Monday: The Makers of Pace
The best athletes are the most consistent.
Hey everyone Coach Dan here with my weekly dose of blogitude. Sectionals are finally here! Nothing gets the blood pumping harder than that moment when you’re standing there the clock counting down with ten seconds to go ready to give it your best shot. The adrenaline surge is amazing and you’re ready to pour all of that anxiety induced energy into your WOD. It’s only a few minutes of hard work and then you’re all done and you can collapse on the floor in a puddle of victory…so how come less than a minute in you’re already fried?
Today I want to talk about the strategies behind pacing and why it can make or break your score. Most of us just like to come out the gates screaming and sprint it out as fast as possible. I’ve even heard coaches give the advice (particularly in reference to distance rowing) that you should sprint in the beginning settle into a rhythm in the middle then sprint out the end. I’ve never found that particular method to work very well for me so I’d like to offer a few alternatives.
For starters one major difference that I’ve noticed before any competitions I’ve participated in is that the anxiety level and adrenaline surge is much higher. I’ve found it very helpful to run a few sprints do a short and hard row or knock out a bunch of double unders. Just do something to dump that initial energy spike so that you aren’t crashing thirty seconds into your WOD. I would compare it to the feeling you get before you ride a roller coaster or go into a haunted house. To an extent it’s the fear of the unknown and generally once you see that something isn’t as scary as you thought it would be your body will respond appropriately.
After you’ve dumped that nervous energy now you need to make sure that you pace yourself appropriate to the workout. Even short workouts like Fran where we’re supposed to be sprinting require some thought as to how to split them up. Often in a workout if you work to failure on your first set then your subsequent sets will be much shorter than they could have been. Better to stop a few reps short of failure step away and shake it out then resume. The few seconds of rest between sets will be much shorter and you’ll have a lot more available energy for the next set.
Last year during 12.1 which was the infamous seven minutes of burpees I had a very solid plan going in. I had decided that I just wanted to keep moving at a steady pace for the entire time and never stop moving. Part of this involved going as slow as I possibly could in the beginning. Yep you heard me right; I went as slow as I possibly could. At least in my head that’s what I was doing but in reality I was moving along at a pretty solid pace. Part of the psychology behind this was that I figured with all of the adrenaline in me and energy in the room even if I moved at a pace that I thought was very slow I’d still be moving faster than I probably should. I was dead on and I tried to pass this advice to others. I think with all those chemicals swirling in our brains and stresses we’re putting our bodies under it actually warps time a little. This tactic helped me not burn out from starting too quickly and blowing all my steam prematurely.
Another component of pacing that will show up in Sectonals is performing in heats which allows for a counter. The obvious benefit is the fact that we don’t have to keep track of our own reps. Your counter keeps the rep count and range of motion legit and also frees your mind to concentrate on just the physicality of the WOD. We’ve all probably lost count during a WOD and it can be a lot to ask to have your mind counting and your body performing simultaneously.
Sometimes that count can even betray you by influencing you to move too quickly or too slowly depending on how much time is on that clock. There are definite advantages to picking up the pace with only a few seconds left to go if you have a particular number in mind. Adversely I know every one of us has stopped short with time left on the clock because we reached our goal or feel like we did enough. I can tell you from experience that sometimes just one rep can mean the difference between many ranks especially in the case of Sectionals with over 100000 CrossFitters in the world signed up.
However you find works best for you always go in with some type of plan or strategy for your pacing. Knowing the opportune times to settle in slow it down or sprint it out could make a huge difference in your performance and help you shatter walls and bound over plateaus!
All Levels CrossFit
Level 1 CrossFi
| A. OH Squat 5X3 @ (BW=Bodyweight)
55% BW 70% BW 85% BW 100% BW 115% BW
A2. 15 second AMRAP DU’s (After first 4 squat sets only)
A3. 20 second AMRAP Ring Dips (After first 4 squat sets only)
Rest 90 seconds
Rank all three movements from weakest to strongest as follows:
| A. OH Squats
|B1. 4 minute AMRAP of:
Rest 4 minutes
Rest 3 minutes
|C1. 4 minute AMRAP