I can remember a time when I felt like swimming 500m felt like a really good workout. Of course, as I got stronger I swam farther, and eventually I left the pool and began running quite regularly. When I first began running, just one mile felt like a really good workout. Again, as I got stronger I ran farther, and though I’m no marathoner, I can now knock out two or three miles with ease, with long runs of up to 10 miles or more.
(For all you non-swimmers: Most lap pools are 25m long, so down and back would be 50m. Competitive swimming meets are measured in meters. FYI one mile is 1,609 meters.)
Somehow, all these miles have had a big effect on my mental perception of distance! Today I chose to swim. I expected it to be moderately challenging, since running primarily stresses the leg muscles and swimming primarily stresses the arm muscles. I ticked off the meters and felt the strain and exhaustion in my arm muscles, but even as I passed 750m or 1000m, I kept pushing. Even though my muscles were quickly tiring, in my head, these meters felt like such a “short” workout! I mean, if I can run two or three miles without too much struggle, then shouldn’t I be able to swim the same distance?
I managed to swim 1500m. During the last two or three hundred meters, I really had to cheer myself on (mentally)! I was thinking “you’ve done 1200/1300/1400m, just a little more, just one/two/three more laps, you can do it!”
I am EXHAUSTED! My arms, legs, and every other part of me is just tired. I predict that I will sleep very well tonight!