Last Friday I went to my gym to spend some time swimming laps. There was a period of time around this time last year when I was swimming almost every day after work. It has always been a very relaxing activity, as I have been swimming since I was two years old. Swimming is the only activity that can be classified as exercise (other than walking) where I can completely lose myself in thought and just keep moving. I don’t listen to music, and I don’t have to perform mental martial arts to push myself forward. I just swim. One arm after the other, breathe every three strokes, exhale under water. One, two, three, breathe, one, two, three. There is a natural rhythm in all kinds of exercise that is based on repetitive movement. You just have to listen for it.
I wish I found the same kind of relaxation in running. I enjoy running a lot more than I used to, but I mostly just love how I feel when I’ve finished the route I’ve set out to run. The endorphins and the feeling of accomplishment make me want to run more. I have been making noticeable progress and that makes me want to run more. As much progress as I am making, I don’t find the same kind of euphoria in running that I do in swimming. Maybe as I get in better shape and begin running longer distances, I will be able to feel the rhythm.
The training schedule I have just begun has two days of cross-training incorporated to break up the running days. In addition to strength training and stretching, I am excited to have two days of swimming each week to keep me refreshed and focused on my goals.
To experienced runners: is the runner’s high real? Can you zone out and just feel the rhythm of your feet on the pavement? I hope I can get there someday.