It is fascinating to see how our body adapts to what we do to it, with respect to doing endurance or speed training, and with respect to how it deals with pain.
I have not been swimming since Desaru triathlon in August, not until two weeks ago when the local swimming pool where I normally went to re-opened after being renovated. With roughly 4 months of zero swimming, seems like my swimming muscles are still enjoying their holidays.
When I was training for Desaru long distance triathlon which the swim leg was supposed to be 2km, I could swim 1km very easily without feeling any discomfort. 1.5km was when I started to feel the slight tense in the respective swimming muscles and going up to 2km, I get the satisfactory soreness. That means, tired, but accompanied by some happy feeling.
I even pushed myself once or twice, and managed to up my mileage to 2.5km and 3km. I was smiling after that 3km. Not that I swam fast. But, that 3km was a big milestone for me.
Fast forward to two weeks ago, and even last week, gosh, I don’t know what to call my swimming style was. I mean, yeah I tried the front crawl a.k.a. freestyle, but I barely moved forward and my muscles were aching big time. 15 or 20 minutes in the water was kind of a torture for me. 30 minutes max was my best achievement, and that was last week. I didn’t even dare to count the distance I swam, it would be embarrassing.
The first pain would normally start to attack the deltoid and triceps muscles. I also did not do much of weight training to enhance their strength, thus the feeling of no power to pull during the swim. Fortunately my breathing is still OK, perhaps due to the stamina I gained from running I am currently doing. But as I started to feel the pain, my weak mental told my body to stop swimming and get out of the water.
That was what happened for the past two weeks. And not being satisfied with that, I pushed it a little bit further this week.
I did a 40 minutes swim session on Monday after a 50 minutes run, and another 55 minutes swim session on Tuesday.
The tough part was to survive the first 10 or 20 minutes, when the pain in my underused deltoid and triceps muscles were shooting up to the peak.
Weird enough, the pain slowly went away after half an hour or so, and I could regain some mental strength to keep on swimming. It’s painful to break the pain barrier, but once it is broken, you’ll know you’ve grown stronger. Maybe this is how people increase their pain threshold, by breaking them first.
I can’t wait to be able to swim 2km or 3km again. It’s going to take some time, but I’m so going to enjoy the journey. Plus, it can give some resting or recovery time for my legs. I take this as part of my cross training.
P/s: Some friends have already asked whether I’ll be doing 2010 Kapas-Marang 6.5km swimathon or not (if there’s any), to which I answered, “Maybe not, but we’ll see…”