Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How do you feel ready to compete in an open water competition (winter swim, marathon swim, channel crossing, ice swim)?
Adam Walker (aka Ocean Walker): I think training is the key. For me, doing 4-5 sessions a week of quality. I benefited the most from long 4-5 sessions in the pool, ¾ speed with limited rest. When I then ventured outside to train, I felt confident in my speed and endurance. I also factored in 20% gym training which really helped my muscular endurance for marathon swims.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What makes you feel mentally prepared to perform at your highest level?
Adam Walker: For me, listening to my hypnotherapy and motivational CD’s. Playing the swims down in my mind and never talking negatively about them. Responding to people when asked ‘Aren’t you worried about your shoulder, the cold or what’s underneath you? Replying with ‘No, because I know I will make it.’ A difficult thing to do as it is human nature to protect yourself; however necessary to get into positive winning habits.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What worries you when you are preparing for your competitions?
Adam Walker: I try not to worry. A little nerves are good; however, prepare for the worst in your mind and everything else is a bonus.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What do you think about, do or listen to right before you walk to the start?
Adam Walker: I try and relax myself by joking with someone or making fun of what I am about to do. I will again have my motivational CD’s playing as long as possible.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How do you eliminate negative thoughts on race day?
Adam Walker: By believing it’s my destiny to be out there and I am very privileged so I try and appreciate the moment and the task in hand.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: How do you promote or focus on positive thoughts on race day?
Adam Walker: Focusing on the end goal, giving myself positive affirmations, such as ‘I am enjoying my swim.’ My muscles are relaxed,’ ‘I am in complete control’ I also visualise swimming downhill and I have a jet engine attached to me, sounds silly but really does work.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Does sleep or meals the day before impact your mental perspective before your races?
Adam Walker: Of course, it’s important to get sleep and rest if possible. However, I often don’t get much as the excitement and nerves keep me awake. However, the more I can get the better for my mental state. When I swam the Molokai Channel I swam 24 hours after landing and an 18-hour flight and time zone difference. Early on for a split second, my brain said it’s not possible; you haven’t had enough rest. I then switched the thought quickly onto getting across.
Regarding eating, I’m often not hungry the night before. However, I understand the importance of fuelling well for energy so will force myself to have a good meal and again it can creep into your mind if you don’t. You have to try not to give your brain a chance to doubt itself.
Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association