The Open is over and won’t return for a full year! This is a good time to reflect on the purpose and meaning of the Open season. For some folks, the Open can provoke performance anxiety. Because it is an opportunity to test our fitness, some CrossFitters attribute a lot meaning to how they perform in the 5 Open workouts.
When high skill movements or heavy weights appear, some of us become frustrated by our inability to complete the workout as prescribed. There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious and having goals, but sometimes our larger ambitions can blind us to smaller victories. If we frame the Open as one of many opportunities to evaluate where we are at a specific point in time, we lessen the pressure we place on ourselves. Obviously, stress is inevitable if you’re trying to qualify for the games, but this doesn’t apply to 99.89% of us. The important question to ask is, “How does the Open fit into my larger fitness goals?”
Rebecca’s Open Experience
One of our members, Rebecca, has taken a positive approach to the last two CrossFit Opens. The 2019 CrossFit Open was her first. She signed up online and participated in our Sanctify Intramural Open in the spring. She’s newish to CrossFit, so in the spring she didn’t have any expectations regarding her performance. Despite some gruesome workouts featuring her least favorite movements (hello wall balls and rowing!), she completed all the workouts.
Cut to a little over six months later at the start of Open season 2020, Rebecca again signed up, this time with the intention of finding out how she had improved since the spring. Her emphasis was simply personal improvement. She wasn’t holding herself to some arbitrary standard or comparing herself to other athletes–pitfalls we’re all guilty of falling into at one time or another.
Between the spring and fall Open seasons, Rebecca jumped up nearly 30 percentile points in her age group placement. Moreover, she did three of the workouts Rx this fall. Her finish is solid evidence of a tremendous improvement in her fitness.
But most important, it’s Rebecca’s attitude that stood out. Sure, some of the workouts made her nervous, but she remained positive and looked for evidence of growth.
In One Year Much Can Change
Ultimately, for the mass majority of us, the Open is little more than 5 workouts out of the year. Our programming is not focused specifically around the Open. Our training schedule doesn’t build toward to the Open, and we don’t necessarily prioritize the movements featured in the Open–something to remember when workouts don’t go as hoped.
Even so, as Rebecca’s experience proves, given the right perspective, the Open can be an opportunity (one of many) to discover areas of personal growth and improved fitness.
Put your head down, show up regularly, do the work, and be patient. With that, in a year a lot can happen.