The open is almost upon us again.
Cue Eminem music…
"look... if you had.... 1 shot....1 opportunity…..to seize everything you ever wanted... in 1 moment.... would you capture it...… or would you sandbag that shit and re-do it on Monday?"
Firstly this is JUST an opinion piece, if you don't agree with it THAT'S OK. I hope that you might at least find it thought-provoking in some way.
Every year people do the open, and every year we undoubtedly have people re-do the wods, and why? Well, at the top end, it can end up being the difference between qualifying and not qualifying, sponsorship or no sponsorship, ultimately paycheck or no paycheck. At the grassroots level, however, we see so many people redo the workout, in some cases for all five weeks. But here's the problem...
1) There's an increased risk of injury:
Each of these tests is supposed to be a max effort, a full gut-wrenching, fran-lung-inducing, blood-capillary-bursting max effort. If you find yourself thinking "hmmm I really would like to give that another crack" then you probably haven't gone that far into the pain cave, if you've given a full max effort you should find yourself sore and spent and DONE.
Recovery from a full max effort on any given workout can take 1-3 days, sometimes more if you really got after it. Let's say you run through the wod on Friday to get an idea of pacing; you hit 10 rounds, then you repeat on the Monday at full speed and get 11 rounds, awesome right? Well maybe, but let's think about this, you got 11 rounds while still in the semi fatigued state that the first run through created, imagine if you'd just went max effort the first time - fresh as a daisy? Maybe you had 11 and a half or even 12 rounds?
Ultimately the open wods are hard, high-rep, and done at high intensity, a perfect storm for muscle breakdown and soreness. Is it worth the increased risk of injury? "But the pro's do it..." I hear you say. Yes, they do. However, they also do hours upon hours of recovery work, have perfect nutrition, a swag of health professionals keeping their bodies running right, not to mention most of them do it full time, they don't have regular jobs and likely sleep 9 hours every night. It's a far cry from your average local CrossFitter.
2) I don't think it is in the spirit of the sport:
CrossFit head judge Adrian Bozman said it best "if a guy bombs at a weightlifting meet, but he COULD have lifted it, should he be recognised as the strongest lifter there? No, he has actually to lift it". Part of the test of fitness is the aspect of "readiness" and "walking the walk". I'm not talking just theoretical capacity but the actual ability to execute at a given time. Imagine doing a school exam or a big job interview and knowing the exact questions you were going to be asked, and you could study the answers to those questions and nail the exam/interview.....but is that the point? No, the point is to see how prepared you were before you knew what you were facing, not how you perform once you know the answers.
3) It doesn't build your ability to deliver on the day:
Whether it be a local comp, sanctioned event or the games, ain't nobody giving you a second shot at a work out just because you weren't prepared. The famous Rich Froning "rope incident" in which he lost the championship in the dying moments of the 2010 CrossFit games because he wasn't prepared to climb a rope fatigued is a perfect example. Graham Holmberg won that year because ultimately he was better prepared going in, he had obviously trained his rope climbs under fatigue, at least more than Rich had.
4) It wastes the time of the box owner/coach/volunteer who donated their time to judge you.
If you are purely an athlete you probably wouldn't see how much goes on behind the scenes, for those of you who are coaches or are involved in running the open at your box you will understand just how time and effort consuming it is, it’s dozens of heats, hours on end, logistics of equipment and scaling options, warm-up areas, scorecards and score validation, not to mention managing people's emotions and egos.....it adds up.
By redoing the wod for a second (or god forbid a third) time you are wasting their time, especially if its someone volunteering, they've given up their time out of the goodness of their heart for you to do the wod and log a score.....don't throw it back in their face.
5) It screws up the rest of your training week.
Now, as I mentioned earlier, each test should be everything you've got.... "full send" as the great Mat Fraser would say. Let's say you do the open wod on Friday; chances are you will be sore (at bare minimum fatigued to the point of reduced performance) for the next few days. If you decide to redo you're now going to punch a hole in your next week's training disrupting how well conditioned you can keep yourself for the entirety or the 5 weeks. You'll find you have better success by doing the following:
FRI - max-effort open wod
SAT - light recovery session
SUN - off day
MON - standard training
TUE - standard training OR rest day
WED - standard training
THU - light recovery day
FRI - (next open wod)
As opposed to....
FRI - max-effort open wod
SAT - normal session
SUN - off day
MON - max-effort redo
TUE - struggle-town
WED - struggle-town
THU - exhausted/forced rest day
FRI - (next open wod)
REASONS TO RE-DO
1) Equipment failure - rower screen shuts off because the batteries died, barbell breaks (yes I have seen it happen), wallball splits, and the stuffing comes out, skipping rope breaks, shoelaces snap, camera shuts down.
2) An incident occurs - 3mins into a workout and an athlete takes a wallball to the nose, or a barbell to the head, or goes out too hard and gets sick/dizzy, or shins themselves on a box, or severe hand tear.
3) Judge failure - the judge is caught napping and loses count, or isn't familiar with the particulars of each movement and hands out a bunch of false no-reps, or doesn't log a score/time/tie-break.
4) It is going to tip you over the edge of a qualifying spot - for the top end athletes pushing to qualify, they might be sitting "on the bubble" and need to re-attempt to push them over the line. I'm still not a fan of this, but I understand this is some peoples careers and there's more at stake. I believe that you shouldn't need a redo if you go 100% in the first place. If you put up 10 rounds and some else puts up 10 and a half, then they are just better than you, if you redo and suddenly pull 11 rounds out of your hat than you didn't go all in the first time.
Ultimately this is just one opinion, and you can go out and do whatever you please, but I would love to see a day come when the "one-and-done" is the way to go. The wods test the 10 general physical skills, but hitting the wod ONE time tests your ability to plan, pace, and execute, and I respect that way more.
The Ox Box Crew