All posts by Jorg

Flow vs Technique

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There is a big difference at the moment between trying to execute a correct technique with a monofin and enjoying being underwater with a monofin. If I really focus on technique, relaxation is very far away and vice versa.

I was already struggling with this for the last past weeks. While doing a lot of technique training I noticed it was a while since I last felt in a flow state underwater. So yesterday it was time to make a small change.

From now on I divide my monofin training in technique and flow training. The first part will be dedicated in correct execution of style and technique including alignment (I really need a weight system, now!) and the second part will  be dedicated to relaxation and getting in a flow state of mind.

The tests yesterday showed that the two are still miles away and of course the goals is to bring technique and flow more together in the coming time. This will for sure not be done in a couple of weeks, but I’m sure that if we continue like this it will become months instead of years.

Need A Push

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Another good training done and while the physical training is going pretty well, I noticed while driving to home I didn’t have a real mental challenge. When I do static training it is always mental, but with dynamic the focus has been to technique only.

So it’s time to change this the next time. I need more mental training and combat to overcome some ‘fears’ I have in my head.

Mental note to self: transform some of the leg training pain you can endure into freediving pain…

Mental Barrier

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As it was Carnival this week, we skipped our usual Tuesday CO2 training and focused ourselves for the Thursday pool training. This also gave my body a chance to recover from the big crash on Monday with my Snowboard.

When we arrived at the pool we saw three times as many people as normal. Extra club in the pool, so no real room for our monofin training today! Damn… I hate it when we can’t execute a plan. Almost we packed our bags and went home, but I’m glad Sanne convinced me of a good static workout.

I did several experiments while holding my breath and it seems that the 2nd and 5th static felt the best during this training. On all, except one, breath hold I did no preparation what so ever. Just talking until 5 seconds before the start and down. On the one I did prepare with some good breathing I just noticed no difference at all during the hold.

It’s clear that my statics are suffering from a mental barrier in the end and I need to find a good work around to break this barrier that I already have for 8 years or so. Strange thing is that I don’t have this barrier when doing dry statics. Time to think about some static exercises that break the barrier in the coming weeks.

Monofin Flow

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We’re getting there. After some weeks of training with the monofin, it’s clear that Sanne and I are getting somewhere with the monofin. For the first time it’s starting to feel like it’s helping our performances instead of costing more energy then with bifins. I even had a crazy thought of wearing the monofin in the open water, wow!

Of course there is still a long way to go, but the great thing is that we documented the whole learning curve here. We know exactly how we started, what we did wrong, how we fixed and improved it. An essential learning curve we had to go through and which could help other people as well.

The main kick is now pretty clear to us and it takes around 2-3 kicks to get in the right movement and flow of it. Now we have to practice this a lot so that we can go in the flow immediately, so that we can also start experimenting with kick-glide cycles.

Next is also starting and turns. And if these are also in the pocket it’s time again to also look at performance. For now we alternate with the fin and the video camera every 150 meters of training, and it works pretty well. Maybe we post a video in the coming weeks about our progress. In the mean time, we just keep practicing, practicing and practicing.

Hold It!

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After another painful dentist session this week, it was a no go for the in-water training. Too much distraction by the pain prevents me of doing long workouts where I need dream-modus to enjoy it enough so that I can endure the pain.

So, instead of some long workouts I decided to test a few short workouts to see where I’m at. All without warming-up:

  • Walking while holding my breath: 56 seconds
  • Running while holding my breath: 28 seconds
  • Walking with neutral lungs: 40 seconds
  • Walking with empty lungs: 26 seconds
  • Holding my breath while watching TV, 20 minutes after dinner: 2:38 minutes
  • Holding my breath immediately after waking up: 2:58 minutes

I’m not writing down how long I could hold my breath on my bicycle and while driving in a car. Because that is stupid and dangerous and of course I would never do that!

CO2 Headache

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It’s clear that my crawl without breath work is helping! I’m glad to notice a few things now that I’m busy with these schedules:

  1. Sticky; the more you are in the water, the better you can ‘feel’ the water. While doing a crawl in pulling myself forward, it gets easier and easier to make the water more sticky.
  2. No more shoulder pain; normally when I did crawls while not on a schedule, I felt a little ‘knack’ in my right shoulder while doing the crawl motion. I’m not sure if the added weightlifting helped in fastening my shoulder again, but for sure it feels great to swim injury free
  3. Zen State; because you swim the same lane over and over again, it gets easier and easier to get in a sort of Zen state, where I forget what I’m doing and am more in a dream state than in active fighting mode.
  4. CO2 Tolerance; it’s clear that if you do repeated schedules of CO2 work, your body learns to work with higher levels of CO2 and work gets easier and easier every week. Not only that; I also find after doing 20-25 minutes of doing CO2 work, that things are really getting easier.  The spleen at work!
  5. CO2 Headache; after a few minutes after finishing the workout, a headache turns up. Not really bad, but it’s a clear sign that the training is working and the CO2 is giving me this ‘pain’. Good to know that it works.

Getting There

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Yesterday Sanne and I did a good freediving pool workout crawl style. While my inflamed tooth didn’t really cooperate during the first part of training where I tried to do 8×25 with 1:20 min countdown for each lap (and failed), the next part went much better.

