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  • Writer's pictureNadine Bennett

Gearing up: motivational toolbox

The following is part of a series of posts that details the planning and packing we're doing for my first marathon solo swim, In Search Of Memphre 40km. I'm documenting our preparations so that others might benefit in their own planning or contribute new ideas based on their own past swims - building community and sharing info is so important!

The next piece is a "toolbox" of sorts, of things that would help me stay focused or pass the time, especially on the latter half of the swim. I will probably be on the water for 16-20hrs, depending on the weather and my fatigue level.

I borrowed this idea in large part from Neil Aigius. If you aren't already following Neil's adventures, you really should. He's got the current record for the longest unassisted ocean swim at 125.7km, and swam for over 50 hours setting it. He seems humble, hard-working, and extraordinary, I really enjoy listening to him speak about his swims. I learned about Neil last year from my coach, who did an interview with him shortly after setting the record:

During the interview, he talked about how his crew used a tool kit to both help him throughout his swim. It resonated with me a lot, even though my swim is obviously a lot shorter. I find at about 8-9hrs of staring down into dark water, I start to get fidgety, lonely, unfocused. My swim coach suggested that I bring some work out on the water with me, in the form of practising some of the technique "cues" we've been working on (Swim Mastery version of drills, I suppose). I tried it on the Willoughby Triple Crossing 25km, I wrote up a few things to focus on during the swim, laminated it, and taped it to my feed bottle. It was too choppy to work quite as well as I'd hoped, but every time I saw the bottle, I was reminded of what we'd worked on, and so I continued to work on the technique cues throughout the swim itself, and it helped keep my mind busy.

So I started looking for ideas to try out and add to my own toolbox. I read up swimmer blogs and swim reports for what other swimmers do on long swims when it starts to get hard for them, or when they need to focus on something from feed to feed in order to keep going.

The pages below are printed double-sided, and laminated, and given to the crew. It gives them ideas for tasks they can throw my way to help me focus and pass the time, it also gives them some insight into how I tick as a swimmer, what works for me, what I'm already doing. Maybe we'll use some of it, maybe we'll use none, but it's nice to know there's something we can turn to in the moment if it's needed...

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