Today, I’m going to tell you about the best tool you can have in your CrossFitting toolkit (dibs on the official CrossFit toolkit bag – contact me for details and licensing negotiations, Reebok).
Yesterday, our metcon started with an 800m run. You guys know me and most of you know my feelings on running: namely that regardless of what our evolutionary record shows, this body was never meant to run. Because of this, pretty much anything over a little 100m sprint turns into an ugly mess. I knew it would get ugly for me (always a bad first step) so I had to root around in my toolkit for a bit. Just before the WOD started out found what I needed:
This is a special kind of lie that you keep to yourself and work only when you need it most. For me in this situation, it works like so:
- Go out for the 800m run
- Make it through 350 of the first 400 leg before those “I really need to walk” thoughts start creeping in.
- Tell myself that I could walk, but it’s only 50m, so let’s try keeping it up until then.
- Somehow I make it that 50m with just a little bit of slowing down, so I turn around to start the next leg.
- As I turn around at our door, I pull out the lies
- “You made it through that first 200m at a pretty good clip, so you should be able to do the same thing again.”
- Repeat that for the whole 200m.
- Turn around for the return trip and wince from the high keening noise my brain makes when it sees how far away the gym is now.
- Grab the next lie: “I’m just going to run from here to the edge of the tile building (50m for you non-CFZ readers) and then I’ll walk.”
- As I approach the tile building, I tell myself “That section wasn’t so bad – you can totally keep that up. Keep running to the stairs (another 50m) and then you can walk.”
- As I approach the stairs, the same thing: “You knew there was no way you could run all the way here. Remember how you wanted to walk 50m ago? You can push this ’til you get back in the door.”
- And like ugly, heaving, sweaty magic, I’m back in the gym for some relaxing burpees.
- Yeah, that was another lie I pulled out of the Toolkit
Now, reading this as you sit at your desk, drinking your work drinks and leaning back with your feet on the desk, this may seem rather simplistic and transparent. “That wouldn’t work for me – I’m way too smart! What the hell is wrong with my coach’s brain?”
That’s what’s fun about these workouts: the deeper you get into the pain cave, the dumber you get. As long as you keep enough mental faculties together to remember to lie to yourself, you’ll totally fall for it. As one of my favorite physicists (yes, I have more than one favorite) once said:
“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.” – Richard P. Feynman
That works well when dealing with the scientific method, but for the CrossFit method, you’ll need to change the first principle to “you must fool yourself.” Once you’re knee-deep in that WOD, there are very few people who will be easier to fool than you. Use that power for good. Same thing if we’re doing some kind of AMRAP: don’t let yourself think about the inevitable workout entropy that comes with gradual exhaustion. Instead, keep telling yourself “I just did this a few seconds ago, so I should be able to do it again the same way.”
More than likely, you’ll totally fall for it. You’re welcome.