Let’s take walk through a sample workout. Imagine the workout for the day is 8 x 100m run with a 90 second rest in between each 100 meters.
Athlete 1 sprints the 100’s in about 12 seconds each round.
Athlete 2 jogs the 100’s in 30 seconds per round.
Each athlete gets their 90 seconds of rest and completes all 8 sets. But which one got the better workout?
It depends on the intent of the workout. Are the athletes very untrained and trying to improve their aerobic conditioning? Are they trying to improve their power output with sprint training? One is not necessarily better than the other, but understanding the intent behind a workout is key to knowing how to perform it.
Understanding the desired effect of a workout will help you understand how to perform that workout. A 4 minute all out burner is going to feel different than grinding through a 20 min AMRAP. Each workout we write has an intended effect and is designed to elicit a specific response.
Keeping in mind the intended response may require us to modify the weights or the movements used in order to keep up with the workout. “Fran” (21-15-9 thrusters and pull ups) is a lot different if you have to finish it under 5 minutes than if you slog through it RX in 12 minutes. Yes, we did it at RX, but the effect would have been different using 65 lbs and jumping pull ups to finish under 5 minutes. One method is not wrong or right, it’s all a matter of the goal of the workout and the energy system we aim to use.
Ask your coach the intent of your daily workout, then train accordingly. If you don’t know, ask! Keep working hard!