Woducation: Lessons learned From a DNF

written by Chris Anderson:


It was a couplet: body weight floor presses and strict pull ups; a classic rep scheme: 21-15-9; a reasonable time cap: 10 minutes; and a Crossfit first for me: DNF:
If you haven’t already, at some point in your Crossfit experience you will log a D(id)N(ot)F(inish) and when you do, you’ll be presented with learning opportunities.  Note that there are lessons (plural) to be learned, the particular one(s) determined by the athlete, the workout, and the choices made.  To that end here are three lessons to be learned from a DNF:
Lesson 1-Scaling:  When programming, the designer of the workout wants the athlete to experience a particular stimulus.  The structure, time cap, and coach will give you a clear idea of what that is.  Some workouts are long grinders, others are sprints, and most are along a spectrum in between.  When the coach describes that stimulus it should guide you in choosing your weight, movement, and/or rep scheme.  The goal is not to always go Rx.  It’s to experience the stimulus the workout is designed to deliver. On a related note…
Lesson 2-Check Your Ego at the Door: We’d all agree that it looks and feels great to see those two letters, Rx, inked next to your name on the board for all to see but don’t let pride drive your workout choices.  If your judgment is clouded by your ego, ask an unbiased authority to help- your coach.  They often know their athletes better than we know ourselves!   
Lesson 3-Success Through Failure: When I shared with James my desire to go Rx for this workout he replied, “Sometimes it’s good to challenge yourself, even if you don’t finish”.  Instead of interpreting that as a challenge (which I did), I should have took it for what is was-sage advice.  Coach Glassman once said, “We fail at the margins of our experience.” It is at those same margins that growth occurs.  Let your DNF serve as the ultimate motivator.  Let it inspire you to address your weaknesses, to improve your mobility, and to become a stronger and smarter athlete. 
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