A couple weeks back JB posted a great piece on aerobic capacity and how as CrossFitters we could benefit from improving our aerobic capacity. One of the factors that would contribute to improving our aerobic capacity is working on our ability to pace workouts. This post will be geared more towards the workouts that are on the longer side, so 15+ minutes (like the one we have coking up on Friday), but the strategies discussed can still be utilized in shorter workouts as well.
Go Slow….To Go Fast!!
I know I am as guilty as they come when it comes to bad pacing in workouts. As soon as I hear 3,2,1,…GO! I slam my foot down on the gas. Sound familiar? People tend to do this especially when the weight is light or the movement is one of their strengths. If this is generally how you attack all workouts you could benefit a lot from going with a slower pace right from the very start of the workout. For example instead of smashing out 21 deadlifts as fast as you can at the start of a 20 minute workout, take some time to set up, think about your technique, be conscious of your breathing, and maybe even break up the deadlifts even though you don’t necessarily have to. You will find that you are able to sustain a methodical, consistent pace much longer than you would a wild, hasty pace. A perfect example of a master pacer is Rich Froning, especially during his 100’s workout at the 2013 regionals. As simple as it sounds it can be extremely beneficial in improving our ability to have better workouts.
Another helpful tip is to focus on your breathing during not only the times you rest, but also while performing movements. An example would be you do a set of 10 power cleans at a moderate to light weight, you drop the bar and you feel your heart rate shoot up about 30 beats per minute. You think to yourself this isn’t that heavy why is my heart rate escalating? Okay the 30 bpm might have been an exaggeration, but the main point is you probably could have been more conscious about your breathing. In order to stay efficient, we need to be breathing properly from start to finish in the workout. Some examples are on the barbell movements you might take an extra breath at the top of a clean or front squat. For the bodyweight movements (i.e. burpees or box jumps) make sure you are cognizant of your breathing as you move from rep to rep. Proper breathing can help you keep you heart rate down and sustain a better pace for a better workout.
Stay in Your Lane!!
Whenever you are doing a workout in a class setting you always have to remember it is YOUR workout, therefore you need to stay within YOUR pace. You have a good idea of what your strengths and weaknesses are so play to those. Don’t try and copy someone else’s pace rep for rep because you most likely need a different pace than them. What may work well for someone else may not work well for you and vice versa. Try to come up with a game plan or talk to a coach to give you some advice then formulate what you think is the best way to attack the workout. That being said you can also auto regulate the workout if you feel like your current strategy is not working. For example, lets say there are 30 front squats in the start of a workout, and you plan to go two sets of 15. You get the first set done and you feel like that was tough and doing another set of 15 would be very challenging. You can auto regulate and decide to do a set of 8 and a set of 7. Now instead of jacking your heart rate you have allowed yourself to get the work done in a more efficient manor and can now attack the rest of the workout at a much better pace. Just remember you are here to better yourself and no one else so try and compete with yourself every single day to be a better you.