My last post looked at what to do during the final week(s) before in order to prepare. For this one I want to look at and some things to do/keep in mind during the actual competition in order to make it as successful (and enjoyable) as possible.
1. Pack Food & Water (and lots of both)
Large competitions, usually have some sort of food available (food vendors etc); however, I highly recommend that you bring a bag full of snacks & ‘goodies’ to get you through the day. Competitions are extremely draining (both mentally and physically) and you need make keeping yourself well fuelled a top priority.
As far as hydration goes, make you’re drinking water throughout the day (even if you don’t feel thirsty) and the easiest way to do this is make sure you always have a water bottle with you. It only takes a dehydration of 1-2% body weight for our performance to start declining and past 3% we start increase our risk getting heat cramps, heat exhaustion, fatigue) increases greatly (1).
2. Warm-up (and Cool-down) properly for every WOD
Warm-ups may not be the most exciting part of training/competing but they are just as important as the actual workout. I know it can be tempting to skip/shorten your warm-up (especially when there are multiple WODs in a day) but if you want to avoid injury, perform your best and survive the weekend…don’t.
And the same goes for a cool-downs. Even if the workout wasn’t that bad…
“do I really need to cool down/stretch out after that”
… or if it was really bad…
“I can’t even stand the thought of getting on a Rower to ‘flush out’ my legs right now”
...suck it up get on an Air Dyne/roll out/floss/whatever you need to do… it’s going to pay off in the long run.
3. Find a way to get some “down time”
The energy and excitement at competitions is incredible, its infections and love that atmosphere. However, it’s also draining and depending on the schedule you might be there all day (or at least for several hours); which is why its important to ‘escape’ and get some down time between events.
Bring an iPod. Go for a walk. Take a nap. Whatever works for you.
Essentially, figure out something that will allow you to step back from all the excitement, calm your nerves and keep you from completely crashing before event 2 has even started.
4. One Workout at a Time
Now that all the workouts have been released, you can start planning how best to approach each one. But when it comes time to compete, just focus on them one at time (don’t worry about the “next one”) and you’ll get through.
5. If You Shit the Bed…Don’t Dwell on it.
Maybe it was on an event you expected to be a struggle or maybe it was a WOD you were sure were going to nail; either way once it’s over you can’t change it and dwelling on it will only make matters worse. Once the competition is over it might be worth “revisiting” it, figuring out what happened and trying to learn from the experience but for now just move one and get ready for the next event.
6. Have a Strategy
Going into a competition be familiar with your strengths & weaknesses so you can create a plan/strategy
where you will be able to make ‘make up ground’, and where you might need to take some extra time
BUT also keep in mind that things don’t always go as planned and be prepared to adapt as if things fall apart.
7. Don’t Stress about what Everyone Else is doing
Use the energy of those around you to push harder than you normally would but don’t let yourself caught up in what they’re doing. You know yourself better than anyone else and a good pace for whoever is beside you may not be a good pace for you.
8. Respect Your Judges
Be the kind of athlete that you would want to judge if the roles were reversed….
- Don’t try to “cheat reps”
- Don’t argue with or yell at your judge (If you don’t understand why you’re getting “no-repped” ask for clarification )
- Don’t throw or kick equipment
…essentially make their jobs (judging you) as easy as possible.
When you’re pushing yourself to your limits its easy to get frustrated/lose your tempers (especially if you don’t know what we’re doing wrong).
Losing your cool on the competition floor isn’t end of the world. But if it does happen make sure you talk to your judge afterwards, shake their hand/thank them and if necessary apologize.
It doesn’t matter if you’re the best or the worst athlete at a competition if you’re a dick to your judge it reflects poorly on you, your gym and the sport. And yes, the system isn’t perfect, judges make mistakes and sometimes reps are withheld when they shouldn’t be. In the end however, its the judges’ call and the best way to avoid this situation is to make our reps as easy to judge as possible.
*If you truly feel as though you were unfairly judged, speak to the head judge after your heat finishes, off the competition floor.
And one Last Reminder…
…because I never seem to feel as though any post is complete without it…remember to smile, have fun and don’t take it too seriously.