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A Case For Randomness in Training

Thursdays Row Session

There are a few of us that get together on a Thursday afternoon for some quality time on the concept2, its a chance to get in some extra conditioning work with some other people that you probably wouldnt be that inclined to do by yourself.  Normally the sessions are fairly regimented interval sessions 500m / 1000 repeats with set rest intervals increasing in pace week to week.  This week decided to change it up and ended up being one of the best sessions we've done.

Basic premise was that the work : rest would be set with the roll of two dice, before kicking off everyone had to nominate their goal paces for 500m / 1000m / 2000m (in mind of doing them as repeat intervals so needed to be challenging but not impossible)  My goal paces were 1:40 / 3:40 and 7:10 respectively.  Two dice get rolled at a time one being work the other being rest, 1 or 2 = 500m, 3 or 4 = 1000m, 5 or 6 = 2000m, 1 or 2 = 1min rest, 3 or 4 = 2min rest, 5 or 6 = 4min rest.  After 6 rolls we ended up with the session on the whiteboard :-

1000m row

rest 2min

1000m row

rest 2min

2000m row

rest 1min

2000m row

rest 4min

1000m row

rest 1min

500m row

 

On paper an exceptionally unpleasant looking session - the 2000m rest 1min 2000m part looking particularly unpleasant, and definatly not a session you would write for yourself and this is where a case for occasional randomness in planning workouts comes in.

Ended up being an outstanding session, I ended up within 1.6 sec of my goal pace every time and most people doing the session were pretty similar.  The key point with this session is that everyone ended up doing something that they would not have normally put themselves through.  

Training should have structure and logical progression, whether is be a periodised strength program, a running program with increasingly intensity and volume or CrossFit training - there should be a logical progressive path forward - this is how you get results, as they say failing to plan is planning to fail.  But there is a time and place for sessions like we did yesterday.

Logically you would not write that session for yourself, its not that appealing to do repeated 2km efforts or finish with a 500m effort but bring some more people along for the party and put it in the hands of a roll of the dice it takes that out of your control - then you find out what you are capable of.  Should you let the roll of a dice or a deck of cards determine all your programming - hell no! But an occasional dose of randomness to take you to a place that you didnt want to visit can be exceptionally useful, both physically but more important mentally.  It helps break down the self imposed barriers we have when it comes to training.  Some of the workouts at the first CrossFit Games were determined by literally pulling exercises out of a barrel and assembling them into a workout, not the most logical way to program but it does remove the human element of biasing towards strengths or having pre concieved notions about what consitutes a good or bad test of fitness or a good or bad workout.

This is one of the reasons that training at a Crossfit gym as part of the classes is so good, people get to rock up and just get told what to do, you dont get to decide you dont feel like doing squats that day, you walk in its on the whiteboard and you do it, it removes that mental barrier.  If you do write some of your own programming or workouts dont throw logic and planning out the window but occasionally dont be afraid to let some of the control out of your hands - it can take you to places you dont want to go (and that you shouldnt go that often...)

If anyone is keen to do a similar version of this row session and wants a hand figuring out appropriate paces for the rows etc hit me up at the gym and we can get you going

 


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