Step 1: Sign up for the 2015 Open
In past years many athletes have ‘done’ the Open without actually signing up for it. They’ll just perform the workouts as they would for any other WOD of the week.
By signing up for the Open, you’re making a commitment for the quality of your performances and that you will see the Open through to the end (many athletes who don’t register for the Open often miss Open workouts). Posting your scores online adds an added level of accountability; if you miss one of the Open workouts the other athletes at the box will be able to see that. Furthermore, by posting your scores online the 2015 Open can serve as a journal in the months/years to come. You can look back at your performances and measure your progress—when and if you do decide to repeat 15.1, 15.2, etc.
Step 2: Plan Accordingly
Now that you’ve signed up for the Open, you need to figure out the logistics. When do you want to perform the workouts? The day they’re announced (every Thursday starting February 26th!)? Over the weekend? In the morning or the afternoon? Where are you going to do the workout? At your box or your home gym (we recommend your box—see below)? Do you want to do the Open WOD as part of a class, on your own or with your workout buddy/rival? Who do you want to judge you—and who do you want to be in attendance to watch you suffer? These are all factors you need to take into consideration, and it will take some coordination with your coaches and fellow athletes to make sure everything is in place.
Step 3: Do your research
Make sure you watch the live announcement of 15.1. If you weren’t already excited about the Open in the days and hours leading up to the first workout of the 2015 CrossFit Games season, watching Dave Castro (Director of the CrossFit Games) rev up the crowd and drop a bomb of a workout on two Games athletes before they go head-to-head is sure to put you in the mood. In fact, watch all of the live announcements. Castro and the Games staff will typically throw in a few surprises during the course of the Open season, but they also serve as valuable research opportunities. Unless some very enthusiastic and creative athletes have got all manner of equipment ready to go as soon as the workout is announced, the athletes you see in the live announcement will be the first in the world to perform it. This means you’ll be able to see what works and what doesn’t—if they employ a certain technique or a unique transition, what rep sequence they use, their pacing, etc.
But don’t rely on the live announcement as your sole source of research. Watch other athletes perform the workout online and at your box. Read what the elite athletes and coaches have to say about it, and use all of this information to build your battle plans.
Step 4: Have a workout strategy before 3,2,1, GO!
Once you’ve done your research on the workout and accumulated a good amount of notes, it’s time to build your strategy. There are a few key things that you should have in your head before the clock starts ticking:
A target score or time for the workout
A rep scheme to allow for rest periods
A plan for your pace in the workout. Which movements can you do quickly and which will take more time?
Transition times. Will you move quickly from station to station or program in rest?
Efficiency tips for the workout. In 14.3 last year (an ascending ladder of deadlifts and box jumps) many athletes purposefully elected to do box step-ups and step-downs to save their posterior chain for the deadlifts, and were able to post higher scores than those who did box jumps.
Step 5: Commit to being a dedicated athlete for the entirety of the Open
The last thing you need to do before you execute the first rep of 15.1 is commit to making this Open season your best yet. All too often athletes will say that they’re not going to drink or eat sugar for the five weeks of the competition, but they usually fall off track. Of course, saying you’re going to do something and actually doing it are two very different things. But the Open provides you with an opportunity to try. Five weeks may seem a like a long time, but in the grand scheme of things it really isn’t. Endeavor to eat well, to cut out alcohol, to do mobility work every day, to get a full eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, to prioritize recovery and to put your absolute heart and soul into the Open workout when the time comes. You don’t have to commit to these things for the rest of the year, but I guarantee you that after staying dedicated for the five weeks of the Open you’ll notice a significant change in your physical appearance and performance. As a result, you may just decide to commit to making some of these beyond the Open season.
Step 6: Do the workout at an affiliate
Extenuating circumstances may force you to do the workout on your own at home or at a globo gym (shudder), but you should make it a condition of your Open experience that you do every workout at an affiliate—even if it’s not your home box. You can’t replicate the atmosphere of a gym full of people cheering you on when you’re working out alone in your garage, and it’s nigh on impossible to find the same motivation as you can at the box. After all, surrounding yourself with the CrossFit community is the whole point of the Open in the first place! Sure, you can do the Open and register your scores on your own—but you won’t have as much fun doing it, and your scores will likely be a lot lower than had you struggled through the workouts in the walls of your affiliate.
Step 7: Do each workout once
Yes, there may be occasions when multiple attempts at the Open workouts are warranted—ripped hands, a stumble that cost you some time, etc.—but aim to do each WOD only once. Why? If you know you only have one shot at posting your best possible score, that workout becomes that much more significant. You’re going to bust your ass to put up the best time you possibly can and be happy that you’ll never have to do it again. In addition, just because it’s Open season that doesn’t mean you should forgo your weekly workouts. You shouldn’t plan to do an Open WOD multiple times from the day it’s released (Thursday) until the submission deadline at 5 p.m. Pacific Time the following Monday. You’ll be spent, you probably won’t get a better score than your original attempt, and you won’t enjoy the process. That means that your regular training will suffer as a result, and you won’t be progressing as an athlete. Remember, the whole point of doing CrossFit is to become a fitter, healthier individual. The Open is a great part of the CrossFit experience, but it shouldn’t deter you from those overarching goals.
Step 8: Celebrate
Plan to have mini-celebrations after each successfully completed Open WOD. This doesn’t mean that you chug a six-pack and chow down on a pizza—save that for the end of the Open. Simply celebrate with your fellow athletes who have also completed the workout. Discuss what made it fun/awful, compare your scores and congratulate one another—but more importantly, congratulate yourself. Head home and fix yourself a nice (healthy) meal, and relax knowing that you gave the workout your best shot and more. Now, when the Open finally ends on March 30th, you can start to contemplate all manner of sins that you’ll get indulge in as a reward. Just make sure you return to your box and your regular workouts in one piece.
Photo courtesy of CrossFit Inc.