Tyler Robbins Fitness

B.Sc. Biochemistry, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT/CF-L3), USA Weightlifting Level 1

Day 124 - Tough Mudder Tactics: Arctic Enema

Well, what really can I say about Arctic Enema that isn't already explained by the photo above? A picture truly is worth a thousand words...

I would have to say that Arctic Enema was one of the obstacles I was fearing most coming into Tough Mudder. The thought of jumping into ice water is definitely something that has never crossed my mind before signing up for this event.

This obstacle is all about mental grit. Many athletes use ice baths for recovery, but you’ll have a difficult time relaxing your muscles in this frigid dumpster. First you must bravely jump into Big Mudder’s floating iceberg abyss. Once submerged, find the mental and physical strength to swim through the ice, under a wooden plank and pull yourself out on the other end before you become hypothermic.

I will say, now that I have completed Arctic Enema, that it wasn't as bad as I was originally fearing. Sure, it was cold, and sure, I had troubles getting out of the bath because I was already freezing up, but I went in with a strategy and felt it helped me quite a bit.

The obstacle is a giant ice bath in a shipping container. At the half-way point of the lane you swim in, is a wooden divider with barb wire above it, forcing you to dunk yourself all the way under in order to reach the exit. Course organizers are constantly pouring more ice into these baths, so you can be guaranteed to have a nice, chilly bath when you get there. To make things even more fun/interesting, they throw in some colouring to make the bath look like a big ol' Slurpee.

In my opinion, the only sensible way to do this obstacle, and the way I did it, is to get in and out of the container as quickly as possible. The wooden divider at the half-way point is very easy to get to from your initial jump into the bath. From the starting platform, I jumped as close to the divider as I could, and allowed my momentum to carry me under the divider without coming up first.

Once I was under the divider and out the other side, I came up above the water, and moved to the exit of the container as quickly as possible. All in all, I was in the bath for probably less than 10 seconds.   Despite the short amount of time I was in the water, I still felt the extreme temperature difference, especially once I got out and started running again.

For more tips/advice, the official obstacle video from Tough Mudder is great as well. I like the analogy of pulling off a bandaid.

Quote of the day:
“If not us, who? If not now, when?”
~ John F. Kennedy