“Memorial Day Murph: What to Expect.”

While there’s rain in the forecast right now - and temps are in the 90's! We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the weather will cooperate while we’re out conquering "Memorial Day Murph." If you haven’t yet heard, we’ll be running three heats of the workout starting at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, May 28th. “Murph” or “Body Armor” is one of the most famous CrossFit workouts, and is certainly the most famous "Hero" workout. As if you need a reminder, the workout is as follows:

1-mile run

100 pull-ups

200 push-ups

300 air squats

1-mile run

Partition the reps as desired. If you have a weighted vest or body armor, wear it.

What we’re going to cover today is:
1) The Process - how things will run on Monday
2) The Approach - common ways to attack the workout
3) The Aftermath - how you will feel immediately after and what you can do in the minutes and days after to get back in your groove sooner.


1. The Process

On Monday, we will run three heats of the workout - 8:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. There will be a 70-minute time cap on each heat. A better way to say this is, if you are still in the gym at the 60-minute mark (when the heat after yours starts), we will send you out on the second mile. We have different variations of the workout that can be done - partner, 30-minute AMRAP or full - and if you haven’t yet decided which one is best for you, keep reading. We’ll get to that in the "Approach" section below.

The heat assignments are listed below. If you do not see your name, it is because you didn’t let us know you’d be coming. You can still come in and do the workout - we would love to have you! We will fit you into a heat accordingly.

Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 7.47.15 AM.png
Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 7.47.30 AM.png

Please arrive at least 20 minutes early to your scheduled heat time. We will be at the gym by 7:15 - 7:30 a.m. so you can show up any time after then. Warm-ups will be very general and more will be spent reiterating movement standards and figuring out where each athlete will be doing their thing. Each heat will have a group going in BOTH the main CrossFit Room and the Turf Room. We have a few rules about this:

  1. Pull-ups - we will have kipping/strict, banded, jumping or ring rows as options. Once you complete your pull-ups, whether you’re doing them straight through or doing small sets, you MUST move away from the rig to do your push-ups and air squats. This will be crowded unlike any workout you’ve ever done - we have a record number of registered participants (88!); we need to be courteous of those around us.

  2. Push-ups - your chest must touch the floor on each repetition but hands DO NOT need to release from the ground. These are the most challenging part of the workout - break them up from the beginning and stay tight!

  3. Air squats - go to your full depth and stand all the way up! These are the easiest part of the workout but you will feel them the most in subsequent days. Be consistent, do them right!

  4. DO NOT deviate from the run route (see map below). We will have the 1-mile course marked at each corner and will even have some people at certain intersections to ensure safe crossing

The star marks the gym on the map. The yellow lines are the initial loop and the orange lines are where there is some overlap on the route to cover the final 400m of the run.

The star marks the gym on the map. The yellow lines are the initial loop and the orange lines are where there is some overlap on the route to cover the final 400m of the run.


2. The Approach

No matter how you slice it, “Murph” is a daunting workout. It is not about speed; it is about consistency. If you go out too fast, you will finish slow. This a marathon CrossFit workout: start conservatively and push towards the end if you have anything left in the tank.

Our options for performing the workout are as follows:

  1. Full Murph - you will complete the entire workout, splitting up the work in the gym how you like (more on that in a second), by yourself. Some may wear a weighted vest if coaches agree.

  2. 30-minute AMRAP Murph - you will run both miles at the start and end, but we will limit the middle work portion to 30 minutes max. This is a good option if you have just started CrossFit in the past couple months, if you haven’t exercised (moderately) for longer than 45 minutes straight in the past couple months, or if you really struggle with one of the movements. By cutting it off at 30 minutes, you are moderating the volume, which is a smart thing to do, especially if you’re new.

  3. Partner Murph - an alternative volume modification. You AND your partner will run both miles but you will share the work in the middle. You may share those reps however you like until it is all completed.

  4. Friends and family - if you are bringing someone who has never done CrossFit before, they will likely do a combo of b) and c). We want to challenge these new folks but we don’t want to turn them off completely. Your coaches will help them figure out which option is best for them. Make sure they check in with a coach!

Some strategies for completing the work in the gym are listed below. Keep in mind that what works for someone else may not be the best approach for you. We’ve talked a lot in recent weeks about focusing on what you’re doing and letting the rest fall away. Take that to heart while you’re in the middle of Murph - there will be A LOT going on. The only thing you need to focus on is you.


3. The Aftermath

A lot of you will be doing this for the first time. We aren’t going to lie to you-you will be sore. There is more volume in this single workout than you probably accumulate in three days of regular CrossFit classes.

This is not meant to scare you. We take on this challenge for both personal significances and for something bigger than any of us. The workout is meant to honor those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom, our friends, our family and the great privilege we have to take care of ourselves through fitness. If you think on that for a minute when things get tough, your personal suffering in the workout suddenly seems like small potatoes. On a more personal level, this is a benchmark and a tough one at that. It is - believe it or not - fun to come back to it every year and see how much you’ve improved. Plus, the energy is unreal when we have 30+ people working out at the same time!

Immediately after, get water and try to keep moving. If you can go walk a lap or hop on a rower, do that for 5-10 minutes. It might feel like the last thing you want to do but if you lay on the floor for 10 minutes, you’ll start to stiffen up soon. After you do a little flush out, do some movement and stretch. Pigeon pose, couch stretch, hanging out in the bottom of a squat (yep, I said it!) are all good things to do. Ask a coach if you need some more creative ideas. Do NOT sit down right away! Finally, get some good protein and carbs in your system. Yes, we will be eating around 11 or so, but if you’re in the earlier heats you might want to bring a protein shake, banana or something else to nibble on while the other heats go.

*A side note on nutrition: Just because you did a really long workout does not entitle you to eat heaps and gobs of bad foods. For the most part, we’ll have some pretty solid choices available to eat but don’t fall into the trap of the post-workout binge. Just my two cents.

In the days following “Murph,” MOVE! We will program accordingly so that you can still come in, move and take it easy if you’re sorer. This might mean scaling workouts - so what? Better for you to move and push that fluid around than to sit out because you can’t go RX’d or go as fast or heavy as usual. Get out for a walk or a bike ride the day after. Do some body-weight movement at home, go to a yoga class or do ROMWOD. Drink water and plenty of it!

The less you move, the crappier you eat and the less water you drink, the worse you will feel and the longer your recovery will be. Those are all things you can control and by doing so, you can get back to your regular routine sooner!

We’re excited to see you on Monday! And for the record, we would recommend resting on Sunday ;) Happy sweating!

-Coach Caitlin