Murph Primer by Mike “Rothy” Roth


As many of you likely know, I have done Murph for the last 9 Mondays as part of a
fundraiser (Murph for Meals) for Meals on Wheels Chapel Hill and CORA Food Pantry.
Thanks to all of you who have donated! If you would like to help feed folks in the area,
please check us out at Go Fund Me – Murph for Meals.

I have learned a ton about doing Murph during this endeavor, and thought I would share
those lessons, as you prepare for Memorial Day!

Murph is hard on the body and the mind. Show up ready. Doing Murph tired and/or hung
over sucks. Treat yourself right on Sunday, do a little extra stretching/mobility and get a
good night’s sleep.

On Monday morning, make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to get a nice warm-up –
stretch, jog a bit, pick the music you’ll be listening to (using headphones on the mile run is
advisable), decide where you are going to do your pull-ups, push-ups and squats. Don’t
come back from the run and try to figure this out – you want to be able to get right into your
first round of work. Have a way to count your rounds – I promise you will not remember
where you are in the workout once you get moving. I use chalk and make a line on the
ground for each round I finish. Chalk lines on the rig that you can erase as you go is easy,
and you will know how much work you have left.

If you are doing partner-Murph, know who your partner is and make sure you are on the
same page with your plan of attack. Communication is paramount. You make your “money”
with quick transitions, so always be talking, and ready to start the next movement
immediately after your partner finishes.

The first step in planning is to understand what you are trying to accomplish. Are you
trying to hit a specific time? Trying to beat last year’s PR? Or are you just trying to finish?
If you are chasing a time, lay out some “mile markers” – how fast do you want to run the
first mile, when should you get to halfway, when do you want to leave for the final run.
Make sure you have a clock you can see, or someone to update you on your time. Don’t
forget the second half of the workout will likely take you longer than the first, so take that
into account when you make your plan.

If you are not chasing a specific time, don’t bother looking at the clock until you finish. The
clock is going to keep ticking, and will get into your head. Just go out and do the work, and
you’ll know your time at the end of the workout.

I reward myself with “scheduled breaks” and allow myself to grab a quick drink and chalk
up after specific rounds. This avoids constantly stopping during the wod.

How you break Murph down depends on your personal strengths. If you are a good runner,
take advantage of that and know that you might be slower during the “calisthenics” but will
make your time up during the miles. If you are a slower runner, accept that and try to be
faster in the middle part of the workout. You are not going to magically become a 6-minute
miler, or string together butterfly pull-ups, for the first time on Memorial Day.

The key is finding a pace you can stick with. You want to spend as little time as possible
resting, so go into the workout with a plan that works for you. KEEP MOVING, even if that
means breaking the work into bite size pieces.

Push-Ups are the limiting factor in Murph. Divide up the work based on how many
unbroken push-ups you can do consistently. If you are wearing a weight vest, this might be
less than usual. Once the push-ups go away, the suffering really begins. Here are some
ways to break the work up, which give you push-up options.

A) 20 rounds of Cindy – 5 Pull-Ups, 10 Push-Ups, 15 Squats (I do this, but in most
rounds I do 10 squats, take 2 steps back to the pull-up bar, then do the last 5).
B) 20 rounds of 5 Push-Ups, 5 Pull-Ups, 5 Push-Ups, 15 Squats (more transitions, but
breaking the push-ups into 5’s keeps you moving)
C) 10 rounds of 10 Pull-Ups, 20 Push-Ups, 30 Squats (not for beginners!! Less
transitions, but way more pain)
D) 50 rounds of 2 Pull-Ups, 4 Push-Ups, 6 Squats (I think there are too many
transitions, but some folks believe the advantage is you will never have to stop)
E) Unpartitioned – 100 Pull-Ups, 200 Push-Ups, 300 Squats (not for the faint of heart,
or anyone wanting to do anything else for a week!)

The final mile is going to hurt. Period. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and
remind yourself it’s almost over! Your body is capable of more than your mind, so don’t
listen to the voices telling you to slow down, or walk. Try to sprint up that hill to the finish
line, it’s worth it.

The first thing you should do when you finish Murph (and can breathe again) is
“carbohydrate replacement therapy.” That’s right drink a beer. You just finished Murph –
you deserve one. Great job!

As exhausted as you will be, stick around to stretch a little and cool down correctly. Murph
is gonna beat you up, and you need to start the recovery process immediately. An Epsom
Salt bath is a really good idea as well; it really helps the muscles start to loosen up. Taking
Tuesday off is probably a good idea too.

Take pride in the fact that you have participated in one of the oldest CrossFit traditions, and
congratulate yourself for a job well done 🙂

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