Ask Erin: How does programming during the Open work?

From an athlete looking to optimize training and performance during the Open: 

I’m trying to look ahead and figure out when I’ll be able to make it in on Friday (answer: only about half the time) and what the rest of my schedule is going to look like through March, and two questions that keep running through my mind are:

(1) which are going to be the best days to rest? Thursday, since we’re doing the Open workouts on Friday? OrWednesday, since soreness peaks on day 2? And how many weekly rest days do you recommend during this period (assuming it should be more than usual)?

(2) if there’s a workout we think we can redo and improve upon, is there an optimal time frame for this? Like… if we do it Friday morning, then are we fine to go again in comp session the next morning, or better to wait for Sunday orMonday? Or will it just totally depend on the workout/movements involved?

The answer to that is a popular one in our community, “it depends”.

It depends firstly, on what your goals for the Open are, and secondly, on how you are able to use the schedule we are providing.  Here is the planned projection for Coaches and classes offered during the Open – definitely take a look as there are some really great additions!

If your goal is to maximize your performance, my suggestion would be to repeat the WOD as many times as you can based on your own recovery – listen to your body. That said, beginning by completing it on Friday in class and then coming in to get some light rowing in on Saturday during the completion time (10-12pm), and then coming in to try again on Sunday from 8-10am, and if you NEED to on Monday at 12pm or 330pm… that takes some serious prioritizing!  It is just as useful to decide ahead of time that you will definitely repeat at like 2 times. It is VERY unlikely that completing the WOD a second time will result in a WORSE performance.

Along the same lines, remember: if you believe you will be contributing a score to CFCC’s team score that might place the team at Regionals, you MUST film your effort and you MUST perform your WOD while judged with an individual who has completed the CrossFit Judges’ Course. It’s easy to complete the course here!  If you believe that you are in this category, check out the information in the mainspace near the Competitor’s Board – all the information you need for signing up for a filmed slot is there!

If you are someone who has limited availability on the weekend to come in to CrossFit, you can complete the WOD in the regular sessions on Friday and on a few on Monday.

If you are someone who is unable to complete the WOD on Friday, you may come in on Saturday and repeat on Monday, or just choose to complete the WOD on Saturday or Sunday according to your preference.

If you are just looking to complete the workouts for fun and fitness – I would complete them as a planned part of regular weekly programming!  Post your score so you have a gauge for the years to come and come out and cheer or judge your teammates throughout the rest of the day or weekend!

Those of you who have been through the Open before know that Thursday night at 8pm can be a little nerve-wracking – kind of like this:

Due to the weekly release of the Open WOD on Thursdays at 8pm, the programming layout during the Open is entirely based around prepping you for a very stressful weekend full of lots of intensity and possible repeats for workouts.  This doesn’t mean we want to stop progressing in other ways in CrossFit (skill and strength come to mind!) so we program Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to be very efficient for maintaining your progress.

Here’s what that will look like:

FRIDAY: Open WOD completion.  Throughout the day you’ll be in classes judged by your fellow athletes (remember, if you’re putting out a Regionals-level effort, you need to film AND have a certified judge).  Tim and Ave will start the day off, Danny and Record will take over midday and Perrin and I (Erin) will be hosting the Open Parade during the evening.  If you are completing the WOD for the first time on this day I would think of trying out a strategy on this day – try not to come in and just do the WOD to get it done; use this opportunity to learn something about making your performance better the second time around.  We’ll be posting all kinds of tips on our Facebook Page and our Twitter/Instagram account at CFCenterCity. Additionally, if you’d like to post thoughts about your performance or ask questions about the WOD you can do this and receive some very quick responses on CFCC’s Competitor’s Group Page.  If you’d like access to this page, please email

SATURDAY: Open WOD completion THIS Saturday will be from 8-10am but starting NEXT Saturday it will be running from 10-12pm and will be led by Tim. If you have completed the WOD on Friday and plan to complete it again on Sunday or Monday, it is highly recommended that you use this time to row, mobilize, and watch others to learn from their efforts and to encourage them!  Saturday will also include a great line-up of Strongman, Rowing, Olympic Lifting, and Croga classes!  Don’t forget to check out the new schedule!

SUNDAY: Competitors will have a chance to complete the WOD from 8-10am under the guidance of Coach Record in Open Gym. Competitors intending to repeat the WOD on this day should be sure to bring a judge of their choice to the gym with them (remember: this judge does not have to be certified UNLESS you are repeating an effort that may contribute a qualifying score for Regionals).  Sunday’s line-up of classes also includes a Workout of the Day, Gymnastics, Olympic Lifting, and Restorative Yoga with Arianna; all great additions to your weekly dose of CrossFit if you are not simply maximizing performance for the Open!

MONDAY: Those who are keen on placing a high score in the Open OR who are completing the WOD after missing their chance on Friday through Sunday are encouraged to aim to complete the WOD at 12pm or 330pm. Otherwise, this will be a day for maintaining squatting strength and our conditioning progress!  Additionally, Tim will be leading a Croga class in the PhillyFit space in the evenings – this is a great recovery method and you are definitely encouraged to attend at 730pm!

TUESDAY: Tuesdays will really depend on what kind of skills are incorporated into the WOD on Fridays – i.e., we will try to balance out a heavy snatch WOD with a clean day or a gazillion burpees with some pull-up and rowing work. That given, we will still attempt to progress skills on this day and to include any missing quad-dominant work (think: thrusters, wallballs, etc.) that was not included in the Open WOD but may be in any that are forthcoming.

