Ready to Run & Unbreakable Runner – TJ Murphy

I talk with TJ Murphy, a 2:38 marathoner, about his books Unbreakable Runner and Ready to Run. TJ found that by using crossfit endurance he’s been able to recover from injuries and start running again. Through this approach, he’s regained his athleticism and his love of running.

avatar Aaron Olson Buy my book on Amazon Icon
avatar TJ Murphy Books on Amazon Icon


TJ Murpy

Ready to Run

Unbreakable Runner

Inside the Box: How CrossFit® Shredded the Rules, Stripped Down the Gym, and Rebuilt My Body

The Running Revolution by Nicholas Romanov

Magic Mile: 4:59

Quotes from the show:

“I was sort of forced to get interested in Crossfit. I’m 51 now, and over the last 10 years my rate of injury spiked upward. From 2007-2010 I came to a place where I was thinking I’m done with running. I started reporting on Crossfit. When I started reporting on it I was planning on ripping it. I was a classic Lydiard guy. I thought the idea that weight training could do the same amount of work that running could do was ridiculous. But during the reporting I had developed this limp and thought I needed a knee replacement. After about 4 weeks of crossfit, my limp had vanished.”

“Runner’s using weights is not a new concept. If you go back to the 90’s, you had runners doing isolated movements on weight machines. When you do that you’re not using a wide range of muscles. What if you’ve got biomechanical inefficiencies and you’re running 100 miles a week. Those inefficiencies get magnified and can cause injury. When you do functional movement training, you’re using a collection of muscles. You use the core muscles, the trunk muscles in a coordinated fashion. Why would that not translate to running? When I see bad mechanics I see runners grinding away at soft tissues. I see a point where they may have to quit running, and I don’t want to see that happen.”

“I would’ve never imagined that at age 51 I could drop down to the 800 meters and still run fast. I thought I would’ve lost that speed. But now with crossfit, I’m like, ‘Yes I can’. I was quite surprised by how much athletic capacity I’ve recovered. I going to the masters track and field championships this summer and I’m going to enter the 800 and 1500 and I’m excited.”

“We want to be healthy. There’s something wrong if the kind of running you’re doing leaves you at the age of 45 a shipwreck. My back would go out, and I had to use the top of cubicles as a walker. And I thought all this running would bring me to the peak of health and fitness, but I’d done something fundamentally wrong.”

“MacKenzie’s not against high mileage, for an elite runner it’s a bit of a different ballgame. We’re not saying this is the only way to train. For an elite runner you’re seeing a lot of strength training, but you’re seeing high mileage as well. If you only want to do 1 crossfit workout a week, then you can do that. Our message is give it a try and see what works for you.”

“With diet I think there’s a lot of room for personal experimentation. I tried the super low carb diet last spring. I hit the wall so hard, I burned through my glycogen stores in like 45 minutes. It made me realize that I needed carbs. I think when you’re talking about an endurance athlete, completing eradicating beans and rice and carbs, is probably not the best solution. Again I think you could probably do a paleo style diet, you just need to make sure you get lots of fruits and vegetables for carbs, especially if you’re racing the 5k. My energy levels feel great when I do more of a Zone style diet.”

“Experiment with strength training in your running. Over the long run it’s going to have a lot of value. Take a day that might be your easy run, and instead of going for a 40 min easy run, experiment with substituting one of these functional strength workouts that Brian has. Go to a crossfit gym, tell them you’re a runner, and that you don’t want to get hurt. They’ll work with you. You can’t do it all by strength training, but intermixing this stuff with very specific running workouts is going to have a lot of benefits. You’ll find you have a little bit more power and a little bit more efficiency unleashed.”

“If I could go back 20 years and experiment with this stuff, I think I would have enjoyed my training more and had less injuries. I think some of the permanent damage I did to some of my joint wouldn’t be there.”

Published by


Paleo lifestyle enthusiast, Minimalist runner