Diaries of a Coach 018 || Lessons from 18.1

After barely enduring last year’s first open workout, last week had my mind racing with the anticipation of 18.1. Would it make 17.1 look easy? Would they ease us in gently? What movements, what modalities, what weight selections are we talking? All the questions and no answers until Thursday at 7pm.


Unfortunately, when the workout was released last Thursday evening, life was happening and there was way too much on my mind to give it a second thought, so I didn’t. Life outside of CrossFit… what?!?!


But once I had time to process, I was actually pretty excited. Rowing, I’m all over it. Dumbbell, yes please. But 20 minutes? No freakin’ thanks.

My fears were immediately dialed in to the significant (self-perceived) regression in my conditioning over the last ten weeks. Unfortunately, when it comes to training, there are often seasons where we focus on technique, one or a few specific movements, or on various weaknesses, to the neglect of others. For me, the past few months have been consistent work and dedication to my Olympic lifts (plug for Dylan and his Olympic lifting class… that’s where it’s at y’all!) and I was simply afraid I wouldn’t be able to hack it.


While I am proud to say I recently hit a PR on my snatch, the truth of the matter is that I’m used to sets of 1-3 reps, with more than adequate rest before the next. Gains in strength and technique have surely been to the detriment of my cardiovascular endurance, or so I thought.


However, and here’s the lesson, a lesson that actually took me by surprise… the loss was well worth the gain. Maybe it was partly mental stamina, but whatever the explanation, I was able to keep a fairly consistent and moderately fast pace throughout. For 20 minutes. Turns out that my body knew it was capable of that duration of conditioning, so when the time came, it performed within that capability. Regardless of the time that had passed.


Part of me has always feared narrowing my focus in training, thinking I would surely sacrifice my strengths in order to work on weaknesses. Which I just haven’t been willing to do. I’m sure to some degree, there is some truth to that. However, the strength and technique gains I have seen have been well worth the time, the effort and any slight dip in my conditioning and a few other skills and movements. I’m willing to account for that loss in order to now take huge steps forward with Olympic lifts.


While the Open is a great time to push yourself and test your fitness, it is also the perfect time to explore your opportunities for growth. Don’t get discouraged, get encouraged to develop those areas!

So with that, let me encourage you as we continue on in these Open workouts. Admit the weaknesses and then do what needs to be done to commit to working on those post-Open.


Coach E