The Enduro World Championship is known for its unique set of obstacles and therefore, comes with its own training challenges.  It’s imperative that you focus on obstacle efficiency over obstacle speed when training for The Enduro World Championship.

Here are some of the obstacles you will be facing and how you may want to modify your techniques.

A Frame Cargo Net

Flip at the top and leap off near the bottom to save time right?  Wrong. As your body fatigues the possibility of making a mistake and then not being able to recover before falling increases.  Course, venue and fatigue level dependent you may still want to do the OCR flip at the top. However, I strongly discourage jumping off near the bottom of the cargo net.

 It is easier to power through the pain of a twisted ankle on a short OCR rather than spending the next 16 hours running on it. Go with the safer method of stepping off the bottom of the cargo net to continue your race without an ankle injury.

Man climbing through a frame cargo net during the enduro.

Walls

You can muscle your way up and jump from the top but that is a good way to get injured.  When possible and if the rules allow, use the most energy efficient technique possible. This may be kicking off a support structure or getting assistance from another racer.  Watch your footing when coming down and land safely.

Man climbing over a wall in the enduro race.

Ammo Carry vs. Sandbag Carry

You are going to want to push the pace more on the Ammo Carry than the Sandbag Carry.  It’s a simple matter of understanding your limiting factor. With the ammo can carry your forearms will give out first so try to move fast to limit the stress on the forearms.  

With a sandbag carry, usually, you can adjust the bag so it requires no arm strength and then you can just walk through it. Avoid pushing too hard on the sandbag, it will just leave you with a spiked heart rate and tired legs.  Instead, go for a more even effort pacing. Therefore your sandbag pace should be slower than your normal run/walk pace.

Man carrying a sandbag through the enduro race.

Scout Swimmer/Muddy Mile

The fastest way to get across water obstacles that are above waist depth is to swim.  The fastest way to swim is the crawl or freestyle. However, that method submerges your head in the water and expends a lot of energy.  Instead, I recommend a side stroke keeping your head out of the water. This will keep your head dry and warm while also using less energy.  

While the cold water can be uncomfortable, think of it as a mid-race ice bath for your legs. Thinking positively will help more than complaining about the water (remember the bonus tip from the last article).

A man traveling through water obstacles in the Enduro obstacle course race.

Ring The Bell

Ring The Bell is Enduro’s rope climb obstacle.  If you can climb the rope with hands only…do not.  It is a waste of energy. Be sure to figure out a solid rope climbing technique whether that be the “S wrap” or the “J hook”.

 Whatever works for you, master it and use it on race day to save your upper body. You may have seen some racers do the upside down bell kick on rope climbs.  This is also a bad idea for two reasons. One it leaves you in a dangerous position (high in the air and upside down with tired arms) and two because it is against the rules for Enduro.  

obstacles at the enduro

Monkey Bars

Many athletes love to use the monkey swing on upper body obstacles, using their body’s momentum and swinging one-handed from hold to hold.  While this might work for the first couple of laps, prolonged hanging from one hand becomes exponentially more difficult. Instead, try a sideways opposing grip technique.  The opposing grips (hands facing in opposite directions) provides a more secure grip through opposing torque.

Often the sideways motion of pulling yourself across the bars is faster than using your body’s natural momentum.  Faster completion of the monkey bars means less cumulative time on the bars over the course of the event, which could mean more successful crossings.

While this article highlighted some of the obstacles you will be facing at Enduro, the concept of “Efficiency Over Speed” should be a fundamental of your Ultra-OCR racing if you want to do well.  If you enjoyed some of these tips, pick up my book Mud Run Guide’s Ultra-OCR Bible, which explores endurance OCR in depth proving training plans, obstacle techniques, fueling strategies and interviews with some of the best athletes in the sport.   

–Evan Perperis

Evan Perperis, NSCA-CPT,  is an athlete on the Conquer The Gauntlet Pro Team and author of three books on Obstacle Course Racing. Included in his 39 podium finishes is a 2nd place Pro Coed Team at the 2018 North American OCR Championships and 1st Place Team at 2018 World’s Toughest Mudder. Find more of his content at www.teamstrengthspeed.com.