Comparing distance swimming to running makes only limited sense. That said, I consider it useful to at least have that old 1/4 rule on hand, right?
When you multiply a swimming distance by four, you have an approximation of how much – to some extent – we are talking about relative to a running distance. Equally, divide a running distance by four, and you can make a fair fist of what the rough equivalent is in the water.
Was mulling this over on the way back to the office after a 5k swim today. Took me 1.30 hrs on the dot to swim that. Were I to run 20k, which I could not, I would be walking mostly, I have no idea how long it would take, but I reckon much longer. And my arms and shoulders would not feel as they are doing right now.
According to the rules of Marathon Swimming, a minimum distance of 10k is the minimum for a swim to be considered a “marathon”, for eminently sensible reasons. As I am on a “Great Big 10k Swim Adventure” – something like my personal version of the “Couch to 5k” – my view is that this is mostly psychological. Could I swim 10k? Probably. But the psychological mark is what matters, and the psychology of staying put for that long. Both in terms of training towards it, and then achieving it of course.
It is a question of mind over matter more than anything…a goal and challenge – and what I love about it.