Friday, January 16, 2015

Don't Kid Yourself, Push Yourself

I just got back from the pool again, but instead of swimming for two hours, I only swam one. 2,100m in an hour, breast stroke, isn't too shabby for a brain damaged old fart like me, but I would rather have been swimming lengths for twice as long without pause.

Alas, it is a sunny day and right in the midst of resolution season, so at noon the pool filled up. I've mentioned before that I become extremely intolerant in the pool, and that does not seem to be something that is changing. I'm not trying to change it, either. I spent much of the hour I did manage to swim dodging the pair having a leisurely chat while ambling up and down the pool, mostly keeping out of the way of the guy who swam, turned and repeated (me).

In the middle of this, ungenerous thoughts filled my mind, often along the lines of "get out of my damn way," with a sprinkling of "your screw kick is horrible" for good measure. One thought is applicable to anyone gripped by resolution fervor but feeling the drudgery of slow progress, or the gradual sapping of their will, and it was exemplified by the slow pair in the pool: "stop kidding yourself!"

The duo were maintaining a steady and unfettered chat throughout their 'exercise.' They were not short of breath (they were nattering for England), and if they were warm at all, it was because the pool is too hot. They might as well have been having a cup of coffee instead. They certainly don't deserve any plaudits for working.

It's an easy trap to fall into: "it used to be difficult, but is easy now, it must be enough". Complacency is a surefire way to stop making any progress, though. If you have enough breath to maintain a conversation while swimming you are either phenomenally fit or you are deluded and doing it wrong.

As we get fitter, what was once hard becomes easier. Great! That means we have to work harder to get the same effect. It should never be trivial, it will always be hard work. Deal.