At swim training today, we did an unexpected 1000m time trial. I completed it in 16.45 min. Initially, when I saw the result, I was a bit unhappy, as I mostly am when first looking at results.

Only later, when I wrote the session into my Training Peaks log, did I realise that it was actually quite a momentous moment.


16.45 min for 1k roughly translates to 1.40 min per 100m. 1.40. All of a sudden I thought back to my first days of swimming, when even a length was an enormous achievement. Back then, my biggest goal was to one day swim under 20 min for 1k. That’s 2.00 min per 100m x 10. That seemed like a massive challenge as I was barely scraping the 2min mark.

Weirdly, I had not done a 1k time trial in ages and my swimming this season has really improved. So I was initially measuring my time today against times I had achieved this year. The trial time is roughly in line with those. However, when I remembered my initial goal of breaking 20 min it struck me just how far I had come! I’ve swam 20sec per 100m faster than that original 2min mark, 10 times in a row. That’s massive! That’s nearly a whole length each time!

As (tri)athletes, we often get so caught up in the immediate data. Today compared to yesterday, maybe last week or last month. But we rarely sit back and take the time to consider where we’ve started from and how far we’ve come.

Shortly after I posted my initial thought on Twitter, I got a response back: ‘when I started, all I wanted was to swim 2 lengths with breathing. A couple of weeks ago I swam 9.50 for 400m in a tri’. How fantastic is that!?

It’s only when you sit back and consider how much you have surpassed what at some point you thought was the most challenging target, that you realise how much you have truly achieved.

When was the last time you sat back and thought about where you started from?