I have learned so much through training for my Catalina Crossing, both in and out of the pool. Here is a list of the top eight lessons marathon training has taught me (in no particular order).
1. Tough days teach me the most
While it can be harder to enjoy the days when the ocean is rough and uncooperative, these training sessions often teach me important lessons about perseverance and determination. I hope to have good weather during my crossing, but if I face challenges, I know I will have done everything in my power to prepare!
2. Aches can go away if I just keep going
Sometimes the best thing I can do when my shoulders hurt is keep going and often the angry limb will simply “forget” that it was hurting.
3. My brain can overcome feeling cold
Though it is not pleasant to be in water so cold that my hands and feet go numb, I have learned how to use my brain to overcome the challenge of cold water.
4. I can actually enjoy tapering
During my usual college racing season, I dread the time at the end of the season when we cut our yardage and swim less than before. This time however, I am enjoying the ability to rest more and prepare mentally for my crossing.
5. Training is more fun with other people
About half of my training has been with other people while the other half is completed alone. I have learned that I not only enjoy myself more, but I also swim better when I train with other people.
6. Stopping is sometimes harder than continuing
At the end of a long swim, even if I am physically exhausted, it can be difficult to stop because my body has been doing the same thing for so long. Paige Christie described feeling this at the end of her English Channel crossing when she said, “Your brain has been swimming for so long, you feel like you could hop in and swim the whole way back and you’re kind of fine with it.”
7. How much I can look forward to applesauce
You may not really get this one until you have done a long swim but my usual feeds are flavorless for when I get an applesauce every fourth feed, I get really excited! In my head, I tell myself, “3 more feeds until and applesauce,” and then “two more.” It is surprisingly strong motivation to keep swimming toward my next applesauce feed.
8. Having fun makes hard training better
This one is kind of obvious but even just smiling through a tough workout can make it better. I suppose its a “fake it until you make it strategy.”
Check out my previous countdown posts: