Redline or Sandbag, What's Your Pace?
Hey Vic City,
Pacing a workout is a common topic, regardless of if you are fresh out of On-Ramp or you've been doing CrossFit for half a decade or more. Appropriate pacing can be the difference between a great score, an okay score, and a bad score, relative to your fitness ability. If there are two duplicates of you, and all three of you had the same fitness level, pacing is going to dictate which version of you complete the WOD in the best time.
When it comes to pacing, there are 3 main results, and often times it's not understood until after the WOD, which category we fell until.
1. The redliner (the most common)- go out too fast and slow down drastically by the end. In a three rounds for time workout, round splits might be 2:15, 3:15, 4:00.
2. The sandbagger - go out slow, and have energy left at the end. In a three round workout, round times might be 3:30, 3:00, 3:00. Although, often more consistent than the redliner, scores could be improved by trying to hold a slightly faster pace, and probably more effort in the warm-up.
3. The gamer - usually has a plan, and often some experience in most workouts. Has a good understanding of how their body can tolerate different workouts and movements. Has a great balance of speed and form. For a three round workout, times might be 2:45, 3:00, 2:45. In workouts over 5 minutes, this type of approach often will yield the top results.
A great example of pacing would be a marathon runner. Hours and hours of specific training gets put into preparing for the race. For the most part people have a plan of what pace they can hold based on training results. However, too often, less experienced athletes adjust their plan too soon. Adrenaline is pumping and everything is 'feeling good' so they start off faster than they should, and like the redliner, slow down as the race goes on.
On the below graph you can see different lines that represent paces, at 5km splits, during the 2015 Chicago marathon. The highlighted line is the pace of the winner.
Slowest split: 5:07 minute mile Fastest split: 4:42 minute mile
Although marathons take hours to run, and most CrossFit WODs are only minutes, the idea is still the same. Have a plan, stick to the plan, and maintain your pace. You might not be the first one done the first round, but maintaining through the later rounds in often the difference.
Here is an old CrossFit Games video, it is the final 2 events in 2013. Spoiler - Rich Froning wins both events, but in both he isn't the early leader, he makes his way past everyone in the final few seconds of both workouts. Notice in the first part - Marcus Hendren was the early leader but fell off the pace by the end. In the second part, Josh Bridges leads early, but he too gets overtaken by The Champ at the end.
Training Friday ONLY - Push Week Day 5
Warm-up: Cone Flip Game, three 1-minute rounds - losing team 'fitness reward' of coaches' choice
WOD specific warm-up: 200m jog, 10 bench press at half WOD weight, 200m jog, 5-10 pull-ups, 200m jog, 5 bench at 75% WOD weight
WOD: "T-Rex Arms"
In pairs, on a 14:00 running timer,
Rx - 0:00-7:00,
Run 800m (same time)
AMRAP Bench Press (105/155), splitting reps as needed
Run 800m (same time)
AMRAP Chest to Bar Pull-ups, splitting reps as needed
Scaled - 600m Runs, bar 75/115, hard ring rows
CP - bar 125/185