Whether you’ve been CrossFitting for a week, a month or a year, by now, you should have all heard coaches and athletes talking about strategy, the tactics and game plan behind a workout. For me, strategy is crucial and whether you’re aware of it or not you all strategise. It could be as simple as ‘I’m going to aim to do the first set unbroken and then take it from there’ or as complex as mapping out each set, where you’ll break and for how long.
So why is strategising important? First off, it makes us a little safer. Knowing how to approach a workout invariably away from the red zone for as long as possible. We’ve all gone out a little too hard on the rower and paid the price later on in a WOD.
The second reason it’s important is because it boosts performance. Whether it helps us go faster or lift more, the end result is a positive one, which leads to progress with our training.
The third relates to our mental state. Strategising or talking tactics puts us in a place of concentration during the moments leading up to that third beep on the clock. Spending just a few seconds or minutes pre-WOD to really think about what we’re doing ensures we’re mentally prepared and can allay nerves and fears.
So…what does it take to create a good strategy? The answer is simple: Knowledge.
We’re all aware that knowing and recording our 1 and 3 rep maxes and personal bests is important. Most of us do this well and lets face it, it’s pretty easy, quick and simple to do. However, this doesn’t help us too much when it comes to our game plan for ‘Jackie’. The knowledge I’m referring to takes much longer to acquire and takes a decent amount of commitment to achieve. Let me put it this way. How many of us know exactly how many wall balls we can do unbroken before we start to feel the lactate hit our legs? Or before we have to put it down? How many of us know exactly how many sets of five toes-to-bar we can do unbroken before we have to drop to fours? Or singles? And how much rest do we need in between to keep that up? The point I’m trying to make is that every single workout we do is a chance for us to acquire more knowledge. It’s not a case of waiting for the next benchmark WOD to start picking up experience. It’s about gleaning a single piece of information from each workout and committing that to memory. Whether it’s on paper, an app or a document on your phone. It’s all data collection. I guarantee that the guys and girls that are doing this the best in the gym, are the ones making the biggest strides forward in their training.
So next time you step up to a WOD take note of how you’re feeling and try to take out just a single piece of information from it. Then record it. Experience alone is nothing if you don’t take the steps necessary to learn from it. That’s what creates knowledge. And in this situation, knowledge is very much power!