OPEN SERIES - WEEK 10: Building a Training Calendar for CrossFit


Does the Open have you interested in competing? Wondering what you need to do to participate outside of our gym in CrossFit? Take our Friday nights to the next level by participating in a local CrossFit competition. In the past few years, we have sent athletes to the following three listed below. This is by no means an exhaustive list! However, these three can help us structure a pretty good training schedule throughout the year. If you imagine your big competition, your A Race, is Granite Games, run in St. Cloud, MN, on the second weekend in September, your training calendar can essentially be split into quarters. Today, I’m going to break down a very doable, very approachable CrossFit training plan for you. Whether you’re scaled or Rx’d or somewhere in between, the ultimate goal is to keep improving. Sometimes competitions, committing time (and let’s face it, money) to something, keep us focused on our goals.

In our training calendar, our first quarter is about the Open in February and March, and as you’re finding out, that’s all about engine and gymnastics. From there, you can pick a focus and then test that focus in May down on the MSU-Mankato campus, our B Race. The SISU Summer Throw down is more of a fun competition, perhaps your C Race. It’s outside, it’s more relaxed and you can sleep in your own bed. Yet it provides another opportunity to challenge yourself and test the goals you set during the Open. The fourth quarter starts with Granite Games. Complete your final competition of the year and then you have a full four and a half months to gear up for next years Open, another A Race. This is typically when athletes will attack a strength cycle and let their conditioning become secondary for a few months while they focus solely on lifting more.

As a disclaimer, I am by no means relegating an competition as less important than another. I'm simply showing you a way to set up your training during a calendar year. If you're new to competing, it would be wise to choose one of the smaller comps (Mankato or SISU) and make that your A Race. Gain some experience, train really hard for one weekend, and see if you like it! Then you can build on your training plan for the next year, once you've decided you want to take that next step.

Returning to our outline in the paragraph above, your training year now may look like this:

January – March – The Open

*Engine & gymnastics capacity. Strength is secondary (focus is to maintain if not even drop a bit).

April – June – GameDay Mankato

*Competition falls within this time period but you’ve picked a focus from the Open – gymnastics, strength, barbell cycling, general conditioning, etc. – and you’ve geared your training towards that. Mankato merely provides a vehicle to test our progress. Think of it as a B race.

July – September – SISU Throwdown

*Totally for fun outdoor competition that again allows you to test progress but more to experience a competition environment without having to book a hotel room. Training right now is focused on conditioning and getting geared up for Granite Games. Most likely, the GG qualifier is occurring during this block as well so you’ll know what you need to be working on to have a good showing middle of September.

October – December – Off-season

*Strength, Strength and more strength. It takes years to develop strength, months to build an engine. Give the conditioning a rest and hop into Strength class with Coach Tony. Focus on eating more food and getting good rest. If you’re a CrossFit diehard, maybe one metcon a week but other than that, try to keep your focus on building your lifts, both power and weightlifting.

I’ve included more information about the competitions we’ve outlined above. Read through and see if you are interested! And if you are, don’t hesitate to ask a coach about where to start. By no means do you have to do all of these. Pick one or pick none! This is just one example of a framework for competition in various local competitions. At the end of the day, we use competition to keep you focused on your goals and keep you accountable in your training. 

-Coach Caitlin

2017 Upcoming CrossFit Competitions

Game Day Mankato – May 20-21

  • 2 days, 6 workouts on the MSU-Mankato campus
  • Registration: 3/13/17 @ 10AM
  • Divisions:
    • Individual ($200)
      • Rx Men – 20 spots
        • Rx women – 10 spots
      • Scaled Men – 20 spots
      • Scaled women – 20 spots
    • Team ($550; $137.50 per person)
      • Rx Team of 4 (MMFF) – 20 spots
      • Scaled Team of 4 (MMFF) – 20 spots

This is a pretty well run event on the campus of Minnesota State Mankato. The programming is okay – they are already releasing workouts for this year (2RM Thruster is a thing! If you go to their website you can see what they've released so far). Plenty of places to stay around the area so booking a hotel usually isn't an issue. It's not an overly huge competition so a good “first competition experience.”

Insider Tips: I definitely recommend staying Friday and Saturday night even though the event is just Saturday to Sunday. Last year, the schedule was a little weird. Individuals did their events early on Saturday and later in the afternoon on Sunday. Long weekend for them. Teams did their events in the afternoon on Saturday and the morning on Sunday, which was actually really nice.

For more information, go here:


SISU Summer Throwdown – July 7-8

The biggest perk of this competition is you can sleep in your own bed! This competition is just west of the cities at CrossFit SISU’s Excelsior location. Typically a male/female Co-ed Comp, they usually have about 30-40 teams for both RX’d and scaled divisions. Last year, they added a Master’s (40+) division as well. Usually about 200 athletes. You get to workout outside in the sunshine which is unique and actually really nice! Also a smaller production, so it’s not as intimidating and it’s fun to have members from the gym come out and watch since it’s so close! There's plenty to do in downtown Excelsior too with ample restaurants and the Excelsior Brewery.

They don’t have updated information up yet for 2017, but you can check out division standards here:


Granite Games 2017 – September 8-10

This is a three day competition and about the closest you’ll get to feeling like a high-level athlete in CrossFit. It is an extremely well run event, with decent programming and plenty to watch. You will participate in eight events over the course of three days. We have always sent Open Teams of 3. This year, the divisions are as such: Elite, AsRX, Intermediate, Scaled, Masters 35+

Here are the division standards for last year (it will likely be different this year with the expanded divisions):

This year qualification and registration are a little different. PLEASE read the following, especially if you are interested in Granite Games 2017 (these dates will come up fast):

  1. Qualifier (you HAVE TO participate to compete in September) Registration for Teams of 3: April 17, 2017
  2. There will be two qualifiers this year, one for individual and community teams (of 4 athletes) and one for Open Teams of 3. Open Team of 3 qualifier:  July 5-17th
    1. What is it? We will have 12 days to complete a series of workouts. These workouts will NOT have to be completed with our teammates – our individual scores will comprise our team score (so your team HAS TO be established at registration in April) and teams will be ranked at the end of the qualifier and that will categorize you into a division (OR you might have to select your division upon registration…I’m not sure yet). They are doing this to provide for more competitive divisions this year apparently…and I think to keep over qualified teams from sandbagging and signing up for lower divisions.
    2. Teams that rank in the top for the qualifier will be eligible for EARLY REGISTRATION for Teams of 3. If you do not receive early registration, you will still be eligible to register when it becomes available to the public.
  3. REGISTRATION FOR GG IS STRESSFUL. You need to have a team member who can literally register the moment it opens. All spots were gone in 30 seconds last year.
  4. We sent 27 athletes to Granite Games last year (9 teams of 3). It was a great experience and there were some really fun and challenging events. If you are at all interested, you need to start to get your team committed NOW. The qualifier registration in April won’t fill up but you do need your team established. You’ll also need to be available to complete likely 4-5 workouts over that 12 day span in July so you can submit your scores and hopefully qualify your team for early bird registration.
  5. You will have to pay (it was $25 last year) to participate in the qualifier. The registration fee if you get signed up for the event in September is ~$200 per person. This covers venue fees, equipment usage, event staff, and swag that you’ll receive when you get there. This is easily the priciest of the competitions, so if you're not all the way in yet, try out one of the smaller comps first (which will run you closer to $100-150).

*As we find out more information we will be sure to make you aware of it. I would encourage you to keep checking these websites and their associated Facebook pages, as they tend to release a lot of information on social media.