My father’s Chevy felt heavy for being out of fuel, but it still moved. We were pushing it up an embankment and he must’ve been embarrassed having overestimated the remaining mileage. This was during my analog childhood. The gauges on the dash had no resemblance to that of a spaceship. Simpler times.
There was a lesson in this experience for me. Almost better safe than sorry. An adage that I’d venture most humans pay heed to, myself however as my history details, excluded. My lineage is that of gamblers; risk takers, crap shooters, war heroes and luck boxes. If the juice is there, the action is automatic. To live in this avenue means now and again you’ll be muscling a 3-ton SUV towards the closest petrol station. It’s part of the game.
In CrossFit you’ll learn this lesson as well. When do you hang on during big sets of pull-ups if you’re capable? When do you gamble and when do you stay in a lower gear to survive longer?
How I operate is to refuse to err on the side of caution. Mind you, I AM NOT saying you should be attempting to Rx challenging metcons at the outset of your CrossFit experience. Always take the advice of qualified coaches. What I am suggesting is when it comes to pacing, to learn from your mistakes you must first make them.
Let us use my favorite workout of all time as an example. “Helen” is 3 Rounds for Time of Run 400m, 21 Kettlebell Swings, and 12 Pull-ups. All of the indoor repetitions are meant to be done unbroken, so your opportunity to find a new gear comes down embracing a gruesome clip on the run. If I have an athlete who has the capacity to swing the standard gender specific weight and can kip or butterfly 12 pull-ups for 3 sets I’m going to throw them in the cement mixer on the run. Even if they’re greener and doing lighter KBS and jumping pull-ups, the 400m (if that distance is doable) provides them a space to address their willingness to suffer for success.
The upper echelon will sustain a breakneck speed in all three runs. OGs like myself will accelerate round to round, with the final loop being like sprinting from lava flow. For the less seasoned individuals, and this is what I mean by “cement mixer,” I will give them a game plan similar to my own, BUT I will encourage them to override the rational brain if they have the heart to do so.
Meaning, push in the first round if it feels right. Chase the orb, as I used to tell Level 3 Chad. If you end up on empty come Round 3, then you push that goddamn Chevy up the hill. And leave embarrassment on the roadside, it’s a useless byproduct of the ego.