Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Creating Vision

The 2013 Games Season is now complete and those of you who competed for the first time may be wondering, “What can I do to better prepare myself for 2014”? Now I’m not by any means saying that we need to start training specifically for 2014, but making sure we’re heading in the best general direction is paramount and having a few things in your daily arsenal to help with this is a pretty darn good idea.

The concept I want to address today is Strategy and how we can be thinking about it in a typical daily WOD.

Strategy: The science and art of military command exercised to meet the enemy in combat under advantageous conditions.

This above definition of Strategy I specifically picked out because every day we find ourselves in a glorious battle at CrossFit against the whiteboard, our friends and ourselves. Finding those “advantageous conditions” is something we are challenged with in order to get the work done faster!

The concept of Strategy for CrossFit may be:

A. Completely foreign to you: 3...2..1.GO! ANDOFFTOTHERACESWITHNOPLANWEGO!!!...other than to somehow get through all this crap that somebody wrote on the white board one way or another…wait how many rounds and of what?

B. You may be doing it already without knowing It: “Fran” – 21/15/9 Thursters/Pullups and you purposely broke into sets of 7/7/7, 5/5/5, 5/4…not extremely fast breaking the sets up but as long as the rest between sets was minimal, you should still be happy with your effort/score.

C. You have dabbled in an attempt at it with little success: Wod 13.3 is a perfect example of many people assuming that since they can do a single set of 30 Wall Balls on a good day, that they now should be able to maintain sets of 20 with 10 seconds of rest all the way through “Karen”…not anywhere as easy as that sounds when talking to yourself let alone putting into practice.

No matter where you stand, I’m here to tell you that with a solid strategy and awareness of your own capabilities as an athlete, having direction is the only way to approach each WOD…this goes for Strength WOD’s also…I can’t stress enough the importance of methodically breaking down warm-up sets based off of percentages.

You may have read articles/heard pod casts/watched videos of many well-known CrossFit coaches throughout the community give their breakdown strategies for each of the 2013 Open WODS and more than likely for the general CrossFitter, these prescribed strategies were not written for you but rather regional caliber athletes. What decision did you come to after this realization…throw the strategy out the window or to start thinking about how to make it work for your abilities?

The process of Strategizing for a WOD is just like everything else we do and it requires a very realistic account of one’s self as well as being dedicated to practicing it every day.

Upon entering the gym each day, the first thing you should do each day would be to look at the WOD and begin the mental breakdown…prior to warming up. Then during your warm-up and mobility is a great time to be thinking critically about the WOD and your plan of attack. Now this doesn’t mean neglecting the purpose of the warm-up but rather redirecting you’re daydreaming about Rich Fronning Jr. or Camille Leblanc-Bazinet (I can’t be the only one?) into constructive thinking about the work to be done.

When starting to break down a WOD, here are some of the things you need to be thinking about:

1.) Can I go UNBROKEN…if so, how expensive (how will this affect my efforts in later rounds) will UNBROKEN be?

2.) If I can’t go UNBROKEN, how many sets of each item will I need to do to ensure I do the most work I can while
still limiting my resting periods

3.) Is my Pride of RX more important to me than my efficiency and work intensity which is the true goal for CrossFit?

4.) Are the scaling options still making me work hard enough to get better at the actual movement?

5.) Be realistic about over all abilities

6.) Be prepared to adjust the strategy on the fly based on what your body is telling you

7.) Don’t SANDBAG (Holding back effort early only to try and make up ground later…rarely works)



Now the 2nd to last one may seem crass but let’s put a stop to this over-hydrated ridiculousness. Also, the very last bullet may seem hypocritical to some end yet it’s really a matter of efficiently balancing the strategic process, which is really what requires your practice.

The next time you’re in the gym I challenge you to discuss your tentative WOD strategy with the Coach (and rest of class if you’re looking for more accountability) prior and then again after to see what ended up taking place, whether it worked perfectly or had to be tossed out the window in round 1. Also, just as you document the WOD’s I’d encourage you to begin jotting down your strategies and how they played out in your WODbooks on a daily basis.

Every athlete operates slightly differently, but let’s find the best YOU that we can by attacking each WOD with strategy!

-Coach G