For me, the most challenging part of swimming 8 hours a day is keeping my mind busy… and not go crazy. Even though it is very difficult on the physical side, the mental is more important, it is all about mind over matter.
The best way to keep my mind focused is by having a schedule for the day to lay out what I will be thinking about.
This starts before swimming. While I am getting ready, I think about all the amazing moments I will have in the water. I try not to think about the first 15 minutes of my swim because they are very painful. It takes a while for my body to get into a routine and warm up. My muscles are sore and tight and I have to get used to the water temperature. The pain does not go away, I just get used to it.
Then I choose some main topics I will focus on during the day. I try to use one subject for every hour. These could be moments that I have lived in my past and I want to relive them or I create new ones. For example, I think about how it will be when I will see my children again, what will we be doing, what will we be saying…
Another topic is the purpose of the swim; how could I maximize this unique platform to inspire people to make some changes and reduce plastic use? I spend a lot of my time on this question.
I also imagine taking long walks with people who are close to me and imagine they are asking me tough questions about my past decisions and my plans for the future.
Once I have picked all my topics for the day, I then think about my next 2 hours. My eight hours of swimming are like a climb; during the first two hours, I have to set my pace. During hours 3 and 4 I am on a roll, at the end of hour 4 I will reach the midpoint. Hours 5 and 6 are usually the most difficult because I am not close to being finished and the pain is more intense. But I have already started my descend. During my last couple of hours, I can see the finish line and I get my second wind.
I have my best day when I forget about the number of hours I have swum because my mind has transported me to different places. I also forget my pain each time I swim beside amazing sea creatures in a place where no other human being has been before. Like with any love relationships, there is a lot of pain and pleasure.
10 thoughts on “[DAY 70] Keeping focused”
Wonderful experience and exploration with your crew. During your course, you often talk about 8 hours of swimming a day, but during your follow-up, you are at 171 hours for 2 months, before your return to Japan and therefore your first attemp. As you know north Pacific is dangerous, so take care
Thank you, Ben. I am very interested in the mental aspect of such a massive endeavour of endurance. This is great insight, thanks for sharing, because it is very personal stuff. But this is the type of mental (and physical) resilience we all need more of in life. Modern (Western) society has become so used to comfort in every way. Too much comfort makes us lose something essential. It prevents us from realising our true potential!
You are right, Nina,we live so comfort-orientated,that eine forget the pleasure follows gut an aim with all power and Focus it even with a bit suffering for.
Thankyou so much for sharing! Your way of mental exercises is grown in years,I assume. Combined with a compassion to your busy muscles the good way!
A potential way to activate the comnunity and mental question during your swim hours could be a collection of all day life scenes to prevent plastic use. You think about the questions, comnunity may post potential solutions they know. Your Blog is already a multiplication factor,Ben.
You also have described the beauty of the ocean,the creatures you meet and the uniqueness of your experience. This ist a message to be sent. You are right,to be one of the ocean’s voices! Go on bravely, sensitive and compassionately.
Swarm follows you
Exactly, Brigitte! I agree that this Blog is already greatly multiplying the message that Ben and his Team are sending. I am sure that people in many countries around the world are talking about The Longest Swim and Ben Lecomte and his Team in their family and friendship circles and in their communities, like we are doing!
j’ai découvert aujourd’hui votre” swim” et votre mission ! it’s INCREDIBLE !
je suis très sensible à cette cause qui est de réduire l’impact de l’homme sur notre environnement et d’anéantir l’usage du plastique de nos modes de consommation .
Merci pour cette belle aventure et pour votre exemple de courage déployé !
.. je ne manquerai pas d’en parler autour de moi !
Have you ever heard about “theoceancleanup” ?
is a foundation that develops technologies to extract plastic pollution from the oceans and prevent more plastic debris from entering ocean waters… it sounds great !
MERCI Ben et à toute votre équipe pour ce blog !
j’attends avec impatience de vos nouvelles about ” the swim” !
8 hours of focus every day is a lot of time! Maybe for your next ocean swim you can treat yourself to 1 hour a day of music, audio book or podcast via bluetooth swim headphones. You could even learn a new language, now that is multitasking!!
Take care and be safe.
“Ben’s average swimming speed is 2.5 knots” his website says. “With the push of the Kuroshio and north Pacific currents, he plans on swimming an average distance of 30 miles per day”. So you did from Japan only 521 NM in 60 DAYS… so this is impossible with this current or if you swin less.
Your expedition with assistance and with stopover is sensational, so stay straight.
Gloria, Chatham MA
Ben, because of your actions I have started to thinnk about the environment problems in the global aspect. I can not believe that there are islands of plastic waste the size of my own country (Slovenia), floating in the oceans. Your enthusiasm will reflect in my actions. I am riding bycicle to work (20 miles), lowering plastic use and now I go to swimm. Keep up. Your mind must be special you are very focused you are the best! Thank you!!
Ben you are so inspirational. Sometimes I can lose focus, but this post has given me some great insights into pushing ahead amid the challenges and pain