For a long time I “wanted” to try a Triathlon. It was one of those fragile, whispy, theoretical wants that came up whenever the conversation veered towards the swim-bike-run combination. Or when I saw either of the Brownlee’s compete on TV. It would reaffirm my intention to try a Tri. But I never got around to it, for any number of easy excuses disguised as genuine reasons.
Like many aspiring triathletes musing over the idea of giving it a go, I was a keen runner and cyclist, but swimming was something that held me back. My swimming abilities were limited to floating aimlessly in a pool or in the sea on holiday, with a few token front crawl strokes thrown in and a bit of breast-stroke here and there. Not since I was a kid have I swum with any efficiency or athletic purpose.
A few weeks ago though, I was given a genuine reason to get back in the pool – I injured my back.
All injuries are horrible and frustrating, but as I found out, back injuries can be especially debilitating. I couldn’t exercise at all. At least not the exercises I was used to; running, cycling, and relatively high impact sports. So, to maintain my sanity, and at the recommendation of the physio, I went to a Triathlon club swim session. Gulp.
Spoiler alert; I loved it. It was exactly what my itchy feet and recovering back needed, satisfying my need for movement but also strengthening my core in the process, which to some extent was a cause of my back problems in the first place. Swimming is a different kind of fitness to running and cycling, and I struggled, as expected, to begin with. But that was ok; it was enjoyable to start something fresh, as a complete beginner.
I have no idea why I didn’t take the plunge earlier! Which is one of the main lessons from my failure to get out of my comfort zone and get into the water until I was almost forced to do so by circumstance. The reasons for not going are never as bad as you think they will be, and the reasons for going usually end up exceeding your expectations. Even if they didn’t, I would have lost nothing but a couple of hours and a few quid.
Now I’ve got a fantastic new discipline to get my teeth into, and a more diverse and well-rounded fitness base with swimming complementing my more high impact exercises.
All I had to do was try.
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