Preparing for the Open

With this comp season winding down and the Crossfit Open just a few months away, I thought I would do a write up about preparing for the upcoming year.  Whether you want to do your first comp next year or are wanting to go to regionals, this will help you plan your attack and be better prepared to do your best. Many people in Crossfit Denver are preparing right now.

The first thing you need to do is set your goals.  Do you want to compete in your first comp, podium at a specific comp, hit a certain mark in the Open, or make it to regionals?  All other goals will be based on achieving that mark.  In triathlon talk, we call this setting your “A” race.  When do you want to be hitting your peak performance?

Next, we set smaller goals and make a plan for hitting that mark.  You don’t want to peak too soon and do great at a local comp, then be burnt out or get sick at the one that really matters.  If you have never done a Crossfit competition before, I always recommend just having fun and “experiencing” your first comp.  Don’t worry about what place you come in, learn as much as you can and make note of what you wish would have been different.

Competing in Crossfit is a little different than other sports.  My observation is, very rarely do people prepare like how they plan to perform.  Let me explain this a little.  Most of the time, someone will do one WOD (Workout Of the Day) a day, or maybe 1 WOD and one Oly class.  They will do this all the way up until the comp when they are asking their body to do 4-5 WODs in one day.  Now I am not suggesting doing 4 workouts in a day on a regular basis, that’s too much stress on the body.  I do think that it’s important that you prepare your body to handle this much work in a single day and learn how to fuel your body while working out.

Pick your comp day.  If your “A” comp is on a Saturday, then you want to get your body used to performing its’ best on Saturdays.  DO NOT work out M-F, take it easy on the weekends and then try to do a comp on the weekends.  You have trained your body for however many months to be in recovery mode on the weekends, and that’s how it’s going to react at the comp.  Again, if Saturday is going to be your comp day, Sunday should be an active recovery/light workout, with gradually increasing intensity in your WODs until about Wednesday. Then Thursday and Friday should be focused on speed and form.  This would be a great time to set up an appointment to do video analysis of your form.  Saturday is when you want to try for your 1RM (1 rep max), do chipper WODs, and push your performance.

Do mini Comps.  About once a month, have an extended workout.  Do 3 or 4 WODs in one day.  Again, you want your body familiar with what you are going to put it through on Comp Day.  This is also a good time to experiment with nutrition.  Find out what upsets your stomach and what your body likes.  You want a mixture of simple carbohydrates for immediate fuel and complex carbs for sustained energy.   NOTHING NEW ON COMP DAY! I don’t care if you just found out about this Himalayan Stream water that gives you superhuman strength.  If you haven’t tried it in practice, don’t wait until comp day to see if it works.  This goes for shoes, clothes, food, and tape.  I can’t tell you how many athletes I’ve seen throwing up, getting blisters, and performing sub-par, because they wanted to try something new.

For the Open.  You are going to do one workout a week for 5 weeks.  Again, I suggest doing it all on the same day that you have trained your body to perform its best one.  If you want to re-do a workout, DO NOT do it the next day.  Rest, recover, give a couple of days to build up intensity, then hit it with at least 2 days between the next comp workout.  You need to remember that these workouts are hard on your body.  It needs to have proper time and nutrition to recover and prepare to perform again.

Recovery.  This is the hardest concept to get athletes to incorporate into their workouts.  Recovery does not mean doing nothing.  It can be going on a hike, a bike ride, rock climbing, camping, or any other activity that you like to do.  It should be both a mental and physical break from the daily routine.  If you hit a PR (Personal Record), recover the next day or two.  If you do a comp, recover for the next 3 days to week.  After the Open and or Regionals recover for atleast a week up to a month.  If you notice that you are feeling tired all the time, you keep getting injured, you’re more irritable, or getting sick alot, these are signs that your body needs a break.  Again, this doesn’t mean that you have to do nothing, just back off the intensity and treat yourself to something you enjoy.

You have a support team.  If you have any questions about how to implement this in to your training schedule, the coaches and I are here to help.  We want you to succeed.  We want to you set goals and achieve them.  We want you to be healthy.