Lessons Learned: 2014 Open

I, like the rest of you went through the Open sore and extremely out of breath. Here are just a few of the lessons I learned while participating:

1. Pace. Pace. Pace.

In 14.4 I finished my 60 calorie row in 2:30 – 3 seconds behind Josh Bridges. I felt pretty good, until I hit the toes-to-bar. For the rest of the workout, I couldn’t find my breath. Little did I know, I ruined my workout in the first two minutes and thirty seconds. We can all empty our gas tank. Save that part for the end. For the rest of the workout plan your recovery periods on movements that are easy and save up for especially difficult sections of the WOD. Even in the shortest open workout of all time, a 5 min AMRAP, it’s impossible to sprint the entire workout. I paced myself on my second attempt of 14.4 and improved my score by 15 reps! Pick a pace and stick to it. You’ll be glad you did.

You want to look like this after the WOD… not during it.

2. Taper your Workout Schedule

In the sport of CrossFit there are a few different parts to the game as in any other sport. There is practicing skilled movements, training to improve your endurance and strength, and lastly, showing off your work by competing. The Open is a time to compete. Now is the time to show off your accomplishments. Now is the time to perform. And, if you want to perform well it is essential to schedule your workouts appropriately around your attempts. Workout everyday for 4 days before your attempt? How well do you think your sore, beat down body will perform? Not as well as if you had given yourself a rest day or two before. You might not “feel” like you’re gaining much ground physically during the open. Guess what? That’s ok! It is a time to strategize, plan, and compete. It’s a time to showcase your talent and how much work you’ve put in. You have the whole next year to build your work capacity. As a general rule, to maximize performance your training during the open season needs to contain a far lower volume of work along with an increase in focused practice on the upcoming movements. If you’re looking for a little more strategy check out CrossFit Impulse’s take on smart tapering.

3. Don’t Breathe

Remember how you did such a good job pacing yourself? Well now you have 1 minute left. Now you have 30 seconds left. Why are you looking at your bar? Pick it up.

4. Expect the Unexpected

This year alone they added a new movement requiring a $5000 piece of equipment and for the first time ever scheduled a workout that was “For Time” (not an AMRAP). Last year, they introduced an increasing AMRAP (if you were good enough). While Dave Castro’s singular goal in programming the opens, regionals, and games isn’t to surprise us, he definitely enjoys it. Be ready for the unexpected and unknown! Train in anyway you can think of: long, short, heavy, light, in the rain, in the morning, fast, disciplined pace, rested, sore – with every movement.

What lessons did you learn? Share in the comments below!


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