In my first Murph post, we learned all about the Murph CrossFit Hero WOD: Run 1 mile. Perform 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats. Run another mile.
When I look at that list of work I see multiple workouts, not just one! Two miles of running is a good bit of effort for me! 200 push-ups is a workout in itself! So with Murph, we have to complete all that work? Geez. I reckon we better have a plan to tackle this beastly WOD.
So, without further ado, I present my Murph Strategy & Survival Guide.
**Two Disclaimers: 1) I am not a certified coach or trainer, or medical expert/doctor/whatever. These are purely my strategies I am considering, use at your own risk. 2) This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you click on them and purchase product, I may receive compensation at no additional cost to you.**
**Ok make that three disclaimers. This post was originally published in May 2014. It was last updated in May 2016.**
The workout can easily be looked at and broken down into run-movements-run. I’m going to assume you can run a mile without stopping, at least the first mile. If not, no problem! Run as much of that first mile as you can. You’ll be at your freshest at the beginning and for many of us CrossFitters, running sucks. And remember, this is a hero WOD. A man gave his life for his friends and his country (you and me). He had a much tougher task than running one mile; not walking is the least we can do in return.
If you’re absolutely spent after the 600 reps prior to the second run (hopefully not with some of the advice/products below) then run at the start of mile 2 and run as long as you can. The workout is over when you finish that mile. Don’t you want it over as quickly as possible? I know I will! Even if it is an ugly looking shuffle with your feet barely coming off the ground… run. You can do it. You will survive. Run it out.
Those 600 reps though…
Here’s where the real Murph Strategy comes in to play – how to break up those pull-ups, push-ups, and squats? Let’s examine a few potential plans of attack.
Wait, first you should know you can break the reps up any way you want, it’s not like the CrossFit Angie WOD where you have to do all 100 reps before moving on to the next movement. With Murph, you can tackle those movements any way you wish.
Five pull-ups, ten push-ups, fifteen squats. Sound familiar? This is the rep scheme for the Cindy benchmark WOD. Twenty rounds of this triplet will get you your 600 reps. This is probably the most “common” attack plan. This minimizes transitions between movements and prevents you from exhausting your muscles too quickly on any given exercise. I was going to implement this Murph strategy but have since changed my mind in favor of the next.
5 push-ups, 5 pull-ups, 5 push-ups, 15 squats. 20 rounds. This is for people, like myself, who get fried on push-ups fairly quickly. Given a one mile run prior to any push-ups, and given that there are two-freaking-hundred to complete, I may try this method. My fear is I will pause more with an extra transition. However, I think that would be offset by doing 5 push-ups unbroken rather than breaking up a set of 10, shaking out my arms and then finishing up. I know my limitations and push-ups are my limiting factor here.
Another word on knowing your limitations; don’t be a hero in this hero WOD. Can you rage through 20 pull-ups at the beginning? That’s awesome. I wouldn’t recommend it though. Remember the hard lesson of leaving pride and ego at the door before you enter your CrossFit box? Keep in mind that this is a looonnnng WOD. Don’t be ashamed to break up the reps or even scale if you need to. As my coach offered to me for my own strategy, remember – choose your Murph strategy around your weakest movement.
This scheme is the ultimate rep-partitioning Murph strategy. Break it up so you never do the same movement in a row, such as squats, push-ups, squats, pull-ups, squats, push-ups – repeated 20 times. Move quickly through the transitions since there will be so many. Each mini break will add up to a significant amount of rest during each “set” of the 20.
With this rep scheme you’ll be doing 33 rounds (33!) of 3 pull-ups, 6 push-ups, and 9 squats. If pull-ups are by far your limiting factor, I suggest following this scheme. Oh, and you’ll need to do one mini set of 1-2-3 to get all your reps in. I say add it to the beginning when you are freshest.
The Leg Saver
This smart plan comes from a reader’s comment – thanks Katy! Here you do 20 rounds total, but complete all your squats in the first 15. Then your legs get to rest in the last 5 rounds before heading out for that second mile run.
then 5 rounds:
Gotta have a Murph shirt! I will be wearing my CrossFit 865 Murph shirt since my box is an official host of the 2016 Murph Challenge. You could order some official Murph Challenge shirts.
