Tips for Murph

Tomorrow is the big day. CrossFitters all over the country, and world, pay tribute to our fallen heroes by performing Murph. If you haven’t read the story, put this post on hold and go read this great post that Beyond the Whiteboard wrote about it:  

Wasn’t that worth it?! How can you read that and not feel inspired to give it your best?

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, there are some things to consider and plan for to ensure a great workout without overdoing it.

  1. Hydrate. You should always stay adequately hydrated, but it’s really important with a workout like Murph. It’s a much longer workout than our average CrossFit workouts, and you will likely sweat A LOT. Your body needs to be well hydrated to operate optimally at this intensity and duration, and it needs to be able to continue operating despite loss of water through sweating. Add to that the humid conditions we expect tomorrow, and it could become a very serious health issue. So, start drinking that water TODAY and keep yourself hydrated leading up to the workout. Then be sure to drink enough water after you complete the workout. Notice I said “water”. Not sports drinks. The sugar in those could be enough to counter act any positive impact the very small amount of added electrolytes may have. There are some electrolyte replenishing products that may be helpful, such as Nuun, Ultima, or even a homemade blend (my personal preference). Remember that alcohol, caffeine, and energy drinks (Red Bull, Bang, etc) will actually pull water from your body, making it more difficult to be sufficiently hydrated with proper electrolyte balance. So, have a cup of coffee in the morning, but don’t overdo it and be sure to follow it with some water. Lay off the alcohol and energy drinks today and tomorrow. I know, I know… what would Murph be without a post-Murph beverage?! Well, if you work hard to follow all the recommendations, I imagine one beverage won’t hurt too much… Just don’t trade in the water bottle for the IPA or margaritas for the rest of the day. I also need to mention it is absolutely possible to drink too much water, and there are serious health concerns associated with it. So just be smart, drink an appropriate amount of water and avoid the things that will flush water from your body. And of course, listen to your body! If you start feeling ill, stop and rest. Don’t push beyond your limits.
  2. Modify appropriately. This workout is a lot of volume! If you’ve never done 50 pull-ups in a workout before, please don’t come in planning to do all 100. Have you done 40-50 pull-ups before? Awesome! Maybe shoot to complete 75 in Murph. This goes for unassisted, banded, or any other type. They all have the potential to cause rhabdo if performing a volume much higher than what you’re body has trained for. Also, don’t start with a more difficult version (unassisted, red band) and then scale to an easier version (using a band or a thicker band) if you reach failure. The recommendation would be to either go to ring rows or stop pull-ups altogether. This applies to the push-ups and air squats as well, but rhabdo is a little more common with pull-ups. We will have 3 different suggestions on the board for the workout, pick the one that will challenge you but leave you able to come back on Tuesday! Be smart, know your limits, stay healthy to do it again next time and see your progress.
  3. Vest or No Vest? We get this question a lot. Some feel they need to wear a weight vest or it doesn’t “count”. Some avoid the vest because they don’t want their score to take a hit. Neither of these approaches are that great. Here I’ll tackle the vest-or-bust group. If you have not done any training with a vest, this is not the day. You could seriously injure yourself. Also, if you haven’t completed unvested Murph under 45 minutes, you really shouldn’t be attempting it with a vest just yet. Once you have the capacity to complete it in under 45 minutes, go ahead and start training with a vest! Start with running 400m, 3 rounds of Cindy (5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 squats), and then run 400m. If that goes well, a week or two later increase the run to 800m and perform 5 rounds of Cindy. Continue this every few weeks or so, adding just a bit more until you get to a mile and 15 rounds of Cindy. At that point your body will be acclimated to the vest and you will be able to successfully complete a weighted Murph without destroying your body, or worse. Just be sure to continue practicing every so often. You don’t want to do all that work, let 7 months go by without any more vest training, and then attempt Murph with a vest! I’ll also go ahead and throw this challenge out there- if you haven’t done it without a vest in a few years, and you don’t have a vested time that is sub 50 minutes- go without the vest and push yourself to see what you can do.
  4. Be ready to share. CrossFit Paladin usually has a great turnout for Murph. Which means a great vibe, lots of energy and high fives, and sharing space on the pull-up rig. Please understand that we need to be willing to share an area. Most likely you will not be able to claim a bar all to yourself. Be sure to keep that in mind when setting up boxes, bands, or your push-up and squat area. Some people will need to use the rings, others will need bands, and others will need boxes. If you see someone with a set up similar to what you would use, see if you can share with them! The pull-ups take the least amount of time in the workout, that makes it easy to share one spot with 2 or 3 people. We plan to start in waves this year, that should alleviate some of the crowding. But I anticipate a good turnout so we will still need to work together!
  5. Wear your best patriotic gear!!! Anything that says “America” is perfect.


Hopefully these tips will be helpful for you! One last word about the weather- like I said above, it’s likely to be humid tomorrow. Don’t be surprised or disappointed if you don’t PR or even finish a few minutes slower than last time. We are not used to the humidity, and it really impacts the workout (trust me, I suffered through it today. And yes, my time was slower than usual.). Just remember the WHY behind the workout. We are doing this to honor all the fallen soldiers. Don’t let your dissatisfaction with performance overshadow that.


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