Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Failure?

The following is from John E, proprietor of CrossFit Will County.  His gym's motto is fittingly: Embrace the Suck.

And now, a brief rant on the topic of failure, as it pertains to CrossFit.  As an admitted PR (personal record) whore, I have been paralyzed by the fear of repeating a WOD.  Partly because I've already experienced it, and I know what dark places it may take me to.  But mostly by a fear of failing.  Afraid of falling short of a previous time or weight.  If you've never experienced this then I hope you never do, but it is something I've struggled with and only recently come to terms with.  My change in mindset occurred upon the realization of a few things that I hope you'll find helpful:
  1. You'll learn quite a bit more from your failures than you will from your successes, particularly the easy ones.  Technique, recovery, and pacing are a few things that come to mind. 
  2. We all crossfit because we want to get fitter, physically and mentally.  So get fitter.  If your max deadlift was 375# a month ago, and you fall an inch short of locking out 380# today, believe you me, you got fitter.  It may go down in your journal as a failed rep, but this is in no way indicative of backsliding fitness.
  3. Sometimes it just isn't your day.  Occasionally, the demands of life will dictate that recovery is less than optimal.  Work, kids, the neighbor's dog howling at the moon at all hours, you know where I'm coming from.
  4. CrossFit is a lifelong journey and, at the ripe old age of 34, I reckon I've got a good few years left.  So I will get that 3:00 "Fran."  Not as soon as I'd like, but someday.  You hear me Fran?
  5. CrossFit is supposed to be fun.  Try not to lose sight of that.  I still contend that if you're not a little nervous before your workout, you're not going hard enough.  But these days I try to smile to myself, maybe giggle a little.  Grown men do occasionally giggle, right?
  6. Ultimately, if you are afraid to fail, you are afraid to succeed.  Draw your own conclusions.
So how's this new attitude I've wrapped my brain around working out?  I look forward to and enjoy my training more than I ever have.  Can't put a price on that.  And the PRs I so love?  They just keep coming.  End of rant.

John's words ring very true for me. And after some recent discussion, they ring true for some of you too.  I frequently feel than anxiousness in my belly in those moments before I hit the "start" button on my timer. I worry not only about how much this will suck, but doubting whether I'll hit that new PR, or do worse than last time. I also battle the discouragement of a bad day...poor sleep, bad diet, or some mystery.  But then I read something like John's rant and remind myself that small "slips" in progress might not even be slips.  The big picture is filled with performance increases...and I do see them.

2 comments:

Louis Hayes said...

I just saw that CFWC moved into a new facility. Very awesome! Check out their website to see new pics.

johnCFWC said...

Lou,
Thanks once again for the plug. Glad you got something out of my rant. It's certainly made a difference in my approach to training. We'd love for you to stop by the gym someday.
Best,
John
CFWC