Here’s why you shouldn’t (she says, talking to herself).
Truth: I won’t skip a run unless I’m basically dead; ditto for a ride. But when it comes to swimming, I’m an expert at talking myself out of going. Maybe it’s the thought of the cold water. Maybe going back and forth a million times just isn’t all that fun. More often than not, I have to arrange to meet a friend at the pool just to make sure I show up.
The thing is, as soon as I get in the water, I’m fine. More than fine. I remember that I enjoy swimming. If I’m doing a pre-planned workout, it actually is fun. And because I swim at a community pool where I see mostly the same people, I almost always run into someone I know.
That should be motivation enough to show up. But there are some solid physical reasons why it’s better not to skip your swim.
First of all: ankles. If you have stiff ankles from running (which I do), there is no better way to loosen them up than by going for a swim. You won’t realize it while you’re doing it. It’s when you get out that you notice how great your ankles feel.
Second: swimming is a form of cross-training that doesn’t involve any impact. Duh, I know, but we (I) tend to forget how important that is. You get so many benefits (such as improved lung capacity and cardiovascular fitness, improved mobility, improved endurance—the list goes on) and your body doesn’t have to take a pounding.
Third: and I recognize this isn’t true for everyone, but if I have any lower back pain, swimming is the cure. In fact, swimming is the reason I can run and ride in the first place.
Fourth: it’s a great stress reducer—if the pool isn’t busy. If it is, this could backfire in a hurry.
I can’t think of a single time I’ve come out of the water feeling worse than when I went in.
So…if you’re tempted to skip your swim, don’t.
You can thank me when you’re out of the water.
PS: I’ll be back a couple of times a week to reread this post before packing my swim bag.