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Open Release Day: How to Prepare for Your First Attempt

 Happy Open announcement day! Today, for most of you, is about recovery, and preparation for the workout release. When most of us think of recovery day we might think sitting on the couch doing nothing and or just avoiding the gym. There are multiple facets that affect our recovery though, and multiple things that factor into our stress levels. As our goal is to be as recovered as possible for tomorrow, things like anxiety, sore/fatigued muscles, and brain fog, are all things that can be playing into how we are feeling and affect how we perform tomorrow. In this post I wanted to take a second to break down some of these things, and give you guys some tools to help recover from the things you are feeling in order to perform optimally tomorrow.


This I think is where most of us will fall on the spectrum. Whenever something is unknown anxiety tends to run really high. As humans we like to be prepared for the future and things to come, and when we don’t know what the workout is going to be or our performance on it, and hints purposefully meant to play with our emotions from Dave Castro, we can end up spiraling and letting our cortisol and epi levels run too high for too long. Here is a list of things we can do to curb that anxiety and bring us back into a more relaxed state.

1). Meditation:

Our breath is one of the biggest tools we have when it comes to controlling our CNS, inhaling and exhaling through the nose with a big diaphragm expansion and longer exhales than inhales will help to take us out of a sympathetic state and bring us into a Parasympathetic State (PS). There is often a negative condentation around meditation, thinking that you have to be focused for long periods of time, but the reality is that meditation is the process of going in and out of focus. It also allows us to solely focus on our breathing, even if it is for short bouts. That intentional focus will go a long way to bringing you back into a PS state.

2). Take A Nap:

Sleep is already one of the most important aspects to performance, and since everything has opened back up post pandemic, our lives have gotten perpetually busier to maintain the status quo. Often this results in giving up something, and the easiest thing for us to do is give up sleep. As we should know, sleep is one of the leading performance enhancers, and lack of sleep is one of the leading performance inhibitors. You literally can’t outwork poor sleep no matter how hard you try. Lack of sleep can also lead to a myriad of other health related problems, which in turn can affect performance, but one thing specifically is it can raise our anxiety levels. While naps can be viewed as lazy they have some pretty substantial health benefits and performance benefits.

Soreness/Muscle Fatigue

This will come into play for most of you training for QF’s. You will have training leading up to the open test and will likely be a little sore or fatigued heading into the workout. There are a plethora of things you can do to work on this during your recovery day, the biggest being getting body work done. Although it is difficult to schedule this the day of, hopefully you have already put things on your schedule. These are things that you can do on your own with things you should have access to.

1). Contrast Shower:

This is great for increasing blood flow and regulating your CNS. This is a very simplified statement on contrast showers, and there is some conflicting evidence on hot and cold therapy as stand alone treatments, throwing both at you will help to balance the two and not just give you the best of one vs the other. It will help you flush a lot of the inflammation from your body and release endorphins into the brain. You can supercharge this by doing a sauna and then a cold plunge back into a sauna if you have access to something like this.

2). Foam rolling:

Everyone should have access to a foam roller, spending 2-5 minutes on a section of the body will help to release some of the tension you have created from training. If possible spending 20 minutes upwards of 60 minutes foam rolling will help to alleviate a lot of the tension in your body and help speed up the recovery process.

3). Walking:

I put walking down, but any sort of active recovery/flow session will always be helpful in getting blood flowing. Walking is just one of the most underutilized training tools and active recovery tools for CF’ers. This will generally put your HR at around 120 BPM, and going for 30 minutes will be adequate time to improve blood flow in order to flush out the lymphatic system. I wouldn’t suggest going longer than 30 min on either a flow piece or walk as that can start to get into a training modality, especially if you aren’t used to walking.


This one might be unique to some people, but in order to perform well your CNS needs to be balanced. For some people if they have too much of a taper and not enough stimulation they will end up lethargic and actually have a loss of power output. If this is the case your CNS needs some stimulation, and actually doing an active recovery day followed by 1-2 SHORT sprints will get your CNS ramped up and balanced out. There are also some breathing techniques that you can use.

1). SOMA Breathing:

This is basically the opposite of what you are trying to do with meditation. You are going to try to make your inhales longer than your exhales. Doing something as simple as a 4 second inhale 2 second exhale through the mouth with pursed lips. Do this for 10 to 20 cycles with a big inhale and LONG exhale at the end you should feel a drastic change in your energy levels. This will give a little bit of an adrenaline dump and get you a little energy boost.

The Last thing I wanted to cover was visualization. This is one of the most underutilized tools in the sport, and I think it always will be. The narrative we tell ourselves in our head is our reality. Visualization gives us the ability to shape and control our reality. When we can successfully construct a positive and high performance visual in our head if we sit down and focus on it. When the workout is released, imagine yourself working through the workout. Run through your game plan in your head, and imagine yourself being successful through the challenging parts of the workout. If you are able to create as real of a visual as possible it will be like you have already done the workout, without actually doing the workout. All senses should be involved in this process and when you are doing this there should be no distractions. As you get better at this you will be able to do this on the fly and dial in your focus to the specific portions of the workout that will be challenging for you, allowing you to get extra work in.

Good luck on 23.2 and looking forward to seeing everyone's success!



Contrast Showers:


SOMA Breathing: