Toward the end of my swim workout yesterday it occurred to me with some surprise that at the end of my 7th 100-meter repeat I was not yet tired. This was a revelation of sorts. Up until this point in time the simple act of swimming 100 consecutive meters (I know that sounds silly) was a labor not of love, but of pain.
Yet I’ve kept at it, allowing for a two-week break when the common cold stuffed up my nasal and bronchial passages making it beyond difficult to breathe during swimming. Then I tweaked my back doing something in the yard and that was uncomfortable but eased somewhat in the water.
Such is the life of any athlete. We all have our hurdles.
But with swimming the question has been building enough arm strength and endurance to actually do the workouts. Form enters into that picture because if your form is lousy or you’re not breathing correctly, you literally run out of gas and of oxygen.
Neither is real conducive to a productive workout.
That’s why it was so nice at the 100 meter mark to say to myself, “Just keep going.”
And another 100 meters passed. And I was still not tired.
Perhaps some of you have had the same experience in running or in cycling. If those sports were new to you at some point the same sort of progress had to take place. Perhaps it was a jog around the block to start things off, or a 10-mile ride on a mountain bike. Then you went a little longer, or more often. Perhaps you shed a little weight along the way, which also made things easier.
We all have these journeys through which we must pass in order to become what we really want to call ourselves. A runner. A cyclist. A swimmer.
You might add some tags to those titles. A marathoner. A crit rider or Century. An open water swim.
We quantify our progress in these terms. Yet it all comes down to simple little moments and three simple words: “Just keep going.”