Should you retest the open workouts?
So we are one week into the Open with the second week looming quickly. Hopefully your lungs have recovered after the first workout and I hope you felt satisfied with your performance.
There is a common question that flies around during the Open which is - shall I re do the Open workout?
Well, as a coach who has helped many different folks through the Open from those going to regionals to those just looking to complete it RX’d for the first time I have a fairly good insight into how to approach the decision.
As yourself the following questions…
1 - Are you an athlete?
Yes? Continue to question 2.
No? Well if you are not competing then you are doing this for fun, even if some of the fun is comparing scores with others. This, I am afraid, is not competing. It is important to keep this in mind and I would suggest that just doing the Open workout once is enough.
Why? Well, if you have not dedicated a large portion of the year to preparing seriously for the Open, your body most likely is not ready for two very stressful, intensive pieces of work in four days. Especially when I will take a punt and guess that on top of this you are holding down a full time job, with all the social and family commitments that come with life.
Doing the Open workout once, with friends at the gym can be a great fun, and is worth it if you are healthy and of the right mindset. However, turning it into a serious athletic endeavour without the training base put in earlier in the year, specifically for this and you are asking for injury or sickness! Instead, I would suggest training as normal and come next week you will be fresher and mentally ready for another testing piece of adult PE to do with your pals!
2 - Is this your ‘A’ Competition of the year?
- A competition being your priority comp. This is what you’ve been working towards all year and is the be all and end all.
Yes? Do it. A second outing will be what you’ve been training for, the base work is done and this is your all or nothing. The chance to qualify for Sanctionals or maybe even the games outright. Hit it hard Friday, assess your tactics and performance over the weekend and go again on Monday. Get at it.
No? Well weigh up where your ‘A’ competition is in the year? If it is fairly soon then training for that must surely take priority? If this is the case, I would question the reasons for doing it a second time and maybe you need to ask difficult questions about how much control your ego has? What does your coach say? If this is just a ‘see where you sit’ kind of competition for you then one and done is enough.
Doing the Open twice will get you a better score most likely, but it also, over five weeks brings huge physical and mental strain which will severely limit your training time, the amount your body can adapt to any training and quite simply is degrading. Many come out of the open having hit it hard with reduced performance, injuries and/or niggles/sickness.
Some take away principles for you…
- The Open can be great fun, if you don’t get too sucked into the leaderboard, control your ego and know why you are doing it.
- Remember who you are? Someone who trains 4-5 times per week in group classes, whilst holding down a full time job, family etc is not generally an ‘athlete’ in my opinion. Sound harsh? Its not meant to be. Whats wrong with not being an athlete? Just enjoy keeping fit, strong and healthy. Do the open once each.
- If you are an athlete who has focused on this all year, go at it. Leave everything on the floor, twice a week. You will need a month or so of easy work afterwards.
- If you are an athlete who is just using this as a litmus, to start prepping for another comp or as part of a periodised plan, I would strongly suggest just doing it once per week.
Hopefully this gives you an insight into my view point as a coach on the Open.
Enjoy it, whatever reason you are doing it for!!
Words By Head Coach Tom McPartlan - The Athlete System