Measure, Observe, Repeat
It won't make you dizzy, it'll make you better
My wife and her sisters were all NCAA Division 1 track and field athletes. High-level performance and training at it’s best. The experience left her with some great victory stories and several re-occurring nightmares. For example, she still remembers workouts like 400 meter repeats. Her coach would have her do 10 to 12 repeats starting at 65 seconds and working down into 50-second range as she progressed through the workout. To this day, I can send her into shock by repeating her coach’s words: “Toe to the mark, 54 seconds to finish…..SET GO!!!”
While Christine’s 15-plus years of track was demanding, stressful, and a life-long learning experience, she has learned the importance of recording scores, times, and loads. Her motivation in training was either to run faster based on the previous time posted, or to jump higher based on the last jumper’s height. Either way, her training results were meticulously tracked, because she and her coaches needed (and wanted) to see improvement, and the numbers she posted didn’t lie.
Christine spent 15 years using measurable, repeatable, observable feedback that provided her with important informational tools to make her training effective and enable her to improve:
- First, she could see if she was getting better, worse, or staying the same. She and her coaches could adjust things accordingly.
- Second, she also could compare herself to herself, and see how she was doing this year in comparison to last year.
- Last, she had a chance to see what her teammates were posting for times. Seeing someone faster gave her motivation to improve her own time.
Our white board serves a similar purpose for us. The workouts are posted on the white boards, and our little pre-workout gatherings there give us a chance to review the progressions and sequences and discuss strategy for the best workout results. Visualizing the workouts provides a platform for questions about movements, stimulus, expectations, and anything else to help your experience. It’s similar to when a coach pulls his team together before the start of a game -- we use the white board to huddle up.
We also gather around the white board after a workout to gather information. Information such as loads, times, modifications, and any other notes you want to share with us so that your workout can be repeatable, recordable, and observable. I believe this can be one of the best motivations in making progress and, continuing to grow and get better and also to improve the stimulus.
The white board is meant to make your training more effective by enabling you to compare yourself to yourself. However, the beauty of what we have at the white board is you can also see where you are amongst other Fitters if you so desire. The point is: use the white board to get better workouts in whatever way works best for you.
If you like to record your own information and carry it with you, there are a number of iPhone apps out there that were designed to help athletes like us track our own progress. myWOD is a good one, and there are many others.
When you come in this week you’ll be able to compare last year’s work during the same time period to this year’s workout. If you were at Fit last year, you’ll be able to see how you’re doing and whether you’re making progress in a way that satisfies you. If you’re not satisfied with your progress, your trainers can help you – just ask! Many times we can recommend small changes to help make big improvements.