Recently Terry sent me an email regarding the need for a mental as well as physical aspect to tackling marathon swims. Some of the things he pointed out are ones that I have incorporated into my swimming before the email exchange began.
Terry describes how TI swimming had long been viewed by coaches and students as a "moving meditation."
Terry explained the moving meditation further,
"How does one turn swimming into a moving meditation? First you need a
mantra. Your mantras start with Stroke Thoughts. Then move to Stroke Counts. Then to Tempo. You can train all three in the pool. From there the emphasis in open water returns to thoughts and sensations. Your Stroke Thought categories include Balance Thoughts, Streamlining Thoughts, Propulsion Thoughts. The first two are the most important in completing a marathon because they keep you relaxed and your stroke economical."
For me, one of the key points was not looking at a 16, 17, 21, 40 mile swim as a whole but rather to break it down into parts. For example, one might concentrate on getting to the next feed - which are usually 30 mins apart. I also identified with concentrating on two aspects of ones TI stroke; for myself I usually think about an anchored lead hand and my hand entering back into the water just beyond my goggles. Usually when I focus on these two aspects I find that my stroke count is more efficient, body more streamlined, and my disposition more calming.
Terry also recommended Zendurance by TI Coach Shane Eversfield
and "Effortless Endurance" by TI Coach Grant Molyneux
As i continue to prepare for The Cook Strait, i feel more and more confident that I can make this swim. I am just under way with my mental and physical prep, but with the idea of a moving meditation as my base, who knows what amazing discoveries lie ahead. I'd be interested in hearing what others think of this theme of moving meditation and how you incorporate it into your practice.
Keep Swimming Mindfully!