This weekend see us tackle our annual go at the famous Hero Workout, “Murph”. Its one of the most famous ‘named’ workouts CrossFit has ever released. Arguably its one the hardest out there too.
A big reason why its considered one of the hardest is because of the vast volume thats within the workout. A cool 2 miles (3.2 kms) of running. And Hundreds of pull ups & push ups & air squats dotted in between the running. Couple that with the fact that you can don a weight vest too, this one bites!
Allow us to offer some tips to you to prepare yourself for the big day. To get the best out of the WoD itself, & all importantly, to recover afterward!
We have two full days before Saturday. Let us make this clear, START HYDRATING NOW! Don’t wait till Friday night, worse yet Saturday morning to start getting the fluids in. Get the H2O in now. Better yet throw a Hydralyte tablet in a few of your glasses too, the electrolytes & minerals will help you absorb your water better & thus help get you to, & maintain, a state of being adequately hydrated. Please note: If you end up getting in something like 3 litres of water yet you pound 5 cups of coffee & a Coke zero that same day you will still be DE-hydrated. For every non-water beverage you consume make it up with the same ml of water afterward.
Starting Thursday night start increasing your food intake a touch. We aren’t talking chowing down on a whole 12″ pizza to yourself on top of dinner. Just add in some extra sweet potato on your plate. Come Friday think about the effect you can have on your body for Saturday by adding small touches of extra protein, carb & fat to your days normal intake. Again we are not saying to eat 5 massive meals. Just a bit more than normal of good, wholesome food.
If you know yourself to be a bit tight or niggly in certain spots (such as the hips for example). Add in a mobility session to your evening routine. If you already do this of an evening then spend 5 minutes more on it. Don’t geek out about the whats & wheres on foam rolling. Just focus on the large ‘global’ muscles that will need to be on point come Saturday. Think you Quads, your Glutes, your Lats, Your Pecs, etc.
Try to get some extra sleep in you over the next two nights. Take it from me (Karl), a lack of sleep makes a HUGE difference to performance! HUGE! If you can grab an extra hour please do. We fully understand that life is complex and is of course your main priority but at the very least try not to lose out on what would be a normal nights sleep for you.
The WOD itself:
There are many ways in which to tackle this workout. Over the years we have tried & seen nearly every variation known out there. The only constant that must remain is that the workout starts & finishes with those long runs. In between that you are freely allowed to partition up those reps in any fashion you deem fit.
Some popular choices include breaking the 100/200/300 into routines like:
- 10 rounds of 10/20/30
- 20 rounds of 5/10/15 (aka “Cindy”)
- 20 rounds of 5/5/15/5 (the push ups broken into two sets within the one set)
- 33 1/3 rounds of 3/6/9 (good option if choosing a weight vest)
- 50 rounds of 2/4/6 (again another good option for a weight vest or a way to make this WoD more metabolic & try to beat an exisiting time)
Another way of doing this would be to go “as written” and do all reps in the order written. (Note: this way can get quite slow & thus the intensity will lower in the push up section. Not to mention the fact that a 1 mile shuffle-run after 300 consecutive air squats won’t be fun!)
Should you opt for one of our scale options of less reps then the same principles can apply in breaking up the routine and choosing a scheme to keep you moving.
Whichever method you do choose base it on A: your overall goal in the workout, and B: your weakest move of the triplet. Most peoples weaker move will be the push ups so choose based off of that. If when hitting “Barbara” a few weeks back you noticed yourself coming down to 1’s, 2’s or 3’s on your push ups then consider an option that keeps the sets of push ups low throughout. As far as what your goal is. Is it just to complete all the reps or has it to beat an old time?
Whilst we all do like to strive for a time & a score, etc. The great thing about “Murph” is the sense of achievement at the end. This is a very real goal in itself. You just completed a buck ton of work and showed yourself just how capable you actually are. No matter what the time may say at the end you can be happy with the achievement of getting through it all and having your very own ‘Murph tale’ to tell others for years to come!
You’ve done “Murph”, now what???
Well this is quite possibly more important than all the stuff above. What you do in the time following “Murph” will dictate how the long weekend & possibly the start of next week goes for you!!
Firstly all the points written in the preparation section above can apply here. Get the water down you. not just one glass afterward but keep consuming it through the day (as you should do anyways). Eat some great whole food. This is NOT the time to splurge on 5 donuts because you did 200 push ups. Have a cheat meal for sure but don’t go on a big bender all day Saturday justifying all the crap just because you did a long workout.
“What about Alcohol? Its the long weekend after all!” As your trainers we will always tell you that drinking after a big bodyweight WoD is not good for you. You NEED to be adequately hydrated after to allow your body to be efficient at flushing all the toxins in your body that you get when muscles get broken down through vigorous exercise. Drinking alcohol will only harm this ‘flushing process’ because your liver will too busy flushing out all the alcohols toxins instead. This is why you may have heard some stories about the dreaded “Rhabdo”!!
Rhabdo can occur after heavy/high volume Bodyweight workouts that involve pull ups, push ups or sit ups. Basically to simplify things once the body has asked you to stop doing a particular movement (& you ignore that signal in the heat of the moment), we can coerce our body to continue with things like the kipping method. Lets use the pull up as an example. There are two ways this can go badly. Firstly you start doing kipping pull ups, then 40 reps in you want a band to help you. 20 reps after that you can’t get any more out so you seek out another band or maybe go to ring rows for the remainder. Or the other thing might be that you have the strength to pump out a bunch of kipping pull ups but you haven’t accumulated a good amount of volume in the move before this workout. In both cases the overuse of the muscles leads to some big breakdowns of the tissues and as such more repair is needed from the body. your body is working overtime to correct things but when you add alcohol in the mix it hinders the recovery hugely this is where it can creep and swelling can occur. (note: delayed onset muscle soreness, or ‘DOMS’ is a different thing and can happen to lots of people. This is vastly different to Rhabdo & not dangerous).
We have only ever had a couple of mild cases of this in our 5 1/2 years & EVERY one of them involved the person having alcohol after the event.
Now we’d like to point out that we are VERY CONFIDENT you won’t fall foul of this because we educate you on it. We also don’t allow things like mid-WoD scale changes described above for this very reason. We are not saying you have to be holier than thou but if you are having one or two drinks on Saturday then damn well be sure you were hydrating during the day & continue to drink water in-between alcoholic drinks.
As per any post workout routine you will want to get in some decent foam rolling sessions. Or do a ROMWOD session at home. General stretching helps & on Sunday get out the house and go for a bike ride, jog, walk, ruck, swim, etc. whatever you choose do it for 30-60 minutes at low intensity.
By Monday you will hopefully feel better. If you need to move come into the Open Gym at 8am or do a home WoD of something like:
- AMRAP 10 of – 10 walking lunges, 10 odd-object deadlift*, 200m run.
The movement will help loosen you off and be raring to tackle life thereafter (*Use a backpack, suitcase, garden pot, etc whatever you feel like).
There you have its guys. We hope this helps you get yourself ready to hit this WoD hard. If you have any questions please direct an email my way and i’ll be happy too help firstname.lastname@example.org