TMHQ Obstacle Insights: Top 5 Tips for Surviving Arctic Enema

Published on 23 January, 2014 by Matt Alesevich

As Tough Mudder's head course designer likes to say, jumping into Arctic Enema “is like quickly eating ice cream and getting punched in the balls at the same time.” Technically speaking, however, TM's 0-Degree Dumpster of Daze is an industrial sized dumpster filled with ice cold water and ice cubes topped with a barbed wire wooden divider that Mudders must swim under—the long way.

Arguably TM's most feared obstacle and paradoxically its shortest, there are a few small things to keep in mind to reduce your stress on this sultan of suck. So without further ado, here are TMHQ's top tips for warming up to Arctic Enema.

Mudder the %$&# Up

The first step toward conquering Arctic Enema is a) coming to the full realization that it's really, really going to suck and b) knowing that there's no way around it. At the start line, accept the pain to come by expecting the pain to come, so when Arctic Enema looms on the horizon your mind says, “This is exactly what I signed up for—bring it.”

Don't Freeze

Physical freezing is inevitable—mental freezing is optional. When approaching Arctic Enema—do not stop—not to rest, not to think, not to test the water's temperature (hint: it's f#$%&*g cold). By waiting, you're not only psyching yourself out, but those around you too. Be a leader and remember: the sooner you get in, the sooner you get out.

One and Done

If you're a confident swimmer, jump as close to the divider as you can, submerge yourself and swim under it in one fluid motion. Doing so will deliver a major initial jolt to your system, but it will halve your time in the ice. If you choose this method, be sure the far side of the obstacle is clear of Mudders.

Keep 'Em Movin'

After climbing out of Arctic Enema and onto the descent ramp, quickly look back and see if any Mudders need a hand getting out. Your mission now becomes making sure that everyone behind you spends the least amount of time submerged in ice. Extend a hand and some words of encouragement to Mudders who appear shocked or dazed.

Climb Down, Warm Up

Once out of hell on ice, do not stand in place. Shivering is your body's way of screaming, "Warm me the hell up, so I can function!" When all your teammates have disembarked, make sure to get their bodies moving ASAP. As limbs might feel awkward and frozen at first, try doing a set of 25 jumping jacks before jogging along together.

If you've previously conquered Arctic Enema, one of Tough Mudder's most skipped obstacles, you know that nothing can truly prepare you for the shivering sensations that await you. However, if you keep our top tips in mind, the shrinkage of your ego will surely be kept to a minimum.



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