The CrossFit Games season always brings a surge in everyday CrossFit athletes’ desire to “compete”. And why not? It’s exhilarating….so much more so than the daily WOD. More pressure. More at stake. And it’s a whole day (or two day) event! Bring on the weekend and bring on the competitions!
The week before your competition…
…you’ll want to practice the WODs (if you know them). Just because you know the WODs for the comp doesn’t mean you should do them twice a day every day leading up to it. Rookie mistake! The CrossFit model trains us for the unknown and unknowable, so stick to your normal training. Over-emphasizing a workout could make you perform worse at competition time.
- 5 days out (usually a Monday), train in your usual program.
- 4 days out (Tuesday) same as Monday but based not the WOD, perhaps 1/2 or 3/4 of the volume/reps. Don’t blow it out and risk injury or extreme soreness.
- 2 and 3 days out (Wednesday and Thursday), start to taper down – active rest. Keep the blood flowing, maybe work some skills or just a few maintenance rounds of bodyweight movements. Light barbells only.
- The day before your comp, mobilize, do a little cardio (keep the blood flowing)
- Alternatively, don’t wait too long to start “preparing” for competitions. If you are going to sign up for a competition you need to consider several things WELL BEFORE the week prior to the competition. For example: how to eat, how to sleep, what your max lifts are, how to recover in between your WODs, and what it feels like to do a MAX EFFORT lift right before or right after a full out metcon. These are all things that matter in competition time. Waiting until the wods are released to do ALL of that is very stressful on the body and mind and almost always means you are over-training RIGHT before your competition.
- The day of the competition, use the warm up areas to be sure your heart rate is up and you’ve lifted a little prior to your WODs. Warm, primed muscles perform better than cold ones.
Extra everything: ropes, tape, grips, clothing, undergarments (things happen).
Everything you need for warm ups should be considered as well: PVC pipe, foam roller, LAX ball.
Tent, chairs, hat…create a home base for the day. Coolers with food and plenty of water.
Prepare for injures: Ice packs, ibuprofen, ointments/linaments, ace wraps, blister first aid.
Don’t change anything you’ve been doing prior to the comp. No new pre-workout supplements. Eat what you normally eat (pack it). Choose easily digestible foods. Take post workout food/supplements to refuel glycogen stores immediately afterwards (sugar, quick digesting carbohydrates, some protein, no fat).
Some athletes can eat a whole pizza in between WODs, and some can’t tolerate anything but protein shakes. Be sure you have ample time to digest whatever you do eat in between WODs, and consider floaters and other side events as well.
For two day competitions, beware of the Day 1 post competition binge – you might suffer on day two if you overdo it!
Negative self talk will be the end of your game. Know your weaknesses, prepare to deal with the outcome of them should they appear in the competition.
If you need to take a headset to get away from the crowds, do it. Bring your A-game, and that may mean removing some of the distractions from the day
Take cash for food or extra drinks if you happen to need them.
Sometimes the event charges for parking or entry. Usually athletes are free but guests/spectators may be charged for entry.
Event swag. There are almost always vendors and sponsors with tents selling their loot. Have some extra cash or credit card on hand in case you need a shopping break!
Full range of motion
Use good technique. We all notice poor technique – it wreaks of a poorly coached box.
Be on time for your heat and know the WOD/rep scheme
Depending on the competition, your judge may offer to help you, or not. You should know the movements, order of the movements and reps.
Know the standards
Watch the videos and read what the competition lists as movement standards. If you don’t understand something, inquire – ask. There’s almost always an athlete briefing prior the start of the competition. If you’re unsure of a movement standard, demonstrate the movement for your judge and ask them to confirm what you are doing is satisfactory.
If you’re competing as a team versus as an individual, be a good teammate
Communicate with your teammates; pump them up (as they will do for you)! Good teams are in constant communication and are building each other up. There’s no “I” in Team. If you hear that a lot, find another team.
Don’t yell at your judge
They’re almost always volunteers. Ask questions on how they based their decision. If you aren’t happy, go to the head judge, but again, be reasonable. You won’t do anyone any good yelling at your judge (plus it’s a bit sophmoric, juvenile, immature).
Choose the right division
We all have dreams of being “elite”, but if the RX or elite standards are “just slightly beyond your daily working loads”, then opt down a division. While it is ideal to train with those better than you, you also want to compete within your abilities.
However, if you typically RX the WODs at your box, you certainly don’t want to sign up for a scaled division.
Either way, it becomes blatantly evident when someone is in the wrong division…don’t be “one of those people”.
Probably most importantly, have a good time! CrossFit is a pack-sport. Your community will come out to support you. Your coaches will be there. Your friends and family will be in awe of what you can do. You’ll be proud of yourself and proud of your box…keep it a positive day!
Thanks to Coach Paul for contributing to this post.