It's the final week of the 2017 Open at Arena Ready, and our final Saturday Open WOD brings us two movements that most of us saw coming - thrusters and double unders!
Like we say every week - whether you're officially signed-up for the Open and will be competing on Saturday (Or Sunday), or you're just doing the workouts for fun & fitness (and to be a part of the Open energy at AR) please watch the 17.5 standards video (I have re-posted it above) and read the workout details here on the CrossFit Games website. Due to the "time priority" nature of this workout (i.e. it's "For Time" and not an AMRAP where the time is set) AND the 40 time cap, it's important that everyone completing and judging the workout are familiar with all of the standards in advance. Since we cannot run this workout in heats the way we've done with other workouts - and instead will have rolling stations for athletes to slot-in once a station is open - we cannot brief athletes and judges regularly throughout the day. SO PLEASE KNOW THE STANDARDS BEFORE YOU COME IN TO THE GYM, BOTH AS AN ATHLETE AND A JUDGE. Thank you.
Oh, and if you're entered in the Open and plan on taking the entire 40 minute cap you may want to bring a small thank you gift for your judge. Just a thought.
Now, some logistics and then a little strategy...
For some this will be the longest Open workout of 2017, as the official time cap is 40 minutes. For those who are not officially entered in the Open, we will enforce a 25-minute time cap, which let's be honest, is even longer than I would give you if I were to program this WOD for class. Based on the (traditionally) Rx athletes that completed the workout on Thursday evening, 25 minutes is enough time to finish if you are competent with both movements. Additionally, if you are NOT officially entered in the Open I would plan on NOT being judged, as I think it's a lot to ask of someone to count your reps for 25 minutes. Whether you're entered in the Open or not (and whether doing the workout Rx or Scaled), if your performance and movement deteriorates to the point of unsafe levels WE WILL CUT YOU OFF regardless of what the clock says. Sorry I'm not sorry. Letting someone continue on past the point of exhaustion and safe movement, particularly with these two movements, is just plain dumb. I don't think our athletes need that warning but it makes me feel better to write it out and to say it out loud if needed.
As stated above we will run on-going "rolling" stations instead of group heats. The judges for each station can document the start time on the gym's running clock(s) for their athlete, and we'll use two clocks to prevent anyone getting "timed out" when either clock hits 99:59. We will run stations of the workout during all Saturday morning classes, and if you haven't signed-up for a class please do so now, and expect to do the workout and judge one station/athlete within that hour-ish (I say "ish" because a workout like this one can run late if lots of athletes end up using most or all of the time cap). Plan on showing up 10-15 minutes early for class so you can get yourself mobilized and primed, and so that you can sign-up on the rolling station list on the whiteboard.
Per our SOP we'll stage AR North with warm-up rowers, PVC, foam rollers, lacrosse balls, etc. so you can all throw your stuff in there (to keep the AR South gym floor open for athletes and judges) and start getting your mind right and your body ready with a thorough warm-up. We've detailed a suggested, self-directed warm-up on the board in AR North, and you're welcome to follow that or do your own warm-up to get yourself ready to go.
Second, some thoughts on strategy:
There's actually not a lot to it this week, folks. Some sources have over-complicated the strategy element of this workout to the point where I think they're just making up rhetoric in an effort to sound like an authority on the topic. All the "split time" spreadsheets and "how to shorten the range of motion" suggestions are mostly nonsense, because the fact of the matter is you can pick any pace or splits that you like - the key is CAN YOU HOLD THAT PACE FOR 10 ROUNDS? I could very easily say "Oh, you want to run a 4-minute mile? Well that's easy, you just have to pace it correctly. Run each 400m lap in just under 1 minute. There you go... easy. Have fun and thank me later."
1) Shocker..... pacing is key.
10 rounds of ANYTHING requires pacing. Smooth and steady is fast. Smooth and steady is fast. Smooth and steady is fast. Trying to go out hot is a recipe for disaster. Some of you saw two of the "Fittest on Earth" do the workout live on Thursday evening, and it may have skewed your impression of what you thought was possible - you have to know yourself, be honest with where your fitness level currently is (and how proficient you are with these two movements), and set a pace accordingly. Pace it smooth and steady early on, and don't let the feeling of rounds 1 through 5 fool you into thinking it will feel that same way in rounds 6 through 10.
The nice thing about 10 rounds is it makes the math and conceptual approach easy - if you use the 80/20 rule (go at 80% effort for 80% of the workout, and then step on the gas for the last 20%) you'll be steady and relaxed (but moving with a "sense of urgency") through round 8, and then you'll leave it all out there in rounds 9 and 10. For example, if your completion goal is 15 minutes this means one round every 1:30, and if you feel good at 12:00 then go like hell to beat your goal time. If, by chance, you look at the clock after 4 rounds and you're at 4 or 5-ish minutes (which many of you are capable of for 4 rounds) then expect that you'll soon feel like someone punched you in the face and breadbasket simultaneously with brass knuckles - and for a lot of us there's no coming back from that.
