The Secret to 17.1

December 12, 2017

Mike Warkentin

Prepare now. 

You probably wouldn’t run for the toilet if I told you today’s workout was a 4-round couplet of rowing and thrusters.

You’d just grab a barbell and a rower and start warming up.

But what if I told you Games Director Dave Castro will announce a couplet of rowing and thrusters on Feb. 23?

Don’t worry—I can wait until you return from the bathroom before we keep going. I can also wait until you madly hit refresh on the Workouts section of this website. And I can wait until you check Instagram for tips videos from all the strategy kings and queens. I can even wait until you’re done ordering new knee sleeves and texting your buddies.

Now that we’re all calm again, I’ll tell you the best way to prevent panic on Feb. 23: Prepare now.

You have just over five weeks to do so, and I have a perfect plan to ensure you’re ready to go when Castro drops the first bomb of the 2017 competition season. The plan involves very regular doses of constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity, preferably in the company of a coach and a few friends.

For the next five weeks, it’s time to add a bit of purpose to your training. It’s time to try an unbroken set. It’s time to pick up the bar one second sooner and do one more rep before dropping it. It’s time to spend some extra time doing the gymnastics progressions your coach has been nagging you to do since the 2016 Open. Do more flexibility training. Dial in your diet. Drink less. Sleep more.

In short, do all the things that will ensure you don’t have to worry when 17.1 comes down the pipe. You want to hear the announcement and know that you’ve done everything possible to prepare. No panic, no fear, no regrets. You might make a trip to the bathroom out of habit, but you’ll be walking with easy confidence rather than running awkwardly.

One of the worst feelings in CrossFit comes when a competition workout is announced and you can’t do a movement you’ve been avoiding. When this happens, athletes inevitably spend the next days madly working for a breakthrough, only to find their palms torn to shreds when they actually perform the workout.

But what if you spent the next five weeks practicing things you struggle with? What if you booked a coach to help you make some real progress on toes-to-bars or muscle-ups? What if you did a few movements you never do?

What if you pushed yourself 2 percent out of your comfort zone in your next workout? What if you didn’t game the whiteboard but just gave 100 percent? What if you didn’t count the wall-ball shot that didn’t hit the line?

If you did all that, I’d suggest you could feel very confident indeed on Feb. 23. You’ll be as prepared as you can be for whatever Castro announces, and you can rest easy knowing you’ve trained hard.

You can still expect a few nerves. That’s a natural part of competition.

But you won’t be panicked, and when a friend sprints for the toilet with a look of fear in her eyes, you can sit back and feel glad that you did all those muscle-up progressions back in January.