In sports and CrossFit, whether you are a competitor or someone just looking to improve, the main focus should be on yourself, what you are doing, and how you are doing it. While this seems like an over-posted topic, it’s easy to get distracted on what other people are doing and obsessing about their scores, routine, etc. During competition, there is no doubt gamesmanship with strategies, studying your opponent, and having a general idea of where they are. But this knowledge can only do so much for you and while it may seem like an advantage, sometimes in competition, that subtle moment of external focus may be the difference between a win and a loss. I love the video above of Phelps edging out Le Clos, who was trying to showboat in front of him before the race and happened to look over at him right at the finish while Phelps stays laser focused.
In training, this is even more important. While it’s important to have a general idea of know what others are doing to keep up with the competition, you need to stay disciplined and level headed on your own progress. It’s tough not to compare your results to others who are in class or with your buddies, but when taken too far, sometimes these repetitive, seemingly harmless peeks at them add up and little by little you start questioning yourself, abilities, and wonder what’s wrong with you. You start adding more weight to that long list of stuff you don’t have yet and you get bummed even if you reach important, short term goals. At the end of it, you master very little, and you’re left burnt out. While seeing someone’s times or lifts may give you a general idea of how to pace a workout, a disadvantage of this is that it may give you false intel for you. It may be the incorrect pace to shoot for and may lead you to bonk early or leave stuff left on the table. There’s also a danger in obsessing over a top score in one small environment or group of buddies. The top score amongst your buddies or the gym may not be a true barometer for your potential. Over time, you may get complacent beating one person each week when you really could improve your time in each of those workouts by 1-2 minutes if you just focused on beating yourself. This is why keeping a you vs you mindset and learning and understanding your own pace and gameplan always wins.
A successful day of training is you improving upon something, even if it’s the most elementary or basic thing. As we always talk about acknowledging your “wins” for the year, you really should be doing this weekly. Ask yourself, what things went well this week, and what things need more work. Write them down each week. This will keep you focused on you.