Scheduling PRs

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On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of working out with the Dirty 0930 class at our gym. I hadn't trained with the group for some time, preferring to meet with my lifting buddies early in the morning. But I've started doing some more conditioning work and thought that Tuesday's workout would be a good test. 

The workout was 'Nasty Girls', the classic CrossFit.com triplet featuring Air Squats, Muscle-Ups and Hang Power Cleans. I've done Nasty Girls a handful of times before, and I hold a semi-respectable sub-10 minute personal best. 

Today, however, was NOT my best effort. I struggled with the Muscle-Ups and posted 13:03. 

Am I disappointed? Kind of.. I know my body and at the moment, I'm not in my best 'CrossFit shape'. I've been lifting a lot and my strength is way up over last year. But there's still a nagging feeling knowing that I didn't get close to my old score. My lungs aren't in great shape and I'm not ANYWHERE near as aggressive with CrossFit WODs as I was a year ago. 

So, I've resolved to schedule a PR for this WOD. That's right, I'm going to SCHEDULE my next PR! 

How am I going to do it? The first part of my strategy is going to be to run this workout once a month for the next three to four months. These attempts will give me opportunities to fine-tune some strategies that I can use to achieve the PR. Doing the workout on a more frequent schedule will act as a barometer of my progress while training me to get better, all at the same time. I'll try and shave off one minute from each attempt, with an eventual goal of 9:30 or better.

Next, I'm going to write down a list of 'mini-wins' for this workout. I learned to do this from our old DelVal trainer Kevin Belza. He would perform a benchmark WOD and write detailed notes in the Wodify comments about rep breakdowns and his strategy. The next time he did the WOD, he would change a few things and voilĂ , he had a new PR. 

Here's a preliminary list of mini-wins for 'Nasty Girls':

- Perform at least one set of Squats unbroken (preferably two). I spent at least 30 seconds resting between squat breaks and I think I can do better here.
- Knock out the first three Muscle-Ups without letting go of the rings. Shaving time from the Muscle-Ups is probably the fastest way to recover time in Nasty Girls. Once I can do three in a row, I'll shoot for five and then maybe one whole set of seven without letting go.
- I'm going to rest my Hang Power Cleans in the front rack (i.e against my shoulders). Today, I put down the bar once during every set, Why? Just hold it in the rack, recover my grip, and go again. 
- Once I finish a set of Hang Power Cleans, I'm going to begin squatting immediately, even if the squats are slow. I need to learn to BREATHE during air squats and I'd rather be squatting slowly than not squatting at all. 

I could probably list a few more. The point here is that there are 'mini-wins' in every workout. If I focus on one or more of these things, I have something to occupy my head and I'm less disappointed if I don't actually PR. The focus becomes the PROCESS and not the OUTCOME.

Finally, I'm going to write down my target time (9:30 or better) on my task list and put it at the very top. I'm also going to list my mini-wins in the comments so I can get my head wrapped around how I'm going to approach my next attempt. I use that task list 10x daily so every time I open it up, I'll be reminded about the goal and how I'm going to achieve it.

I think the big takeaway here is that to succeed in fitness (really, anything) you need to 1) have a goal and 2) have actionable steps (mini-wins) that you can use to achieve the goal. 

I'll let you know how my next Nasty Girls goes!