I guess when thinking of my time at MP, we need to rewind a little further for the work Dom has done to really make sense.
Due to a number of (at the time) undiagnosed medical issues, I’d been unable to consistently exercise for a number of years without my shoulder, knee or hip subluxing. Finally after seeing the right consultant, I was diagnosed with hypermobility, Polar 3 instability (abnormal muscle patterning, leading to inactive muscle groups) and multi directional instability. I was referred to the best physio I have ever come across (and I’ve had a few!) as the combination of issues meant that I wasn’t a good candidate for surgery. After about 18 months of working with him, I decided to jump back in the pool in October 2017 and swam 200m (8 lengths), with no subluxations. I don’t think I’d ever been so happy to swim 200m! Over the course of the next 4 months, I gradually increased the distances and joined a swimming club. It was at that point that I considered I might be able to swim competitively, and that’s where Dom came in.
I showed up to my initial consultation with her in February 2018, with a white board completely full of aims, goals, questions and a very long list of medical issues. To my surprise, the goals I had put down for a few years time, Dom seemed confident that they not only could be achieved, but some could be achieved this year. Now I am sure Dom will forgive me for saying, I was very excited, but I did not believe her!
Now to get to work…
Dom programmed my gym and swim work on cycles of 3-4 weeks. Every single programme took my instabilities in to account, focused on the requests from my physio, and worked to get my inactive areas switching on. The work Dom did went completely hand in hand with the physio work I’d been given. What made me even happier is when the physio reviewed the programmes, his response was: “I’ve never seen a coach ditch big ego-lifts in favour of working with bands, nor have I ever seen a coach take so much notice of what a physio has said and worked with me, not against me”. So much so, that I’d been seeing my physio every 2-3 weeks for 18 months, and within a couple of months of following Dom’s programming, my sessions with him had dropped down to every 5 weeks.
Dom’s focus was not only to get the right muscle groups working though strength sessions, but to increase my speed and endurance in the water. I followed a mixture of speed and endurance sessions that Dom had planned for me, sending her the results after each one ready for her to calculate what my next session would be, ensuring they were always progressive. We also included a couple of tests to measure any improvement in speed – within just 7 weeks of following her programming, we saw a 15% improvement on my 1km baseline test.
Within a couple of months of working with Dom, I’d bought a wetsuit and trained in open water for the first time in my life (note to anyone wanting to try it – don’t do it in 6 degree water. It hurts. A lot…) and event #1 came round – a 1 mile open water swim. The original goal was to complete the event with no injury, however after seeing the improvements in speed, it was hard not to change the goal to “I want to finish within 30 minutes”. The big day rolled around and despite a bit of a panic in the water, I’d finished the event in 29:38! I was so incredibly happy, but I wanted to see what I could have done had I not had a panic attack and stopped. And so on to event #2. I gave Dom 2 weeks to get me ready for the next event (sorry Dom!), the Big Bala swim in Wales. Well, it’s safe to say, it went well! I had no panics, I finished 4th lady out of 50, and more importantly, I came away injury free!
And finally on to the third – the Salford Triathlon relay with fellow MP members, Dawn and Nat. Anyone that trains at MP will know how incredible these two ladies are, so I was very excited and nervous that they asked me to compete with them! The shorter distance meant that Dom’s focus turned more to speed, which was hard (06:30am sprint session anyone?) but so much fun! Again, thanks to Dom’s programming, this resulted in a PB for me in the swim leg, coming out of the water 3rd in my wave and coming in the top 15% of all 300+ male and female competitors that day. Dawn and Nat smashed the bike and run and as a team we came away with 3rd place in the relay!
So over the course of 5 months of working with Dom, I’ve gone from seeing my physio every 3 weeks to being discharged (yes, that really just happened, today!), I’ve been able to train consistently both in the gym and in the water and competed in 3 open water events! And it doesn’t stop there, we’ve already sat and planned goals for 2019 and 2020 – work towards those goals start next week!
Training with Dom has completely changed my life. It’s enabled me to work towards goals I thought could only be dreams a year ago. She listens to your goals, hopes and concerns, sits with you to devise a plan that you feel comfortable with, goes away and makes it happen. She’s not afraid to change the plan if it’s not working (or in my case, if my shoulder decides it doesn’t feel like working that day) and is always at the end of the phone for a bit of reassurance and guidance when needed.
Training at Macclesfield Performance opens the door to meet so many incredible athletes that become your friends. You couldn’t ask for a more inspiring, motivational bunch of people around you.
If you have a goal that’s been at the back of your mind but you think you couldn’t possibly achieve it – speak to Dom, it might not be as far out of reach as you think!