[/caption] As many coaches found, programming for competitors in the Functional Fitness Games Open was incredibly challenging. With the workouts coming out on Tuesday night for completion by Sunday night, you had to make sure athletes were rested and ready to go when it was time to do the workout. Depending on the equipment available or the host affiliate’s schedule, you might not be doing the workout at the same time each week. Finally, many athletes re-did the workouts several times. So how do you train during a six-week competition period? Well, with Crystal we decided that the Open was basically a period of maintenance. We realized she wasn’t going to make any major gains because I wasn’t about to program heavy deadlifts and then find out the week’s workout was heavy deadlifts. We also decided to dial back the intensity slightly early in the week to ensure she was fresh for the competition workout, which she usually did somewhere between Friday and Sunday. Don’t get me wrong: Crystal still hit every workout hard, but when I might have programmed 225-lb. deadlifts, I scaled it to 185. Instead of 30 chest-to-bar pull-ups, I scaled it to 20 chin-over-bar. The whole point was to treat the workouts in the early part of the week as “medium days,” then program in a rest day right before the competition workout. The competition workouts were the focus and essentially became her main “training” over the period. Due to some weird factors including scoring errors, technical issues with the Games site, sickness, minor injuries and schedules of the affiliates who welcomed us for the workouts (thanks Brad, Derek, Darren and Dale’s Garage), our plan was usually more an ideal than an actuality. While I like programming three-week or one-month blocks, we did a lot of day-of programming depending on what was sore, what was coming up, what equipment was available and how often Crystal was working. Nevertheless, Crystal came through the Open in 18th (as it stands right now), so we must have done something right, even if we didn’t do everything right. With 22 days between now and the regional competition in Vancouver, we basically have a three-week block of training. What to do, what to do? We gave Crystal a few days off—and a few beers—after 11.6, and then we started her back into workouts that are designed to maintain the things she’s good at and bring up the things that need work. We’re emphasizing upper-body strength and muscular endurance in particular. She did Lynne yesterday, for example. We’re also going to integrate some heavy lower-body lifting, which we didn’t get to do very often in the last six weeks. As for increased volume, we’re going to throw in some double days here and there within reason. For a person with a full-time job and a lot of balls in the air, too many extra workouts will just drain Crystal and reduce her intensity across the board. However, we want her to be ready for a weekend of competition, so we’ll cautiously increase the volume with some double days before tapering off in the last week before we head to Vancouver. We’ll be integrating skill practice and loads of mobility work to keep her fresh, and I’ve locked the liquor cabinet, hidden the Easter chocolate and eaten all Crystal’s mom’s cinnamon buns to remove any and all temptations. That’s what a good coach does for his athletes. The next three weeks will be a great learning experience for me and for Crystal. We’ll let you know how it goes. We’re both looking forward to seeing our Functional Fitness friends in B.C.! (Photo by Sandra Benz)
How are we using the gym to prepare for the sport of biathlon? Check out two different training programs used by two novice biathletes.