Gregg and Beau Martino competed in and finished the 2015 Endeavor Team Challenge.
How would you describe the Battle Drill?
Beau: The Battle Drill was stuck about a third of the way through the Crucible March. It was a series of 5 mini fitness challenges: a heavy rock lift, a sled pull, a sled push, a medicine ball toss, and a sandbag carry.
Gregg: Nothing out of the ordinary in terms of high intensity fitness events, but the 6 mile ruck hike at altitude really gives a shock to the system!
Beau: Some of them had us really sucking air. The sled push in particular had us doubled over afterwards.
Gregg: Despite our CrossFit background!
What training did you do to prepare? What recommendations do you have to prepare for the Battle Drill?
Gregg: I travel for work on the CrossFit HQ team so I’m around a gym nearly every day. I did no cardio specific training in preparation for the ETC, but I was definitely ready for the Battle Drill.
Beau: His training nearly hamstrung (literally, his hamstring) us in other parts, but the Battle Drill was our best event. I think we came in first in it. I did CrossFit about 4 days a week to prepare for this so we were well prepared for the high-intensity.
Gregg: The Battle Drill has always been the one event that you can specifically prepare for ahead of time since the workout is released prior to the event. We didn’t train for it, but in theory you can.
Beau: Yeah, I don’t think either of us knew the battle drill was coming let alone what challenges were going to be in it. In general, I think we went into the ETC fairly naively, which I don’t recommend at all. Luckily our fitness and sport background had us well prepared for any high-intensity activities. CrossFit or other high-intensity work is probably the best way to prepare specifically for the Battle Drill.
Gregg: But it will definitely help you in other events, too.
When did the Battle Drill occur the year(s) you competed? Did you anticipate it happening at this time?
Beau: It happened about a third of the way through the Crucible March. I didn’t expect it to happen at this time, but I wasn’t surprised either. My mindset during nearly the whole event was to just do whatever came next without thinking too far ahead.
Gregg: Living in cities on the east coast I don’t have as much access to the terrain required of ETC. For that reason, Beau had a better all-around training regimen, but I think I knew more about what to expect, so I wasn’t surprised when the Battle Drill came up.
What challenges did the timing of the Battle Drill present?
Gregg: I think Beau and I lucked out having it as early as it was. We didn’t have the opportunity to arrive in Bear Valley ahead of time and were still getting acclimated to the altitude. We were still relatively fresh, so we were able to put in a good effort. If it was later on, I’m not sure we could have done nearly as well with fatigue factored in.
Beau: I was pumped to do the Battle Drill when we were still fresh because I knew we’d do really well. I think we did max effort for each of the 5 events. That might have hurt us a bit though because Gregg’s hamstring started bothering him after that and was a factor the rest of the ETC.
Gregg: The mind was willing, but that hamstring and altitude were no joke.
Beau: Looking back, I can see the case for being strategic and not doing max effort on each workout since scoring is relative.
How did teamwork play a role for you and your teammate in the Battle Drill?
Beau: It was crucial in 3 of the 5 workouts: the heavy rock lift, the sled push, and the sled pull. Each of those need both people to work at the same time to get the best score.
Gregg: The sled push in particular really needed teamwork. If I pushed harder than Beau or he pushed harder than me, the sled would turn and we needed it to go as straight as possible.
Beau: The heavy rock lift too. It was really a test to see how heavy of an object the combined strength of you and your teammate can lift and that rock was going down if one of us faltered.
Gregg: Being brothers, we had a good sense of what the other was capable of, which worked in our favor.
Beau: Definitely. First place Battle Drill, baby!