Occasionally, I will myself to believe that swimming is my own form of muscle work out so I can justify not joining a gym. But the truth is, I swim more for the soothing nature of the repeated motion within strokes than the cardiovascular benefits. Sue me. I love being suspended in water. The only thing better would be getting suspended in creme brulee. I bet creme brulee is better for your skin, too.
I know that as an athlete (when I say “athlete,” remember I mean one who dabbles in a variety of sports and derives great pleasure from said dabbling) I should set goals and meet those goals. I should strive to be better. Stronger. Faster. I should diversify my workouts so my body does not get used to them. RealAge.com does a nice job of comparing the need to diversify financially and diversify physically. They say, “Research shows that diversifying your workout routine offers greater payoffs than sticking to the same moves for years on end. That’s because exercise variety maximizes benefits and minimizes obstacles to working out, such as injuries, plateaus, and boredom.” There are many exercise bear traps that can stop you in your tracks, and avoiding them will maintain a peak level of fitness.
My swimming is definitely at a plateau. I have been hitting the pool five days a week for over two years now, and I can tell you to the second how long it’s going to take me to swim a mile. And even though I know about the benefits of diversity, about interval training, about pulling and kicking, about sets, about pushing yourself, unless I am preparing for a triathlon, I lack interest in swimming faster.
So why do I get up at 5:30 every morning?
The pure joy of the water.