If nothing else, at least grab something with some red, white, and blue in it. Because, ‘Merica.
Although… let’s be honest, many of these shirts will be coming off by the end of the WOD! That may be Murph Strategy Lesson #1 – you’ll be more awesome with your shirt off. It’s science.
Wear a shoe that is comfortable for running a mile distance but also is stable enough for all those squats – don’t just go for your favorite padded running shoes. I am a fan of Reebok Nanos. Of all the Nano shoes that exist, I prefer the 2.0s for running. I haven’t tried some of the other newer (2016) Reebok shoes made specifically for more running/body weight workouts, but those would probably be very appropriate for the Murph WOD. And then there’s always the Nike Metcons, I haven’t tried them yet but everyone that has them at my box seems to love them for running.
I’ve written before about my feelings on compression gear. My box has a 400m loop that will serve as our running track for our miles. Of course, it being in East Tennessee means it is on a hill. Hills and calves don’t get along! If you think you might enjoy the squeeze of some high quality compression calf sleeves, I invite you to try BioSkin.
Wearing BioSkin compression sleeves may help reduce the fatigue in your legs and give you that extra push to finish running that last mile. Speaking of extra push…
Energy & Hydration
For a typical WOD, I don’t take any pre-workout energy supplements. However, for special occasions I’m not opposed to adding a little extra go power. The best pre-workout energy supplement I’ve tried is X2PERFORMANCE. It gave me the least amount of jitters of any energy drink and I definitely felt the energy throughout the workout. You can read my entire X2PERFORMANCE review here if you are curious about fueling up for 2 miles and 600 repetitions.
Water is good. I suggest adding a little sea salt in your water to replace some of those electrolytes or opt for some coconut water.
Well, also Kill Cliff was found by a Navy SEAL and benefits veterans and such, and we are doing Murph so… ok now that’s enough said. Oh and Kill Cliff is delicious. I’m done.
Post Post Murph
When I am doing a lot of bar work, I like to have something between my hands and the gnarly skin-eating metal. I’ve used a few different types of hand protection, and my current favorite is Wodies. Wodies are basically like having two products in one – you get hand protection running from fingers to wrist, plus they have built-in wrist support. They are pretty awesome and there aren’t many WODs when I don’t wear them. Check them out, I highly recommend.
100 pull-ups have the potential to create some gnarly rips on your hands. Rips suck. You don’t want rips. Or tears. You may have tears though (the watery from-your-eyeballs kind).
Try and file any callouses down the night before or even two nights before, because I find that my hands are extra sensitive after especially intense callous cleansing. If your hands rip during the pull-ups, Murph is gonna suck that much worse for you. A good hand care regimen should prevent that, and my favorite hand care provider is w.o.d.welder. You can read all about my review of their products; unfortunately you can’t smell how great they smell through the screen! Also, be sure to pick up a bath bomb for your post-Murph recovery.
Rouge Fitness has a few options to choose from regarding weighted vests. They all are adjustable with the amount of weight you can carry at a time, so as you train for Murph you can build up the resistance and your stamina.
If you scroll down a little further, you’ll see one sexy beast of a man rocking one awesomely American headband. Yes, that is a Halo Headband, the only type of headband that I wear. I love them, they absolutely keep the sweat out of my eyes. For all of you that have a perspiration issue like me, I can’t recommend these headbands enough!
Eat well the night before. Have a big chunk of meat with some avocado and a baked potato. Fuel up with healthy stuff. No alcohol. Drink lots and lots and lots of water. or a majority of people, myself included, Murph will take the better part of an hour. A solid Murph strategy will only get you so far. Don’t forget all the prep work, like eating properly and…
There you have it, the definitive ifailedfran Murph Strategy & Gear Guide. Did I leave anything out? Do you have any Murph strategy recommendations you’d like to share? Any sweet gear we should know about? Share it! And please, share this post with anyone you know that will be doing a Memorial Day Murph.
Good luck to everyone celebrating Memorial Day by doing the Murph WOD. Remember the brave men and women who died serving America. Remember that no matter how much pain you feel during the workout, those that gave their lives for our freedom suffered much more. Remember that, and I guarantee you will be able to push through.