Words With Oz

"Be a craftsman in speech that thou mayest be strong, for the strength of one is the tongue, and speech is mightier than all fighting." - The Maxims of Ptahhotep (XXXIV)

Preparation and Planning

There are some people who live in a dream world, there are some who face reality, and then there are those that turn one into the other
— Douglas H. Everett

I just finished the five weeks of the 2015 Crossfit Open Season. Five weeks in which I was taught a lesson. A quick and easy lesson – I was not ready. My fitness was above average but not good enough, my strength was above average but not good enough, I had experienced pain barriers but not painful enough.

It eats away at me. Lesson learnt. A healthy obsession for next year’s competition has been ignited. How do I get from here to a competitive level? Preparation and Planning.

Planning is the single most important aspect of efficient project management. Let’s not fool ourselves. The act of aspiring for any goal, when broken down into its basics, is simply a project. Whether you are Richard Froning winning his fifth consecutive Crossfit games; John Longmire commencing the Sydney Swan’s assault on the 2015 AFL Season; or Steph Curry maintaining his three-point percentage for the Warriors. They have set themselves a project, a goal, and trust me – they have a plan.

If we cannot clearly state why we go to the box; why we are doing the current movement; or what our ultimate goal is then we are randomly floating. We are just going through the motions of exercise and fitness, frankly, we are not getting enough out of ourselves. If elite athletes are following their plans, if they have goals and structured framework to achieve them, then surely we need a plan too.

Planning provides us with:

  1. A destination, a map and directions;
  2. Action steps when our motivation is low;
  3. Measurements for our progress; and
  4. Faith that the end goal will take care of itself, all we need do is focus on the immediate task.
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail
— Benjamin Franklin

Putting aside the fact that I was not experienced enough. During the planning and preparation of my assault on the 2015 Crossfit Open I failed in two aspects. First, I didn’t adequately train for my weaknesses (Olympic Lifts). Second, I did not prioritise and plan the open amongst life’s little interruptions. I have since been educated and have to come to learn that creating a plan to achieve your ultimate goal(s) is best kept simple.

From the outset we should define our ultimate goal. Then we can identify four or five Key Performance Indicators that when achieved will have us realise our ultimate goal. We can then break it down even further and find three base line exercises or routines that we can take action on immediately.

Now that we know our immediate action to take we can schedule our training regime accordingly. I like to segment my training blocks into periods of between four and six weeks. This allows me to maintain my peak performance level both physically and mentally. The 4-6 week block will also allow us to measure any improvements to our KPIs.

Once the crux of training schedule has been set, it is wise to be aware of any life interruptions ((ie; holidays, other sporting events, celebrations, etc...) and we should adapt our training to suit.

Don’t forget to plan for fun. The journey we are about to commence should be one we’ll enjoy. Achieving our ultimate goal, whilst important, should not override us. Majority of our time is taken up by the journey – that needs to be enjoyable too.

If at any stage we are uncertain, seek help. If there is a weak link in our plan, use our abundant resources. Ask a coach, read an article, send an email or ask the big unit at the gym who looks like he knows his shit (I am yet to meet a regular gym goer that doesn’t want to pass on his knowledge.) It is best to seek help at the beginning of the journey rather than get a few weeks down the track and realise we are several weeks behind schedule.

The final aspects on planning and preparation to achieve our Ultimate Goal(s) are adaptation and flexibility. Sometimes, shit happens. We may not reach a week’s goal. We might have an unexpected night out. We might (touch wood) receive an injury. Any such setback cannot be a deal breaker. Resilience in our plan will be our best friend. Realign the focus on the Ultimate Goal, adapt the plan and get at it.

Learn from my mistake. Plan properly, prepare thoroughly and enjoy the journey to achieving your Ultimate Goal.


mp@wordswithoz.com // (+61) 411 244 642