The Short WOD; Why?
Seven minutes have gone by. You stop to rest your hands on your knees, look at the clock, and realize that there's still three minutes left before the workout is over. With a deep breath, you jump back onto the bar and get back to work. A semi long ten minute AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible), your favorite.
But what about the short workouts? The three to five minute burners like Fran that leave you gasping for air. Why do we do those, and what's the point? Great question!
Intensity vs Capacity
Intensity is defined as expressing a high amount of determination, energy, or concentration.
Capacity is defined as the ability to do something to our mental of physical ability.
So, what's the difference when it comes to training? When we are completing longer workouts like Filthy Fifty or Murph, we are working on our maximum working capacity over time. The higher our physical capacity, the longer that we can exert maximal effort in order to accomplish our goal. This is great, and is often a favorite among CrossFitters for feeling "accomplished," but it isn't the only form of programming!
What happens when you don't need to run a marathon, but you need to sprint?
Those three minute burners like Fran are designed, in contrast, to focus on our intensity instead of our capacity. Think of a marathon runner verse an olympic sprinter - they both serve their specific purpose. Just because it's short, doesn't mean it should be easy. In fact, quit the opposite! Long workouts require pacing, timing, and strategy over the course of the workout.
A short workout on the other hand should be an all out, no holding back experience that pushes us to our mental limit. We should be digging into the deepest parts of our psyche and physical ability to truly push ourselves to the breaking point. That's why a mixture of the two is the key to a successful program; because sometimes we don't want to run a marathon, we just want to sprint down the street.