On Monday of this week, we built up to a 1RM snatch. Although I haven’t snatched in awhile, the last time I did snatch felt great. The weight felt light. The position felt good. So, I walked into the gym this week ready to hit a PR (AKA personal record).
Except, I didn’t.
Still, I had a great training day. I felt good. Snatching felt as close to “natural” as it can for me. I came up 10 lbs shy of tying my PR, which in the grand scheme of things means I lifted 94% of my max. Not a bad day!
A few weeks ago, we defined what a “good day” in the gym looks like. Conspicuously missing from that list was “hitting a personal record.” Today, we’re going to dive in a bit more and discuss why.
What Goes Into a PR
Have you ever made a meal that just tasted absolutely incredible? You eagerly bookmark the recipe. Except, when you go to make it again, it just doesn’t taste quite the same. Sure, it’s good, but it’s not incredible.
Tracking down why can be incredibly tough. There are a lot of factors that can go into how a meal tastes, including something as seemingly unrelated as your mental state.
Similarly, there are a ton of factors that influence how and when you hit a PR including:
- How much you slept the night before
- Stress level
- How recovered you are from previous training sessions
- How warmed up you are
- Your mental state
- Your recent training history
- The atmosphere in the gym
- The time of day
…the list goes on. On thing to notice is that many of the elements above actually have nothing to do with your 1RM attempt! They’re related elements like sleep, stress, and nutrition.
When you hit a PR, a bunch of these elements line up to create an ideal scenario!
Presto! You walk up to the bar and knock it out of the park.
Stars Don’t Align Every Day
The key point to understand is that it’s an amazing day when even half of these factors align. The perfect nutrition, surrounding atmosphere, recovery, stress level, and warm-up – that’s a rare thing!
Yet, because we’re humans, we walk into the gym each day we repeat a lift or a benchmark workout and expect to hit a lifetime best.
If you’re just starting out in CrossFit, it’s entirely possible that you do hit a PR each time you walk into the gym. You’re still learning movement patterns and perfecting lifts. Weight seems to fly on the bar. Your cardio and strength levels are increasing drastically.
As we get more experienced in CrossFit, the PR pace naturally slows down. We need more of those items listed above to align to create a PR situation.
And that’s totally okay for two reasons:
- It’s pretty amazing that you’re able to hit 90+% of your best on any given day. Just take a minute and understand how special that is!
- When PRs do happen, you can take a few minutes to soak it in. It’s a special moment!
If you hit a PR on Monday or tomorrow when we’re working on clean and jerk, ring that PR bell and celebrate like crazy. Feel proud of yourself!
If you don’t, that’s totally okay (and natural)! You’re not going to PR every day. Just focus on coming in and lining up a string of consistent “good days” in the gym. That’s all we can do!