Sport blog (2017).