The running in most CrossFit WODs, certainly the benchmark WODs, is 400 meters. There are some 800m runs, a mile on Murph, and some others, but for the most part they are not short blast type sprints. The case is the same with rowing. Some 500s and a 1000 here or there, but pretty much nothing a 100m or less. I think this is a mistake.
CF West faces a parking lot almost 100m long and about 20m wide. These two distances (double for the width–40m) are rapidly becoming a staple in our programming. Most trainees run 400m during a WOD, Helen for example, in 1:30 to 2 minutes. For most people, this really isn’t an all out sprint. Forty meters to 100m, however, takes much less time and can truly be an all out effort. Trainees that can’t run even 400m due to various injuries can generally handle the shorter sprints. I have found that another benefit of short, really fast, sprints right in front of the box is that trainees tend to run harder and faster if a coach is right there watching them. The equivalent row is 100m for the same distance run and about 75m for a 40m run.
I like to program short sprints into CrossFit staples and other WODs to throw off the trainees’ rhythm, force them to lift heavy while hypoxic, encourage linear explosion, and just liven things up. A few of my favorites are: Grace with a sprint every 5 reps, 1 heavy clean and jerk and a 40m sprint on the minute for 15 minutes, 2 heavy deadlifts and a 100m sprint for 5 rounds, and others.
There is nothing for fitness quite like heavy lifting with a high heart rate. Try adding short all out sprints into your training. You can mix them right into any WOD. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
How do you use sprints in your training? Please post thoughts to Comments.
1 Clean and Jerk 85% 1RM
On the minute every minute for 15 minutes.