On the eve of the 2014 Crossfit Open competition I decided to toss my own thoughts into the giant blender of information circling around the digital world.
The Open will mean different things to different athletes. For some it is a chance to have a comparison of their fitness against their international peer group, end of story. That is enough of a reason to compete in the Open. Do it for the challenge.
If you have been Crossfitting for a while and have done previous Opens then maybe this is a chance to really check on your own performance against your main competition, yourself. At the end of the day this is the most important benchmark and the real measure of whether or not you have improved over last year.
For those athletes who are seeking to earn a spot to compete in the Regionals, this is a much bigger deal. You have been training hard to prepare but you are still focused on an event that is in the future. You need to do well to make it to Regionals but that is where your real goal is. Your training hasn’t peaked but you are on track and ready to give 100% each of the 5 workouts.
Then there are the OFAs, Old Fart Athletes. That’s where I fit in and the class has been extended to include those young 40 year olds, so that division has gotten really interesting. This group is facing their finals. The 5 week Open will be followed by a 4 workout weekend but to get to the Easter weekend competition you have to be in the top 200 worldwide in your Masters age category. Doing well in the Open is very important for this group. After the Open your standing will count as 1 workout to be added to the results of the next 4. Those extra workouts have created an international Regional competition and from there the top 20 advance to compete in the Crossfit Games this summer.
So that is the lay of the land but no matter what part of it you fit into there are things to do and things to avoid to ensure you are satisfied with your performance in the Open workouts. I have a few suggestions, not all of them my own ideas but information that seems worth sharing.
Be Rested. It makes no sense to show up for an Open workout tired or beat up from what you did the day before. Your body needs some recovery time so have a rest day the day before you are doing the workout. Rest will give you better focus as well as more energy. Be sure to drink lots of water the day before you do the workout. Good hydration is vital to good performance. Eat good foods at the right time, not a Big Mac as your driving to the gym.
Don’t Freak Out. While the weight may seem heavy or the reps bigger than you’d like, it is just a Wod. You do them all the time, treat this the same. Stay calm. Don’t wear the brand new shoes you just got, stick to those things that are familiar. Be consistent because consistency will bring calmness.
Focus on what you can control. You know how to do a burpee or box jump or wall ball. The movements are not complicated. Do each movement properly and efficiently. Perform them at a pace that allows you to get through the workout as quickly as possible. Far better to go a bit slower and have every rep count than to get frantic, start shorting the movements and have a bunch of no reps called on you. Every no rep is taking time and energy away. Those things are finite so make the most of them.
Have a plan. Don’t stand there and hear 3,2,1.. go, then try and see how far you can go before it all falls apart. Watch the announcement video, talk to your coach, try a couple of sets of the movements, then decide what rep scheme makes sense for you and do your best to stick to it.
It will be over before you know it. Most of the workouts will be shorter than 12 minutes. 20 minutes has been the longest one. Be prepared for the shorter time duration and stay calm but make sure you leave nothing on the table. It’s the Open so when you put your foot on the gas, do it knowing you will keep it there until you hear ‘Time’.
In the end that is why we do this. Cheer your fellow athletes on. Celebrate the good scores and move past the bad ones. This is not life and death, this is a fitness competition and by just signing up to do it you have already proven that you are an athlete.
Good Luck and be proud of yourself, you’ve earned it.