by Geoff Rand
With the Bulldog Battle just days away, and several first-time competitors competing, I felt it would be appropriate to check in with two of CrossFit Frederick's veteran competitors, Jill and Tim, to see what they do to prepare for competition.
In the days leading up to an event, Tim likes to take it a bit easier in the gym and lightens up the load on his lifts, even limiting Friday to just mobility. He also strategizes. "Once the event WODS are posted I try and come up with a plan of attack for each. Things like, do I want to go all out from the start of the WOD, or do I want to take it a little easy at the start and then really try and finish the WOD strong? I base this on how well I think I perform the individual exercises in the event."
Tim and Jill had similar strategies for preparation. Neither chooses to practice the WODs much, if at all, except in cases where a particular movement is anticipated to give the athlete some difficulty or there is an unusual scoring scheme to an event. Jill recounted an event where one WOD included one minute of maximum reps of deadlifts. The score was your reps multiplied by the weight you lifted. By practicing the event ahead of time, she was able to determine if going heavy or a bit lighter with more reps would get her a higher score.
Both Tim and Jill sometimes choose to practice transitioning between exercises with partners if it is a team event. Things like getting on and off a rower smoothly can help you shave off a few seconds. Communication between partners is also important.
Just like we always warm up in the daily pre-WOD, competition should be no different. Jill stressed that warming up before you walk on the floor can be the difference between starting at a competition level versus starting out at a warm up level. Tim makes sure to warm up between WODs to keep loose throughout the day.
Jill stresses that keeping your body fueled throughout the day is key. "I prepare specific meals, balanced with protein and carbs and try not to eat anything sweet or unhealthy during the day. I do eat quite a bit and if I am feeling sluggish and tired between WODs, I find that eating a balanced meal really boosts my energy." Tim sometimes finds it difficult to eat right after a WOD, and he often has to force himself to have a shake or some cookies or fruit because the last thing you want is to down a bunch of food right before your next WOD comes up. And, as always, bring and drink plenty of water throughout the day.
For gear to bring, the athletes' list wasn't too long, but included things like a personal jump rope, weight belt, change of shirt, warmer clothes for in-between WODs, and lacrosse balls or a foam roller. I've also found that packing a folding camp chair is a good way to keep your spot claimed as space is always tight in the staging area, and having a comfortable place to rest between rounds beats sitting on the floor or ground.
You're going to be scored by judges unfamiliar with you. It will serve you well to exaggerate your movements. Lock those elbows out, squat and stand up fully and don't give the judges any reason to deny you that repetition. That wasted movement will cost you time and start to break your focus should it continue.
A CrossFit competition is truly a spectacle to behold. Soak in the atmosphere and harness the intensity. Let it motivate you to pull weight and work at a pace you thought was previously beyond your ability. Competition will expose your weaknesses, but it might also reveal some unknown strengths. Embrace the physical and mental challenges.
Above all, work hard and have fun.
Good luck to our athletes competing this weekend and if you're not competing, we hope you can come out and cheer them on in the inaugural Bulldog Battle.