Doing Murph on Memorial Day? 5 pre and post-Murph tactics for a speedy recovery

Written by Neola Wilby
Reviewed by Ioannis Nikitidis

Up there with the toughest WODs of all time, Murph was introduced as a tribute to Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy who was killed in Afghanistan exposing himself to enemy fire in order to save the lives of his brothers in arms.

It’s a WOD that is just as brutal as it ought to be to give every one of us that small taste of physical struggle that forces us to focus, put things into perspective and show our gratitude towards those who have given their lives in the name of their country.

For time:

1 mile Run

100 Pull-ups

200 Push-ups

300 Squats

1 mile Run

Of course, that inevitable physical struggle (whether you’re scaling or RX-ing) is part of what makes this such a meaningful Memorial Day WOD, but there is a sensible way to go about tackling Murph without any injuries or causing a shock to your body..

Here are our 5 suggestions for pre-Murph prep and post-Murph recovery that will help you to avoid days of pain and get you back in the Box before you can say “post-WOD BBQ”.

1. Get some pre-Murph rest

Tapering your training (like an athlete would before a big competition) will ensure that you are ready to go all-in and kick ass when it comes to Memorial Day. Despite the fact that you might not be a professional athlete, you must consider this “Murph” as a competition. 

In the days leading up to Murph, you need to save energy. Therefore you should avoid exercising for a couple of days before the “Murph”. In addition, 3-4 days before your “Murph” you should train with reduced intensity compared to your usual training sessions and just try to improve the technique that you use for the exercises you will perform during the “Murph”.. Sleep is also incredibly important for athletic performance, so get as much as you can in the days leading up to the epic WOD (8 hours per night), especially the night before.

2. Pre-Murph nutritional approach 

Murph is a highly demanding training and as mentioned before it should be treated like a competition. Therefore, you need to provide to your body an adequate amount of the necessary nutrients. The role of carbs is very important during the 2-3 days before the Murph. You need to eat plenty of carbs to full your glycogen stores. In addition, you must make sure that you have hydrated enough yourself by drinking at least 10 glasses of water daily during the days before the Murph. Otherwise, if you start the Murph dehydrated or close to it, your performance will not be the best possible and you might feel the fatigue after some minutes of training. 

Another important part is your last meal before the “Murph”. This last meal should be about 3 hours before the Murph so that you will manage to digest before the training and to make sure that you have enough energy at the time that you perform the “Murph”. This last meal should include plenty of carbs and some proteins and fats.

3. Visualize the Murph

A couple of days before the Murph you should start visualizing the training. Thinking about it, about the way you perform exercises, will help you become more familiar with the whole process and avoid any fear about the intensity and difficulties of the “Murph”. In addition, you can watch some past “Murphs” performed by others not only to motivate yourself but also to check how others perform it and some possible mistakes they make that you can avoid them.

4. Post-Murph nutrition and supplements

After the Murph you should immediately try to replenish all the lost micro and macro-nutrients and fluids that you lost. A meal that includes a combination of carbs and proteins is mandatory after the “Murph”. Carbs you help you restore your glycogen stores and protein will help your muscle recovery and muscle building. Additionally, you will need to drink about 4-5 glasses of water in the first couple of hours after the “Murph” because you would have lost plenty of fluids through your sweat and breathing. The use of some specific supplements might help you to recover quicker:

  • Magnesium– It is involved in the contraction and initiating relaxation in skeletal muscles. Because strenuous exercise can cause pain, Magnesium which possesses analgesic properties can help your body relax after the “Murph”..
  • Omega 3 fish oil is also an excellent recovery tool. Omega 3 works as an anti-inflammatory, which can not only help to reduce DOMs but also accelerate recovery.

5. Additional recovery tools

Doing Murph on Memorial Day? 5 pre and post-Murph tactics for a speedy recovery 1

Immediately after your “Murph” you should spend 10-15 minutes stretching all of your body muscles. This is a crucial process to help you recover easier and reduce the time needed for recovery. 

You will be stiff, sore and fatigued. This is entirely normal. The trick now is to avoid the temptation to train through the pain.

Another important step during the recovery process is to get enough sleep, which means at least 8 hours of quality sleep. It is necessary to relax your muscles and nerves and put away all the intensity of the “Murph”. 

Don’t plan on killing or crushing any WODs in the days after Murph, just take some time to recover—and proper recovery doesn’t just mean sitting on the couch watching Family Guy re-runs and cramming beef jerky into your mouth.

 During the first 2 post-Murph days you can try some stretching and yoga but nothing more. Afterwards, you can get back to your usual training, fully recovered. .

We hope this has helped you to get into the Murph mindset! Drop us a comment and let us know how you’re feeling after the WOD—we want all the DOM-ey details.