Making a Nutrition Plan for Murph
CrossFit athletes have a love-hate relationship with Memorial Day – you either love Murph, or you hate it… I am (blessed?) to be in the former camp, and many may be in the latter. Regardless it is a great benchmark for tracking your progress over the past year. However, I have seen enough athletes get derailed by a poor nutrition plan that I thought I would provide some tips for Monday’s big event.
Times for Murph can range from really fast (30 minutes?!) to over an hour. For those who are finishing faster may not need to be as worried about their nutrition as those who will take longer than an hour; weather will also make a big difference. If it is cool outside then there is less of a concern. But if you’re running that last mile outside in hot, sunny weather and you’re sweating a substantial amount, there are some pieces to consider.
- For all athletes: have something to eat before you go. Murph is long enough and intense enough that you can use up all of that stored glycogen (aka fuel) in your muscles. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a huge meal, but even something like toast with almond butter and a banana can make a big difference. Otherwise you’ll start heading out on that 2nd run feeling tanked and that mile can all of the sudden feel like a marathon.
- For timing, eat when you’re used to eating. If you normally give yourself 2 hours before you train, aim for that. If you can eat and head right out the door, that is fine too. Go by what you are used to.
- During the workout: for workouts 60 to 90 minutes or less we typically don’t need to replace nutrients during a workout. What you will likely want to do is make sure you have water available.
- If it is going to be hot and sunny, think about some electrolyte replacement. If you’re not a heavy sweater, this may not be an issue for a workout like Murph (less than 2 hours). But, if you anticipate being out there a while you can buy electrolyte replacement at most sporting goods stores (REI, example), or, buying a commercial sports drink that has electrolytes is great too
- Recovery! This is important for Murph. Keep in mind the recovery principles we have posted in the Vault: aim to have 10-20 grams of high quality protein (eggs, Greek yogurt/milk/cottage cheese, soy, meat, protein supplements – ideally whey-based) plus some carbohydrate within 30-60 minutes after the workout. This could be something like some oatmeal with almond butter and a smoothie with Greek yogurt and berries; it could be a quinoa, chicken, black bean salad with some fruit on the side; you could try a 2-3 egg omelet with vegetables, some whole wheat toast and fruit. The possibilities are endless J. Then for the rest of the day, space out regular meals and snacks as usual and ensure a good protein source at each meal. Your total protein goal for te day is not higher than your recommended range, it is just really importance to make sure you are getting that amount and that it is well timed (right after the workout and then every few hours). Aim for at least 3 servings fruits and 3-4 servings vegetables – these foods are high in antioxidants that are helpful in the recovery process. Also be sure to hit your carbohydrate goals – similar with protein you don’t need more than usual, just be sure to get the carbohydrates in your range. A low carb diet following a workout like Murph can exacerbate muscle soreness and delay recovery.
And of course, Have Fun!! Murph is a great benchmark workout to track your progress. Just don’t let a poorly planned diet get in the way…