Michele Letendre’s Deka Comp Specialized Program Preps Athletes for 2024 TYR Wodapalooza
Since retiring from elite CrossFit competition in 2016, six-time CrossFit Games athlete Michele Letendre has established herself as one of the top coaches and leaders in the field. She is currently the coach of five-time Games podium finisher Pat Vellner, she coached Laura Horvath as she took second place at the 2018 CrossFit Games, and has worked with Ellie Turner and James Newbury, all in addition to running her business.
Deka Comp: As the founder of Deka Comp, a company providing programming for individuals and gyms, Letendre has just recently launched a TYR Wodapalooza-specific training plan, for those athletes that qualified for the event and need guidance on how to perform best once they touch down in Miami come January. As arguably the most seasoned and decorated TYR Wodapalooza coach, (leading Vellner to three consecutive first-place individual finishes at the event, and a 2023 win in the team division, as he competed as part of PB&J alongside fellow Canadians Jeffrey Adler and Brent Fikowski), Letendre knows a thing or two about TYR Wodapalooza preparedness.
TYR Wodapalooza-specific Training: Dylan Malitsky’s programming for TYR Wodapalooza, throughout both the qualifiers and at the live event, are notoriously challenging, rife with heavy weights and high volume. The workouts are also notably unique, combining barbells and machines with lateral jumping, open water swimming, drag ropes, sled flips, and sandbag bear hugs, (among much more). Anyone who has ever attended the event or streamed it at home has seen that TYR Wodapalooza is big, bright, loud and fun, which in turn is reflected in the workouts.
Cut to me, in my office, reading about Letendre’s program, organizing myself for the day and scheduling out Instagram stories to promote Deka Comp and the details of the training plan. While I love all things TYR Wodapalooza, (and all things Miami), I have never competed in it, nor have I ever attempted to qualify. I consider myself a CrossFit athlete, in the sense that I compete against myself, my gym, the broader community during the CrossFit Open, and at the occasional live event. But, while I won’t be competing in Miami, I will be attending, and working there, and thus, very invested in the event as a whole.
So I thought, fuck it…
I’m going to sign up for this, and train for TYR Wodapalooza as if I were competing, to stay motivated, to give myself structure, and as a push to spend less time hunched in front of my computer and over my phone. I’ve never before worked off a training plan, but instead just rolled up at my affiliate and casually played the cards that had been dealt to me that day with no goal or endgame in mind.
Where I’m at: Let me just emphasize that I’m in no way an elite athlete. I’ve been CrossFitting for nine years now and can hold my own when it comes to some things, but I struggle with a heavy barbell and most machines and am overall just pretty awkward when it comes to moving my body in general. (Picture moderately fit-looking, but in a gangly way, wild hair, limited spatial awareness.)
But, I love it all. I love improving, I love sweating, I love failing, I love learning. So when this chance presented itself to me, on the eve of my favorite annual event, (and coincidentally on the eve of my 40th birthday in December), I enthusiastically said yes.
Currently, I’m about a week into the plan and have been learning the value of volume accumulation. For an athlete actually competing at TYR Wodapalooza, this is key, as competitors will amass huge volume in a short amount of time. In a story in the Morning Chalk Up in 2021, Letendre shared insight into her 80-20 plan that she instituted with Vellner, with 80 percent of his training being low-intensity, high volume and only 20 percent being high-intensity, hard-push workouts.
The training plan will shift throughout: there is a five-week build-up phase, a one-week de-load and then three to four weeks of intensity focus. Days look like double training sessions, multiple accessory routines, heavy technical focus, running progressions and one swim workout per week. The last two weeks will be determined based on the programming of the live event.
As I’ve been logging my scores, weights and workouts, I’ve been able to check in with Letendre via the Train Heroic app, ask questions and seek any clarification. I also know that if I skip that set of wide grip pullups or the FTP Bike Erg test, she’ll know I did.
So I don’t.
The big picture: The TYR Wodapalooza Deka Comp training plan is available to any and all athletes preparing to compete in January, or for anyone who wants to be a fit-as-hell spectator. It’s given me a challenge and a goal that I didn’t have before, and accountability which is something I’ve realized I need, if I want to do more than my 45-minute house WOD each day.
Sign up now to be a part of the Deka Comp TYR Wodapalooza Training Community, and check out my Instagram account (@nicky.freymond) to see a lanky, awkward CrossFitter achieve
greatness notable and enthusiastic improvement.
All opinions are my own, and not that of Morning Chalk Up. This is not a sponsored piece.