Is your goal 20 minutes? Then the above applies at a "1 round every 2:00" pace. 30 minutes? Then it's 1 round every 3:00. You get the point. The longer your goal time is (e.g. those of you shooting for 20+ or 25+ minutes) the more you can fudge the early rounds and start just a bit faster (think roughly 10% or so faster), with the assumption that fatigue will eventually slow each successive round regardless, and you'll be glad you started just a bit ahead of your goal pace.
So, pick a pace that's reasonable based on the fact that:
A) 9 thrusters unbroken at a decent tempo + 35 double unders unbroken + non-rushed transition time between movements = approximately 45 to 50 seconds for "very fit non-professional CrossFit athletes who are gainfully employed and cannot work out seven times a day" AKA Rx/Black level "every day" people that are good at both movements.
B) Most (if not all) of us without Regionals aspirations cannot hold that same pace listed above in "A" past a handful of rounds (think "how long could I do 9 and 35 if we were doing it in an EMOM workout?" and be HONEST with yourself).
C) Breaking up the movements into sets will add significant time to each round, so if you're not planning on going "unbroken" through most of the rounds then start building your pace/splits/goal time on the basis that you'll have to break up the movements in the second half of the workout anyway.
D) It's much easier to speed up in the second half of the workout if you feel good and realize that you're capable of something faster than your original plan than it is to try and hold on for dear life because you started out way too fast and only learned about it when previously mentioned brass knuckes smack you in the windpipe.
Breaking up the thrusters into sets is a matter of specific athlete ability. There are a few of you that shouldn't put the bar down at all, many of you that will benefit from 2 sets (5 and 4, or 6 and 3), and some who will need to split it up into smaller sets (4s or 3s or 2s) early and often. You need to know yourself as an athlete and do what it takes to keep the engine under the redline. A good rule of thumb is "no strained reps for as long as possible" - meaning if you feel like you'll need to really gather yourself to stand up the squat or press out the top of the rep, or the speed of the reps is noticeably slowing, then put it down before the next one.
The topic of breaking up the double unders is a simple one for most of us. If you're good at them DON'T BREAK THEM UP - 35 is a small enough number that breaking them is unnecessary, and you should instead be using the transition time between movements as an opportunity to build-in "rest" if needed. If you're not good at DUs then you're going to be missing anyway so just try your best to relax, stay calm, and get as many "runs" of consistent reps as you can. There's a lot of time under the cap and keeping your cool is a big part of fighting through the frustration of DU misses.
2) Warm-up all the movements but don't go crazy.
You want to get some aerobic work in so the workout is not a shock to the body, but no need to "do the workout before doing the workout." Get the heart rate up, get a little sweat going if that works for you, do a little "heart rate wake-up burst" or two near the end of your warm-up, and then let it come down a bit before you start (all of this is already detailed in the warm-up we wrote on the board). Beyond that, and some focused mobility and movement prep, you don't need much else. This is not the time to make up for lost technique or skill work (particularly for double unders), lest you end up doing half of the workout before you even start the workout. Your calves, feet, shins, and Achilles can only take so much in one day, friends!
Speaking of mobility and dynamic movement prep...
3) Hips, Shoulder Girdle, Wrists, Calves/Feet/Achilles, and Upper Pecs.
Get these bad boys ready. You know what your body needs to get blood the pumping and your tissues unglued. We've written some suggested mobility and movement prep items on the warm-up board, but feel free to do the ones you like to make sure you're good to go. Your hips (and ankles too) need to be ready for the bottom position of the thruster, and your shoulders need to be ready for the overhead piece of the thruster. And, obviously, 350 double unders is a lot - particularly if you're not great at the movement - so prepare for the impact as best you can (and for those prone to lower extremity issues you may want to set your own "personal time cap" as a responsible way to keep yourself out of the zone of "crap, I should've been smarter and stopped before I aggravated my connective tissue issues").
4) Weightlifting shoes only help if you can do 350 double unders in them comfortably and without pain or risk of aggravating something. In other words, for most of us it's not worth it.
I know they make thrusters easier, duh. But this is a lot of jumping and those suckers have no padding and very little give, so for most of us putting them on to jump this many times is a no go. Be smart and take care of your feet/ankles/shins/etc. - maybe just do some extra ankle mobility instead?
5) Embrace the suck.
This is supposed to be hard. That's exactly why you do it. If it were easy it wouldn't be worth doing. So when your pacing strategy gets you through the first 4, 5, or 6 rounds unscathed, and then the suck factor sets in and lets you know that the rest of the workout is going be uncomfortable, try to remember that this is exactly where you want to be... exactly where you knew you would be. Embrace it. Get comfortable with uncomfortable. This is what makes you better. This is why you're here... be smart, try hard, and channel that badass athlete that lives inside you.
WOD FOR 03-25-17:
10 Rounds For Time (40 Minute Time Cap):
9 Thrusters @ 95/65 lbs (SCALED = 65/45 lbs)
35 Double Unders (SCALED = Single Unders)