I tried to do 50 meter laps with one minute rest in between doing crawls with 6 strokes, 1breath for 200 meters. Then upped it to 8 strokes, which still felt pretty good in a training sense of way (Ouch!). And then it was time to explore the limits somewhat and tried to do 10  strokes and 12 strokes with 1 breath each time.

It seems there is a certain technique in it. Because when I do my long distance swims (1k-2k) I use a very shallow breath, so when I’m preparing to breath I only need one stroke to exhale. This doesn’t work when you’re high on CO2 when you’re holding your breath, so in this second session I started to exhale fast in around 1,5 stroke, so that I get completely empty in between. All in all great CO2 work!

Today it was monofin testing time. Sanne brought his prototype weight that he will use on this Saturdays competition in Eindhoven. And I must say it already works great. I think he’s at 80% of solving all the problems now.

While Sanne was so nice to create a prototype that is adjustable so that it also could work with me, it still didn’t fit me 😉 So I had to do some other way of testing my streamlining. In the end it appears that 3 kilo’s is just a little bit to heavy for me, so next time I’m going to try for 2,5-2,8 kilos.

It’s really clear that the time of just playing around with a monofin without weights is over. The difference between my technique without weights and with weights is so  major, that if I wish to improve I have to use weights from now on. So time to create a streamlined weight for myself as well.

Specific CO2

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On Tuesday we went to the pool. Sanne for his schedule and I for my schedule. I’m pretty happy with it and how it went. It was hard for sure, but I really felt like I did a good Co2 workout. Just what I needed.

To be exact; at the end of each exercise it feels exactly the same as at the end of a static. Only here I know that if I do one more stroke I reach my goals, while at  static the end is open. Maybe it’s time again to start doing statics for certain times and do schedules with that again, now I think of it.

The 8 times 25 meter with 1:25 minute countdown cycle per lap where doable. number 3 and 4 were the hardest, but I managed to continue. The last ones felt pretty easy, so a clear example that a small warmingup for me works. Crawling with 6 and 8 strokes without breath went pretty well. I really needed the 1 minute rest period between each lap, but then again, the feeling was good and Co2 was trained.

On Thursday, as Sanne already mentioned, our new monofin arrived and it was play time. Wow, what a difference! The footpockets are so much better, and the kick so much easier. The one thing that will need a lot of practice again will be the turn. But then again, you need to enjoy the trip as much as the destination, so this will be a good challenge.

I’m wondering where this fin will bring me in the coming weeks and months! Let’s work hard, enjoy the water and get some results.

Extra Freediving Training

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crawlWith a new year it’s time for a new training regime. After some lengthy talks with Sanne, we decided to up the volume of freediving training we are doing.

Thursday stays reserved for our freediving discipline training, doing statics and some dynamics. Focusing on technique and performance and not so much on doing schedules.

Due to the fact that I have a horrible small co2 buffer in my body it is mandatory to start doing some schedules again to fix this problem. Sanne already explained the crawl without breath technique we developed for his own personal training and it’s now time to convert these exercises to myself.

We decided to add another 30 minutes of water time on Tuesday afternoon. People sometimes wonder why we don’t plan longer training routines (our Thursday schedule is 60 minutes), but that is just not for us and our busy lives and so many other activities.

These 30 minutes will be filled in the coming months with 2 different exercises. The First will be a series of 25 meter long crawls without breath. Tuesday I set the repeated countdown timer on my watch to 1:25 minutes and I will swim 8 times a 25 meter without breathing, rest and go again when the timer reaches zero.

The second exercise is crawling with an extended breathing rate. Where I normally crawl every 4 stokes, I will up this to 6 and 8 strokes. I will do 4×50 meters with a breath on each 6th stroke and rest after each 50 meter for 1 minute. After the First four laps are over I will continue and do another four laps but this time with one breath every 8th stroke.

I’m curious if I will manage to complete it. It will for sure give me a good burn, just like I need it. If everything goes all right I plan to change the schedule with very very small steps each time I manage to complete it successfully. Wish me luck! I need it!

2010: Jorg’s Freediving Goals

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bottomplateToday I wrote a big post about my Project 99. Part of that is also some goals in freediving. While last year it was all about finding fun again in freediving, this year it’s time again to set some goals and do some competitions as well.

Freediving goals are more clear. 4 minute static in water, 100 meter dynamic with fins and a 75 meter dynamic without fins before the end of the project.

The above is what I wrote down about freediving. For me these are some big numbers. To be clear: I don’t care if I do these performances during competition or training, I just want to do them!

I didn’t mention anything about depth, but that was on purpose. I still have a long standing goal of reaching 50 meters on my own power, but what is more importantly this year is consisting training in the deep again. And not only that, it’s also time to freedive deep in some clear water again with other freedivers! Maybe time for a freediving vacation to Dahab or Greece later this year.

It’s been a while since I really set some freediving goals, but I like the feeling and motivation it gives me again. So let’s start January with regular pool training on Thursday evening with the mono and starting the session with a static. And from there I’m going to work it up in the coming weeks.