Power in the Process
During a target competition, of which I will be tapered and rest for, there is a strict routine to be followed. There are processes which will always be carried out prior and post races to optimise my performance throughout a competition:
The Routine Begins
A couple days prior to racing, I will typically carry out a swim session twice a day in the pool that I will be racing in to keep fresh, maintain my form and prevent my body from getting tense. Additionally, the day prior to racing I will completely shave my body! This reduces resistance on the body during a race to optimise my performance, but also plays a highly psychological role in feeling good and fast in the water.
Another important part of preparation are the compression suits. They are highly important during competition time. They help withincreasing blood flow which helps increase the speed of recovery of major muscles in the body. I wear these suits (upper and lowerbody suits) when I wake up on race day until I need to warm up before my race, between heat and final swims. If I am racing the next day then I will wear them after racing, and around the house during competition time.
I also always drink energy and recovery drinks on any race day. Energy drinks are crucial after warmups and prior to racing as they boost sugar levels! Recovery protein drinks are had after racing to replenish sugar levels, as well as providing the body with the proteins that it needs to ensure a full and well recovery.
Race Day Ready
With each race day I face I adhere to a strict routine which is ensured to optimise my performance. I will turn up 2 hours prior to the predicted race time which allows me to fully undertake my pre-race routine. This consists of pre-warm up mobility and activation (a land based warm up), a pool-based warm up, suiting up, warm wear, race model, land priming and finally going into the call room.
The land based warm up consists of sets of dynamic movements and stretches you out according to what specific stroke you are using which is really helpful! It raises the heartrate and gets blood to your muscles which will be used in the race.
I usually start the pool based, stroke specific warm up an hour before racing, lasting usually 30 minutes or so. It helps to activate the muscles that need activating as well as giving you a feel for the water. Then it’s time to suit up. Suiting up means putting on your race suit which can take up to 20 minutes or longer! It is typically done 20/30 minutes before racing. At this point I’m not usually nervous at all.
Warm wear is just putting on clothes that will keep you warm up until you need to race. It helps keep the muscles ready and primed for action. Race modelling requires you to talk with your coach about your upcoming race, going step by step through the processes and key points that you need to remember when you race. Sometimes I get slightly nervous, but usually the nerves aren’t too bad. This is done just before priming.
A couple minutes before entering the call room is when land priming is done. Land priming is short and sharp movements to get the correct muscles fully activated and ready to race.
It gets to ten minutes before the athletes are due to be sorted into their heat and lane, and that’s when we enter the call room. I am good at dispelling nerves at this point, but if I have them then the call room is where they are at their highest. If I am nervous then I tend to sit down and use it to my advantage. I get my heart rate up and get my adrenaline pumping.
Then it’s time for the race to begin.
Wow! A big thanks to Adam for sharing his informative and inspiring routine. If you want to follow in his footsteps you can start by shopping the FINA Approved collection today!
To see what Adam does next keep up to date on Instagram & Twitter @adam_chillingworth @proswimwear