I keep going back and forth on whether I want to incorporate Cross Fit workouts into my normal routine of running, lifting, pushups, pullups and situps. Dave and Emily are big proponents of it and it has gone from fringe to mainstream in the last year.
Key benefits to the workouts include: 1) It is unpredictable, incorporating different routines everyday; the next day's workout is not posted until that night so there is little chance of boredom; 2) Each routine has a goal - either complete a specified workout as quick as possible or how much can you do in a set time. Since I am obsessed by the clock, this is perfect for my motivation; 3) A lot of the exercises are ones everyone does so it's easy to brag; e.g., I did 100 pullups, 100 pushups, 100 air squats and 100 situps in 15 minutes! (I didn't really - I'm not doing that workout until I can do 20 pullups straight; 4) it gets you ripped - almost every person on the Cross Fit site is in incredible shape and these aren't models.
And it gets even better. There is even a Cross Fit Endurance (CFE) site for runners, bikers and swimmers who want to incorporate it into their life. Each day you do the normal Cross Fit WOD (workout of the day) and another one specific to your endurance sport. The workouts aren't my normal 8 mile runs - they mostly alternate between race pace workouts for 3-6 miles or intervals of 400-800 meters. Thes site claims, and it is backed up by testimonials, that you can do a marathon on as little as 15 miles a week.
Here is the problem. My number one goal this year is to qualify for the 2009 Boston Marathon which will require me to run sub 3.30. So far, I have not found any examples of CFE athletes who can run that fast, and this isn't exactly a blazing time. Most of the testimonials are for people who basically trained just to finish rather than excel. I'm not trying to win any races but it seems kind of ridiculous for CFE to rip traditional endurance training as bogus when they aren't offering athletes who are excelling with the CFE routine. It is admirable that they have these people who did 50 mile races after losing 100 pounds on CFE but I aspire to more than not being fat.
I'm not ruling Cross Fit Endurance out - I have just seen no evidence how it will help me reach my goal more than my ongoing an eternal 8 mile runs.