For a month and a half, between mid-November and early January, I was completely down for the count from running, nursing an injury to my peroneal tendon/nerve (no one could give me a solid answer). At first, I popped on the elliptical. It’s a generally easy solution because I like the elliptical. I can work hard on it and read at the same time.
After a month of this injury, I felt like it was still too much stress on my leg. SO I did the most uncharacteristic thing of my life by deciding I needed zero impact workouts: I popped into the pool. I’m not a swimmer. I was pushed into a pool as a kid and never fully recovered. But I recognized the pool was my way to maintain fitness.
So here’s my confession: I don’t do freestyle. I just don’t like the stroke. I don’t find it enjoyable. I don’t want to do it for more than a single length. I DO, however, enjoy breaststroke and backstroke. So that’s what I’m doing. 90 minutes of the two of them, alternating breaststroke down, backstroke back.
In my 5 weeks of swimming, the number of times I’ve been told that I *should* be doing freestyle has been overwhelming. You might have thought the same thing, in fact. But why? Because the image we have is that swimmers do freestyle? I’ve managed to consistently show up and, dare I say, enjoy my time in the pool as a substitute for running. I’ve sustained my fitness and built strength. This is working.
All too many times, we place our weighty expectations on other people in their fitness journey. Our individual path shouldn’t be dictated by others. No one should feel pressured to run a certain distance, ride a certain route, go to a certain class, or swim a certain stroke. If it doesn’t float your boat, it’s very easy to stop doing.
Finding what works for you is important.
Fair warning: it definitely takes some time. Those first few rock climbing trips make your hands burn, that 500ft hill on a bike is pain until you know what you’re doing, and those 90-minute yoga classes can feel like a gut punch initially. But I fully believe there’s a way to move that will feel both right and sustainable for you. Don’t force it. Eventually, you’ll find that you keep showing up to something. Which is all that really matters.
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