1000 Laps

This January, I set myself a challenge I considered already way back in November.

It was pretty straightforward – Swim 1 000 x 25m laps. In a month.

Today, with a whole one day to spare, I swam the last lap.

 

Difficulty: Moderate

Physical difficulty – I split this into roughly ten sessions, 50 x 50 in each. That should be doable for most people, provided you’re a decent swimmer. If you don’t swim regularly, give yourself a month to get used to long distance swimming before you set this goal. I’ve also found that if I swim too many days in a row, I get shoulder pain.

Psychological difficulty – this is the hardest part. Long distance swimming in general is a psychological challenge. The counting is hard to maintain, hence why I made the choice to use a 50m pool (fewer numbers). Swimming too many days in a row is also psychologically challenging. Others find it difficult to deal with the monotony of lap swimming.

Setbacks: Sunburn. I got sunburn twice this summer, both times it hit my face. Once was during this challenge and as a result, I took a week off. This meant that I had to compensate for a whole week’s lost workouts. I ended up swimming later in the day to decrease my UV exposure. And yes, I do wear sunscreen. The day I burned my face, I applied sunscreen 3 times in four hours or so.

Things to keep in mind: It’s super easy to get dehydrated. The water helps cool you down, so you don’t feel like you’re overheating. You still sweat though. Remember to drink water. Also, sunscreen.

Affordability: Pretty decent. The place I swim at charges about 5 dollars per entry and they have loyalty cards as well.

Physical benefits – I’ve noticed that swimming has gotten easier. 50 laps have become my standard workout when I swim, and that’s longer than before. I feel slightly stronger, especially in my legs. No noticeable physical changes.

Psychological benefits – Most of the time, swimming is the closest I get to mindfulness. It’s a good way to cope with stress and to get away from things. When I’m in the water, I can’t check my phone or sneakily read emails (I’ve caught myself working mid-workout before).

Thoughts: Mostly, this has been a good challenge. The last 50×50 today were rough for some reason. I think having to take a week off due to sunburn meant I had to really make a point to fit all the sessions in. If it hadn’t been for that, I think I wouldn’t have been so fed up with it at the end. A few days of somewhat bad weather didn’t help. So yeah, use sunscreen.

Would I recommend this: Today? No. If you ask me tomorrow, I probably will.

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Afterthoughts: mini fitness challenge

So, I made it through this very easy challenge. Yay.
I met my goals every day and only settled for the minimum once, which I’m pretty happy about. One thing I did like about it is that it allows for great flexibility, something that is welcome. Most challenges I’ve seen online have been incredibly rigid and focus more on doing set numbers of things instead of encouraging consistency or improvement.

Knowing I can swim 80 or 90 laps in a day without exhausting myself is really promising considering my end goal is to swim more than 120 laps. It was also helpful in helping me deal with waiting for my final grades and not collapse into a little pile of nerves.┬áThe day I had scheduled as my day off after the challenge felt really weird, I walked around with this feeling that I’d forgotten to do something.

I can’t say it has really made me more motivated to exercise than before, but it hasn’t made me less motivated either. I’d say the greatest positive aspect is that I know I’ll be able to reach my goal without having to go into bootcamp mode.

Exercise Challenge: Day 3 of 7

Swam 40 laps x 25m breaststroke.
My body was not too keen on the whole idea today and I coaxed myself to the pool with the promise of ‘buying coffee along the way’. As a side note, my shoulders, neck, and head have begun to hurt as a side effect of swimming. Apparently it’s not good to hold your head in a weird angle for well over an hour.

Exercise Challenge: Day 2 out of 7

Currently doing a small exercise challenge. It’s quite simple, exercise at least once per day for 7 days straight. I’ve got set rules in terms of my minimum: 40 laps x 25m swimming or 1 horseback riding class. If I decide to do any other form of exercise, it has to be a minimum of 40 minutes long.

The idea isn’t to become a fitness geek, but to start making exercise a part of my daily routine. I normally exercise 2-4 times per week and have done so for the past two months.

Since you didn’t get an update for day 1, here’s a summary.
Day: Day 1 – Sunday
Duration: 80 minutes.
Form: Horseback riding
Type: Dressage.
Notes: Tried a new horse and thus took it fairly easy as I was trying to get to know her rather than pushing her or my boundaries. Still, even light to moderate exercise makes you sweat in the sauna like climate we put up with yesterday.

Day: Day 2 – Monday
Duration: 2 x 45-50min
Form: Swimming
Type: Breaststroke.
Notes: Swam 44 laps (approx 40-45 minutes in duration) before taking a break due to the pool being invaded by kids and couples. Took a 15-30 minute break before I swam another 46 laps for a total of 90 laps in a 25m pool. My arms hurt, need to be careful so that I don’t spend all of my energy at the start of the challenge.

Tomorrow: more swimming.

Exercise for the unfit: 30 min power yoga for strength

Since my neck has been causing me a lot of trouble lately and pilates tends to be uncomfortable with neck pain, I decided to give power yoga a go. I used to do a lot of power yoga a few years ago and return to it every now and then. Since I’m still a bit sick and have a stuffed/runny nose I decided to do a fairly short session. I once again looked to Sean Vigue’s videos. Why? Because he’s to the point, funny, and doesn’t include all the philosophical bullshit (the power yoga sessions I used to attend ended with group meditation). This one focused on strength development and a lot of his classes are intended for athletes or tailored towards men. It’s just more… straightforward.Read More »

Exercise for the unfit: 45 min Pilates

I swim. That’s how I exercise. I fucking love swimming. Come the Australian summer and you can find me in the pool several times each week swimming 40-120 laps depending on what I feel like. Winter is a different story. Swimming in outdoor pools when it’s cold just isn’t a thing. It’s horrible and even worse when it rains. So I stay home. Because I have asthma, jogging just doesn’t work. Gym membership is expensive.

So, what’s a girl to do when she notices that a lack of exercise plus eating more rustic meals and fewer salads makes those jeans fit a little tighter than she’d like? I know I’ll go back to my usual body shape when summer comes around, but let’s try to do some form of exercise in winter.

Criteria: cheap. low impact (my sports bra sucks). Doesn’t trigger asthma. Can be done inside. That pretty much leaves yoga, dancing, and pilates.Read More »