When I arrived on the Island of Utila, which is part of the Honduran Bay Islands in the Caribbean, I had no idea of the journey that I was about to embark on. I spent the first weeks just slowly getting my mind and body used to deeper freediving again, and enjoying the island with old and new friends when we heard that Roatan Freediving on the neighbouring island was planning a big Freediving Competition, the Caribbean Cup, in May. I moved over to the island of Roatan, where conditions are better for Freediving, to start getting ready to assist as a member of the safety team and get some training in deep waters for myself.
I started training in Roatán with little idea of how to approach the deep dive training period that would, in the end, last for several months. In the first weeks I learned a lot about how to plan and schedule training sessions from my training partners and friends in Roatán and I was lucky that they were happy to share their experiences and knowledge with me. The biggest challenge for me was, and is, to understand and respect the value of good rest. I started with my body and mind full of energy and excited to be surrounded by Freedivers from all over the world so it was hard to take a day off sometimes. But I learned how important it is to allow time for rest days, give your body and mind time to adapt to new depths and be patient.
I scheduled my training to dive three consecutive days and then take one whole day off. On diving days I would go for a diving session in the morning and do a second training in the afternoon after a good lunch and nap. Sometimes that would be swimming, a workout or yoga session.
In the water I was mostly working on my deep equalising skills and my speed and timing during the different phases of my dives. I played with counting my pulls in free immersion, setting and adjusting different depth alarms on my dive computer and later started to train no fins technique. During that time I learned so much about my training and made small but consistent progress. The three most important lessons learned for me are:
· Rest is extremely important.
Although it might be hard, it is easy to burn out and over train and we must give ourselves time to recharge our energy in order to progress in the long term.
· Baby steps.
With patience and consistency the numbers will eventually come. It is important to repeat dives until they feel completely comfortable before moving to greater depths to always progress with comfort and ease, giving the body time to adapt.
· Mix it up!
Not every training session can or should be the same. Every day is different and there are so many factors that can influence our diving. It is good to change the focus a little bit every day or every few days.
Really focusing on training and putting all my energy into Freediving was a new and extremely interesting experience for me. It can be very rewarding to really focus on working with your body and mind, not only in Freediving but in life in general.