Reflections after Rainhill Trials – Embracing Competitions as a Newbie by Coach Dan

I’ve recently realised that I have been setting a goal for myself to partake in a few competitions. Really I think I have set it as a goal every year for the past 5 years now, but due to a few unforeseen situations that have come up – unexpected injuries, unexpected relocations for projects with work outside of London, and a general lack of time to properly prepare and qualify for a comp. – I’ve ended each year coming up short for not being “ready” enough to really get after it.
This time around I have taken the year by the horns and so far have successfully taken up my status as a rookie competitor! Here’s some of the key learning’s I’ve taken away.

Each competition is really only as intimidating as you make it out to be

We psych ourselves out of things more than we realise on a day-to-day basis, and ESPECIALLY do it with regards to our physical abilities. Many people tend to struggle with even the idea of taking part in an individual competition because they think the rest of the field is way beyond them in ability. In my most recent events I even had the thought a few times that I wasn’t moving fast enough because the people in the next lane across were ahead of me in reps, only to discover in the end that I finished ahead of them because I kept to a steady pace and strategy that worked to suit my strengths and to bolster my weaknesses.
Let’s face it, CrossFit already has a reputation for being hard-core, intimidating and near impossible for most. If you’ve been doing It for a while though, I’m sure you’ll find that actually this hasn’t changed much, but you realise you’re slightly more capable with a few more things to work on for your development.
Key Takeaway – Focus on your own winning strategy that works for you and nobody else.

Not always about winning against the rest

Now of course we all inherently love to win, and of course most of us want that glorious moment standing atop the tallest podium winning all of the first place goodies, but sometimes winning is much simpler than that. We are usually put out of our comfort zone in the competition atmosphere, and it brings out a faster, stronger and more capable version of ourselves from within. Wining for you might be attempting a movement you never had before, and getting it for the first time in a workout you thought was impossible.
For me winning was achieving two key things: not ending the day in a last place position, and not leaving the day with more injuries than I came in with. Luckily I managed both with flying colours by keeping a cool head around pushing myself to the limit while keeping my composure intact (plus jumping from 54th /55th to 28th /55th overall is more than enough for me!)
Key Takeaway – Set your goals for each event, and accept your achievements as a baseline to drive your training in and out of classes going forward.

Focus on what motivates you in the first place

Whatever it is that drives you there in the first place it’s important to never lose sight of it, and to always try to have fun with it. Personally I love having the opportunity to challenge myself, and support others so they can push themselves beyond their own limitations. These moments that you share with the people that you know and even the ones you don’t know, are some of the best that can’t be mimicked in any other environment.
Key Takeaway – Have fun with it! Everyone is competing for their own personal reasons. Start somewhere with your aspirations and keep climbing onwards and upwards!

Where to start?

If you’re just starting to have thoughts about competition but don’t want to get out there and start busting out qualifiers left and right, we luckily have quite a few starter opportunities as a part of the community events at Thames!
1.The Interclass Throwdown is coming up in a week’s time and is a great event to get into the competitive spirit in a comfortable internal environment.

2. Get involved on the Thames Competitor’s group on Facebook! If there’s an event that you’re interested in doing, shout it out and see if you can get a following to go with you.

3. Ask your coaches for advice! We all have a slightly different background and our own personal experiences, so ask away and we can point you in the right direction!

A key thing to remember is that a competition doesn’t have to be stamped on the face as a CrossFit competition for it to count! Each and every type of competition will test your skills that you’ve developed in classes, and you will be surprised with what you have learned to do when it comes to transferring your skills to other realms of fitness.

Additional Reading:

3, 2, 1, go! – Tips For Competition Prep By Coach Hannah

Workout of the Day

Weightlifting Total

A) 1RM Snatch

B) 1RM Clean & Jerk