WEDNESDAY: Wednesdays will run much like Tuesdays but will probably involve a lot more pulling (think: rowing, light deadlifting, kettlebell swings, etc.) than Tuesdays to optimize performance on Friday.  Additionally, Danny will be running a Squatting session at 530pm and Gymnastics at 630pm if those are two areas you are hoping to place extra emphasis on during this Open Season. If recovery is your goal before hitting  a rest day on Thursday (and it should be!) Arianna’s Restorative Yoga class is at 730pm in the PhillyFit space!

THURSDAY: The WOD is announced at 8pm and many of our athletes will be taking a rest day today so we’ve removed the 830pm session from this evening to allow for adequate set-up for whatever the next day brings. If you are planning on attending sessions on this day the programming will be balancing and corrective in nature (think: single arm and leg movements and conditioning work that works your aerobic system but doesn’t tax your nervous system).  The idea is, that if you are someone who regularly attends 5 days on throughout Monday to Friday, you should be able to attend this day and feel ok for Friday.


Lastly, a few other things to consider:

    1. Don’t forget to email if you would like to be on a team throughout the Open!  There are all kinds of cool perks to this listed here – the prizes are always a lot of fun to give away… AND RECEIVE!
    2. Put the Post-Open Partay on your calendar today!  It’ll be the Friday night after the last day of the Open – and you’ll be able to view a film made about the 2014 Open at CFCC, nosh on some food you probably haven’t eaten for a long time, and receive prizes for the Team Competition.
    3. Take personal responsibility for your score and for the team!  Read the rules. Know the standards. Plan your completion times. Know your judge. Become a good judge. Perform with integrity and humility. Be there for your teammates.
    4. Although I know it will be very tempting to face-plant in a big pile of inflammatory “______” – please try to refrain from using the period directly after an Open-WOD to forget that you are supposed to be recovering!  Fueling post-WOD with pizza and beer may be a great way to forget the past, but it’s also an excellent way to be remembering wallballs for a full week. Come April feel free to have at it!
    5. Which brings me to another relevant point: these WODs are VERY intense, and mean that you’ve GOT to be ready for them in every way.  This may mean showing up early to prep yourself on your own.  Tim and Danny layout some excellent ways to do this on their blog post about hydration and warm-up: take a look.  Take this part seriously, friends – if you’re consistently driving a Ferrari you don’t forget to take it in for a tune-up – your body should be no different!
    6. On your rest days, remember, resting is not the same thing as RECOVERING.  Check out this helpful post to learn more about that and use the resources we’ve included throughout the week at CFCC to help you perform well and maintain your health!

And finally, if you’ve made it this far, congratulations!  I have a few ending thoughts before the Open kicks off tomorrow:

I spent a whole week deliberating over the content of this post and about 2 hours writing it at the end of a long day.

Then WordPress deleted it… and I had to start all over again late at night before getting up to coach the 6am (tomorrow!) – and I felt how all of you feel when you work hard to complete something and then it feels almost meaningless. Then, I remembered… the Open is ALL about learning and by extension, resiliency. 

So I sat down to write this post again.

I can’t help but smile at the irony of a situation like that as we go into a season where we all put stock in a workout released every Thursday for 5 weeks so much so that we get nervous, lose our voices, and maybe our sanity mid-WOD.  We even go so far as to do all of this, and then REPEAT our efforts! During the first year of the CrossFit Open I, like so many others, had to sit there and ask myself, “REALLY??? Am I THAT worried about a workout??”

But this year, more than ever, I think understand: the ability to have a second chance, to better oneself in the immediate moment, is not a curse (or lunacy) – it’s a gift, and we practice exercising this gift. In life, we get so few chances to actually ask ourselves, “What am I REALLY capable of?” In CrossFit we are fortunate to be able to do this every day.

The CrossFit Open is 5 weeks of dares.  It’s 5 weeks of pointing a finger at yourself that requires your best. It’s 5 weeks of learning that you may not be as skilled as you thought.  It’s 5 weeks of learning that you may not be as unskilled as you thought.  It’s 5 weeks of fear-peeing before WODs.  It’s 5 weeks of getting comfortable with the uncomfortable. It’s 5 weeks of high-fives. It’s 5 weeks of no excuses. It’s 5 weeks of tearing up over new PRs and so many CrossFit firsts.  It’s 5 weeks of getting in touch with the part in all of us that is consistently afraid to come out, but ever-present. It’s 5 weeks of getting back up on your feet. It’s 5 weeks of attempting the impossible. It’s 5 weeks of feeling that you are part of something bigger, greater, and more meaningful than 150 Wallballs. It’s 5 weeks of learning to play on a team.  It’s 5 weeks of renewal.

The CrossFit Open will mess you up, physiologically – yes, but emotionally as well – be ready for that, and be ready to let it teach you. Be ready to get hit, and get back up again. After 6 full seasons of CrossFit competition, I can tell you the rubble of your performance throughout these next 5 weeks will not be everything you expect it to be, but it will be what you need: fuel for your journey. Don’t be afraid to stoke that fire, friends.

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 10.41.02 PM

Leave A Comment

Crossfit Journal Logo   OPEX On Journey CrossFit Kids FMS Certified

© 2017 Crossfit Center City | 1229 Chestnut Street, Basement, Philadelphia PA 19107 | 267.909.8210 |
Website Design by Sayra Lopez