Instructor Course Preparation #1 – Freediving Training 2018

by | Jan 2, 2018

The purpose of this part of the blog is to share my learning progression. I’ll be testing and applying different freediving training methodologies for set periods of time and discovering what works best for me to progress in freediving in the most healthy way. Please feel free to use the comments section below to comment on or critique what I’m doing.

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So, ten weeks to go until I return to Indonesia for 7 weeks of dedicated freediving training and, hopefully, the successful completion of my instructor course.

On March 11th I’ll touch down in Bali and head straight for Gili Trawangan where I’m going to slowly ease myself back into training and the freediving lifestyle by spending two weeks diving with Freedive Gili, the wonderful school run by Michael Board and Kate Middleton, also the place where I took my first freediving courses. Then it’s a short boat ride over to Gili Air and the start of a month-long Master Program, culminating in the AIDA instructor course, which I’ll be doing with Freedive Flow.

I’ve got ten weeks to get ready, physically and mentally for what will likely be the longest and most dedicated period of depth training I’ll manage in 2018.

I spent 3 months, between August and November, training for a 40km mountain trail-run which I successfully completed on November 25th. Needless to say, this involved an ungodly amount of running on trails, several times a week.
There is a popular belief that this kind of training is detrimental to freediving performance. While I am not completely convinced by the reasoning behind this, at least at the amateur level, and I think a strong cardiorespiratory engine is hugely important for living in general, there’s no denying that hours spent running are hours not training for freediving and I was too exhausted and sore most of the time to think about doing breath-work tables or resistance training.

After the race, I took a couple of weeks off from doing anything healthy and basically lay around eating shit food and watching Youtube. By the end of this little break I was feeling utterly awful and desperately needing to get back on the wagon, get my pre-race fitness back and take it to the next level.

Time to get back into shape for this kind of thing….

Two weeks ago I rewrote my schedule and wrote a new training plan into it. The thing is, between now and March 10th, I may only get 4 weekends in the water, or 8 days of actual freediving. And that if I’m lucky.
I don’t have access to a pool here in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, so my training is going to consist of what I can do on dry land, a combination of CO2 tables, dry equalisation practice, resistance training, medium-distance running and HIIT training.

Here’s a rough idea of how I’ll train each week:

I don’t consider yoga ‘training’ as such, and my yoga practice is an even balance of traditional asana, pranayama and yogic meditation, in other words, I treat it as a traditional spiritual practice. Having said that, the benefits for the freediver are too many to list in full here but include greater physical flexibility, mobility and proprioception, improved respiratory function and control of the breath, better conscious control of sympathetic and parasympathetic systems, increased mindfulness, improved mood and greater equanimity under pressure.
6x Per Week 90min

Resistance Training/Weight Lifting
4x Per Week, Upper/Lower Split

CO2 Tables
3x Per Week.
(4 Weeks Full Lung
4 Weeks FRC
4 Weeks RV)

Dry EQ Practice
Following the month-long BTV course, and other practice.

1x HIIT session (stairs)
1x 8km incl. HIIT session (stairs)
1x Long Trail Run 10 – 20km

On the weekends when I’ll dive there won’t be any running. I would love to do apnea walk tables instead of CO2 tables but my location when I have time to do tables isn’t ideal for apnea walks. At least I’ll have two days of diving each fortnight to assess how good I’m feeling in the water and judge whether the training is improving my conditioning or not.

As you’ll see, I’m going to be attempting to teach myself BTV during this time. That’ll be the subject of a dedicated series of blog posts and maybe even a video.

I case any of you are wondering, here’s where I currently stand in terms of personal bests…I don’t plan on improving any of these before Indonesia, or even matching them, but a few comfortable dives to 40m would be a nice way to finish up this training block. The most important thing is to relax and enjoy every dive.

STA: 4:20
DYN: 120m
CWT: 43m

So I’m starting week 3 of 12 now and feeling really good. Watch out for the next training blog where I’ll talk about learning BTV and in a couple of weeks I’ll be reporting back after my first dive session of 2018 and we’ll see how my condition is coming along.

Happy New Year and Peace!

Teaching oneself BTV. It ain’t pretty….

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