Well, I’ve stared at the computer for a half hour or so with nothing but static in my head, so I’m going to talk about pacing, even though I might have already talked about it on here and have probably definitely told you at some point in person. But, with our flood of new folks, there’s going to be at least one who haven’t heard this, so there you go.
There are two ways to attack a workout in CrossFit. The first is pacing, where you decide from the start how fast you’re going to attack the WOD and have a specific goal in mind, whether it’s a number of rounds in an AMRAP or a particular time in a “rounds for time” situation. The second is SqWatts-style, where you throw all that pacing crap to the wind, put a thousand percent effort into the first round and hate yourself for the rest of the workout.
As hard as it is for me to make myself do it, I HIGHLY recommend the pacing style. One of my do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do things. Now, if it’s a short WOD, balls to the wall is the way to go. The longer the WOD gets, the more likely that pacing will wind up winning in the long run. When you go balls to the wall, pushing until you can’t push, you wind up needing to take much more rest mid-WOD than you would take if you tore apart the reps in the WOD and had specific rest times/amounts. That’s not to say you can’t still push yourself with high intensity when you pace yourself; you just take bigger chunks of work and smaller of rest.
Let’s take one of the girl workouts for instance. Karen is 150 wall balls for time. I
usually could ignore all reason and just throw the med ball until I can’t throw anymore. Since I know I can’t do 150 unbroken, that means I’m going to be a panting sweaty mess somewhere in the midpoint of the workout and I’ll need to take some major mid-WOD recovery time before I can start back up. However, if I break those 150 wall balls into 15 rounds of ten with a short rest between each round, I can finish the WOD sooner and not be quite as utterly destroyed at the end of the WOD. If I want to bump up the intensity, I can shoot for 10 rounds of 15 with a shorter rest.
The trick to pacing is sticking to your guns. Being able to make an educated guess at a number of reps you can always reach and only allowing yourself to do that many at once. If you chose poorly, you can try to adjust, but do your best to stick to your magic number. Then next time, you can bump those reps up higher.