Swimming by with a Little Help from My Friend

One of the main reasons I joined WAC a few years ago was the totally awesome pool. In my opinion, it’s the best pool in the city! (Shhh… don’t tell anyone, I don’t want it to get too crowded.)

Even though I’m not so great at it, I love swimming. It’s a nice low-impact use-every-muscle workout, plus you can’t beat a dip in the hot tub after a good swim. I even joined tri club one year and swam with the WAC club team a couple times a week doing their crazy intense workouts (well, I tried to do them.)

Although I was swimming pretty regularly for awhile, I fell off awhile ago. For one reason or another, one week out of the pool turned into one month turned into one year. Plus, it’s hard to get jazzed about swimming in the winter because those first split seconds in the pool always seem to be brutally cold. But as I slowly emerged from this recent winter hibernation with a refreshed commitment to mix up my workouts, I began to think about getting back into swimming again.

There was just one problem: The pool intimidated me.

Wait, how could this be? How could someone who had previously had swum laps upon laps in the WAC pool be intimated to go back? I guess it had just been so long that dipping my toes into the water felt like something totally new.

Some types of exercise are easy for me to pick up because I’ve been doing them for so long. Take running, for example. I’ve been running since high school, so if I take a few months or even a year off, I can still probably run a few miles regardless of how out of shape I am. (Also running is the most straightforward activity ever: Put on shoes. Proceed to put one foot in front of the other. Repeat.)

Swimming isn’t something I’m as comfortable with. Though I CAN swim, I don’t know how to make up swim workouts. I don’t know off the top of my head how to put together a balanced mix of warm up, sprints, kicking, drills, IMs and cool down.

But, I do know someone who knows all of those things.

Bring a Friend to the Pool Day

One of my friends swam competitively in high school and knows everything I don’t about navigating her way around the swim lanes. She’s also getting ready to start training for a triathlon, but didn’t have access to a pool.

She had the swim workout knowledge.

I’ve been participating in the CAC Holiday Challenge for a few years now, and every year I acquire a few guest passes as part of my prize.

I had the guest passes and the pool access.

It was the perfect symbiotic relationship. We both could help each other out. I told her I’d happily give her my guest passes if she would make up swim workouts for us to do together. Everyone wins.

We met for our first swim workout earlier this week, and it was everything I dreamed it would be and more. She wrote out our workout on the dry erase board, and we got to work. If I had gone swimming on my own, I would have just repeated the same stroke over and over and quickly gotten bored. Instead, I had an agenda to follow of a whole mix of stuff, including sprints which I hate love. Plus, I had a buddy swimming in the lane next to me, which kept up my motivation to not slack.

Thirty minutes later, we had completed the workout. Since I had been away from the pool for so long, I was exhausted. But a good kind of exhausted. And it was the kind of exhausted I would not have felt if I had tried to do it alone.

Afterwards, we of course hung out in the hot tub for a few minutes — the best part of the “workout” — and we agreed that we were both glad we had started a new weekly tradition.

Your Turn: Bring Your Own Buddy!

From April 12-18, CAC is inviting you to bring a friend or family member to the gym every day of the week. We hear time and time again that working out with friends is better than working out alone because it keeps us accountable. It’s also more fun. And it’s more productive than catching up over happy hour drinks.

I’ve already got my swimming buddy for next week. Who can you bring along to the gym to mix up your workout and have a bit more fun?

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Betsy Mikel | betsymikel.com