We recently caught up with the 2015 and 2016 CrossFit Games Champ and her endurance coach Chris Hinshaw at Myleo CrossFit in Berlin.
Our series started with Hinshaw discussing the mental toughness. In part two, this year’s CrossFit Games champion Katrín Tanja Davídsdóttir gives her best tips for all Crossfit athletes looking to compete at the Open, Regionals or any other local event.
1. Find a specific program and follow it to cover the full spectrum.
Be a coachable athlete. That said do what the coach programs or the plan says. Most likely, those things will make you feel like ‘I suck’, but overcoming this adversity is exactly what you need.
Katrin sees many Crossfit athletes doing things they feel confident with:
‘They are doing what they like and what they like is probably what they are good at. Stick to the program to cover the full spectrum.’
Naturally we tend to do thing that makes us feel confident, simply because they also makes us feel good. What you really need is the type of training you are trying to avoid. Don’t hope the Crossfit WODs will be in your favour; rather work on those specific skills you don’t feel confident with and built the confidence through facing “the uncomfortable”.
Full spectrum is the essence of Crossfit. In the past Katrin has been known as the power-based gymnastic athlete. However, in 2015 we’ve seen the full package; Katrin complemented her spectrum by adding the endurance, ‘going for distance’ type of training. And hard work obviously paid off.
2. Katrin Davidsdottir: ‘Enjoy it because if you don’t like it, you will burn out.’
‘You got to love what you do.’
If you don’t love it, how will you face the above mentioned discomfort? Elite Crossfit athletes need to learn how to enjoy the ‘suck’. Training is never comfortable, and not all days are enjoyable, but at the end of the day, they love what they do.
‘If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t put full effort into it. I think it is really important you just enjoy it,’ adds Katrin.
Ask yourself a simple question: are you training because you love the ride, or because you want the prize?
3. Partner up with someone who will motivate you to be the best you.
Probably there are a few lonely wolves among us who love training alone. But have you ever compared your WOD score when doing the workout alone, and when clashing it with with your favourite Crossfit buddy? In most cases, the difference is obvious. To improve, what you really need is to put a little pressure on yourself; why not challenging a similar-level athlete “to wod” together?
Katrin suggest choosing someone who will give you that much needed extra push: ‘Someone who will motivate you to be the best you, and make you go: Ok I want to push that hard too.’
We’ve seen Katrin often strengthens her training sessions by partnering up with a 2-time CrossFit Games champion Annie Thorisdottir.
4. Training is important, but taking care of your body is essential.
Sufficient recovery is the part where many Crossfit athletes fail.
Being an athlete is a full-time 24/7 mindset that also follows you out of the box. It’s eating, sleeping, resting… and taking care of you, and your body.
‘Many people are messaging me saying I am following the same programming, doing the whole thing, but I am not sleeping well, I feel really tired, clearly overtraining…’
‘If you are tired then rest. One training day pushing yourself when you can’t train is going do nothing but push you backwards. Put good food into your body, have a massage, see a physical therapist…’
Katrin has been an athlete since the age of 6 when she first started with gymnastics. She’s used to training with high volume of work. You are probably not, so built towards it slowly and follow a sufficient rest-training ration.
5. Work hard because nothing will work unless you do.
‘When you look back at your career… you want to know that was the time when you pushed hard and gave all you had.’
You can’t be great every single training or event, but you can always try to give your best. And your best will vary daily.
But one thing will be certain: even if you won’t make it you will know you gave your best. And that will be the reward itself.