Friday, April 17, 2009

Hanging On and Letting Go

Hi Lauren.

I’ve been thinking about the concept Hanging On, and it’s opposite Letting Go, and how those terms might apply to my CrossFit training.

Let’s look at a hypothetical situation. Say I’m Hanging On to the end of a rope suspended from a cliff. Letting Go will result in falling to my death, Hang On and I live. Unfortunately in our situation I am not rescued and eventually fall to my death. I think we could all agree that since Letting Go results in a really bad day, what actually happens when I fall is a complete failure of Hanging On.

Now let’s look at a CrossFit workout. I just finished the hero workout “DT” (R.I.P. brother) which is:

Five rounds for time of:
155 pound Deadlift, 12 reps
155 pound Hang power clean, 9 reps
155 pound Push jerk, 6 reps

While being a very tough workout, it was in no way a life or death situation (though I thought I might die), and was a perfect crucible for Hanging On vs. Letting Go.

12 reps of deadlifts at 155# was no real test on its own, but was engineered to amplify the grip blasting effect of the HPC, making this workout a literal test in Hanging On. And I’ll admit it - I Let Go. I didn’t come to the limit of Hanging On - I Let Go. Which is not to say I slouched through the workout. 11:42 is a pretty good time based on what the CrossFit Monsters posted that day, but would I have been able to Hang On for a few more reps if I had been suspended from a cliff? Yes.

Interesting. Unless you fail to Hang On, you are Letting Go.

Now certainly there is a level of pacing that must come in to play. You cannot go out so fast that you can’t make it back. But if it was you Hanging On to that hypothetical rope from that hypothetical cliff could you Hang On a little bit longer? If you were being chased by a bear could you run that last 800m a little faster? If your life was at stake could you do one more round of Cindy? Could you do one more burpee or squat or row or press?

Probably. Which brings us to the cool thing, the really cool thing about CrossFit - eventually you’ll fail to Hang On (or Let Go). CrossFit is just too demanding. It will always bring you to that decision point - do I Let Go and rest, or Hang On and grind away.

I don’t know about you, but I want to Hang On a little bit longer and Let Go a little less. Maybe we should change our call to arms from 3-2-1-Go to Hanging-From-Cliff-Go.

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