• Retrospection on Murph Challenge: Did You Follow These Tactics?

    Retrospection on Murph Challenge: Did You Follow These Tactics?


    Done In memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005, age 29, Murph is a brutal challenge crossfitters look forward to with much anxiety. Past experience has not been enough to deter them from doing it year on.

    As fagging as this Hero WOD is, the workout has movements simple enough for everyone to attempt, with the same beauty of all crossfit workouts- scaled to suit your ability. Let us remind ourselves that ‘your ability’ means you are doing the best you can; it’s not a comfort zone.

    The same preparation goes into Murph as when one prepares for a Marathon. That is why WODs prior to this day entail a little more running, push ups and pull ups. Squats go without saying – Murph or no Murph!

    With a whole year to prepare for the next one, we reflect on what we could adjust to make us improve our performance.

    Did you:

    Sprint on the first mile run? BAD IDEA. This would exhaust you and lead to poorer performance in the next part of the WOD, worse yet, quitting in-between.

    Break up sets? GOOD IDEA. The reps are quite high, therefore breaking them up lets one set of muscles rest while you work the others.

    Scale to your ability? GOOD IDEA. The best thing about crossfit is the ability to scale all movements and not work any less, as long as you have scaled it to an ability that challenges you. Attempting to go all out when you have not yet built the capacity to do so, will probably lead to you not finishing the workout or having to scale down in-between – this murks your ability to accurately and objectively gauge your performance.

    Go all out on your reps? BAD IDEA. Unless you have thoroughly built your capacity to do so, you would probably end up not finishing the workout or feeling quite ill thereafter. Refer to the blog post on lactate threshold for more on this. The best way to balance this is as mentioned above: break up sets and scale if necessary.

    Practice the challenge? BOTH GOOD AND BAD IDEA. It is a good idea to do WODs which build your endurance for this challenge. However, give yourself an allowance between the preparation and actual Murph day. If you practice the challenge a day or two prior, you are likely to feel worn out by the time it’s the real deal.

    Eat and drink enough? GOOD IDEA. The obvious is not always so obvious, particularly when it comes to this area. Keeping yourself hydrated and eating properly is vital to both performance and recovery. The paleo diet works well for the lifestyle of a crossfitter. For advice on this contact our fellow crossfitter Fatma Kudwoli.  Details available on Kwetu’s notice board.

    Have a positive attitude? GOOD IDEA. Coach Winnie always tells us it’s all in the mind. As much as we realise we need to work hard to build our strength and endurance, much of it begins with our mindset.

    Have a winner’s mindset. If you think you can’t do it, you are probably right!

    How did Murph go for you? What would you have done differently? What did you do just right? Sharing is caring!


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