When we workout, regardless of our chosen sport, we generally have a goal in mind. It might be to run a certain distance, keep up with the pace of a class, do a set number of laps in the pool or just keep up whatever it is you want to do for 40 minutes. But what happens when it all goes gloriously wrong?
I just emerged, coughing and spluttering, from an almost hilariously bad swim.
Work commitments have meant I haven’t swum for a week or so but I had a break in my day today and, buzzing with new week excitement, I thought I was really up for a good swim sesh. That enthusiasm waned about 15 metres in, when a coughing fit saw me clutching to the wall trying not to die. Why does that only happen when TWO lifeguards are on duty and everyone in the vicinity is gorgeous? *Sigh*.
Anyway, I plodded on realising my set wasn’t going to be what I’d planned. I never caught my breath once, changed my plans entirely and just about managed 600m of technique stuff before calling it a day. A glorious 17 minutes of exercise. GO ME.
When I first started swimming it was easy for me to beat myself up about something like today, but now? Not bothered.
Okay, I am bit bothered, I’d have liked to have done better, but one thing I’ve learnt with this exercise malarkey is that you don’t always get your way.
Usually I know why a workout hasn’t, well, worked out. Often my crappier swims can be blamed on lack of sleep, lack of food, hangovers (ahem) or muscle fatigue from previous swims. Today? I don’t know what went wrong. Sometimes I’ll just feel really asthmatic for no obvious reason, but sometimes we’re just physically tired even if we’re mentally up for it.
So if you find yourself in a similar crap workout situation, try and remember the following…
- Something is better than nothing. I firmly believe this. I didn’t swim the distance I wanted today, but I swam.
- It was bloody hard. It may not have been the workout you intended, but if you found it hard it was definitely a work out! You want to get out of breath and sweaty and ‘OMG I HATE THIS’, so as long as you get to that state…even if it’s from an embarrassingly low level of activity – you’ve had a work out.
- Routine is important. I often find that if I miss even one planned workout, I can fall out of the swing of it altogether. Going and doing less is better for routine in the long run than skipping going.
- Nobody else cares. Ridiculously, I wanted to announce to the other people in the pool that I was a good swimmer and I was just coughing because of asthma and partying too hard yesterday and you should see me in here tomorrow! etc etc etc. Other people really aren’t paying that much attention to your workout, if they are then they’re not working out hard enough themselves. So forget ’em.
- Respecting your limits is cool and clever. You HAVE to listen to your body. I wanted to do a decent set of front crawl today but I simply couldn’t pick up the pace, if I’d have pushed it I’d have gotten into difficulty…and hurting yourself or putting yourself in danger is going to be a lot worse for your fitness than having one reduced workout. I changed my plans and worked on technique, still useful – just not the cardio workout I intended.
So my swim today was bad, but I logged it in the Speedo app anyway and you know what? 600m still comes out as swimming 1% of the Channel…and I’m happy with that 🙂