I’ve been involved with CrossFit for about 18 months. It has been slow going. Sometimes it seems like there aren’t any big improvements. But a couple of weeks back I did 100 double-unders. It took a while, especially since I alternate single and doubles (and I was doing sets of 10), but I did it. That same week I practiced kettle-bell swings with a 70# kettlebell. At the Newbie Throwdown I failed at a 115# thruster, but I did manage to get the bar into a rack position — so a 115# clean, which was way more then I could do last year.
A few days back I read something about VO2, which is a measure of how much oxygen a person is using under physical stress. As I understand it VO2 is the single most important measurement of fitness (sort of like my Felsted measurement, but scientific.) There are several VO2 calculators out there, and my scores were in the OK or average range (about 39.) There are actually a few ways to test VO2 in a formal way.
In any case increasing VO2 is not exactly a mystery: work harder at running, rowing etc. So I decided I would to go into the gym earlier and do some extra rowing, running or whatever. And perhaps most importantly, I decided I would have to go all out on those extra rows and runs, forget about failure, give it everything and not worry about what comes next. The trick is to get past the inertia.
The first day back I went to the gym a bit early, and rowed 500m in 2:05, which is substantially better then the 2:20 I’m used to seeing. Today I ran 800 meters in 3:38. I ran on a flat surface, and the first 400 was at 1:30, so my performance deteriorated, but still it’s a good time for me. I think I could get to a real 8 minute run with a little more work. I think a 7 minute mile is within reach as well.
Today’s workout was a tough one. The 800m run left me tired. The warmup was 3x of 10 air squats, 10 pullups, 10 bar dips, and 15 hollow rocks. Then the workout: 2x 15 burpees, 20 pushups, 25 kettlebell swings, 30 situps, and 35 double unders. I knew it was going to be a long haul. It was: 22 minutes plus. I decided I would Rx it, so I used a 44# kb, did everything as prescribed. I also knew the 44# kb would slow me down, and it did, as I was only able to get a 10 rep set once, and all the rest were 5 rep sets, then a few seconds of rest. But I’m sure I met the objectives of the workout; at the end I was exhausted. My time was slow, but I got 100% of that workout.
So the plan is simple: increase VO2 by doing extras of rowing and running and keeping the times as fast as possible, and stepping up the pace in the WODs. Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? 🙂