My new year's training schedule is going, very nearly, to plan. I've not clocked up quite as many hours, or lengths, as I'd hoped to, but this is no more than a simple reminder of my sometimes unrealistic targets. On the whole, and half term now behind us, things are going alright. This occurred to me shortly after a recent training session, during which my energy levels seemed to see me through a longer swim than I'd anticipated, whilst maintaining a good pace throughout. As with so many things in life, there seems little point in trying to figure out how or why, but to simply enjoy the experience for what it was.
"Small change, small wonders - these are the currency
of my endurance, and ultimately of my life."
As human beings we are, I think, programmed to analyse and calculate. We want to figure it out. Sometimes this leads to a sense of reward, profit or achievement but, from experience, more often than not, it reaps nought and I am left exactly where I was before I digressed on the circuitous tangent. I am learning to accept more, and worry less. I admire the sentiment "don't sweat the small stuff" because, whilst perhaps profoundly trans-Atlantic, the sentiment carries with it a seemingly important suggestion. There are, I find, too many unknowns begging answers, yet few adventures into the so-called solutions will yield the same serenity that simply allowing things to be exactly as they are, trusting that all is as it should be.
This, it seems to me, might represent something of a cornerstone when it comes to resilience - a quality to which I have been giving a modicum of serious consideration. Given that all of our energies are, whether we like it or not, finite, we would be well advised to be more selective as to their direction. I have a complex relationship with swimming. I struggle to get to the pool, but once I'm there, it's as though I never left. Whilst I am swimming something truly remarkable can sometimes take place. I achieve peace; I think beautifully clearly, about very little.
And so, when I am not battling to achieve the unrealistic, the magic happens. All by itself.
Going the distance involves far more than pure physical effort and ability. Real pulling power is about endurance, but it is also about surrender. For it is only when I don't seek to count the lengths, that I am actually truly swimming them. One of the reasons I am so interested in the benefits of exercise in recovery is because I know them for myself. Real resilience, that stands us in good stead when we most need it, is both physical and psychological. There is no duality. Certainly not you're underwater, anyway.
"Excellence is not a single act, but a habit. We are what we repeatedly do."
"Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines,
but it is to one who endures that the final victory comes."