At last, I AM BACK ON THE BIKE!! Sunday afternoon in mid September, just after lunch, and I've decided it's now or never. More than 9 months have passed since my last ride and people have commented - but Nick I thought you were a cyclist. A quick wipe down of the frame, tyres pumped up, helmet and shoes found in a dark corner of the laundry (not that difficult), and I am off. IT FEELS FANTASTIC :) Why did I leave it so long?
I choose an easy route to start with and head off along the local bike path from Camp Mountain to Ferny Grove. Everything is working nicely - gears, brakes, wheels and my legs. It's as easy as riding a bike (I think to myself) - ha ha! Soon I am in the 'the zone', speeding along feeling the wind in my hair, and enjoying the afternoon sunshine. Lower back feels a bit sore, but I have not been in this hunched over position for quite a while. Make a mental note to get the foam roller out when I get home. Everything else about this experience is superb. Nice one Nick.
NOT riding, had become quite a mental block in my head. Every time I looked at my bike at the back of the car port, surrounded by an ever growing pile of wind blown leaves, I felt guilty and definitely not a cyclist. Even the Tour de France and Chris Froome's 4th win had failed to inspire me. It's not to say that the last 6 months have been idle in any way (I am a PT after all) but my focus has been on 2 feet. Notably the super challenging 100km Oxfam Brisbane Trailwalk and the - frankly brutal - 4.2km Pomona King of the Mountain. These are both now part of my regular calendar, and require significant preparation.
As with any big goal ahead, training must be as specific as possible. Aiming for a trailwalk? Then plenty of bush walking is the best plan to strengthen the appropriate muscles. You can read more about my training for the 2017 Oxfam event in a previous blog Diary of a Trailwalker. I digress.
After Pomona, back in July, I really needed a rest. The huge training schedule that I had completed, for Oxfam in particular, had taken it's toll. I was feeling tired all over and felt that my body was telling me to slow down. However, I always like to have something to focus on.
Heather my wife suggested a 40 day Kundalini yoga challenge. What is Kundalini yoga you may be asking? It's a blend of physical and spiritual practices that incorporates breathing, all over body movement, chanting and meditation. I did a taster 6 week course earlier this year and loved it! It ticks all my 'boxes' of a good physical and mental challenge, but also forcing me - wrong word encouraging me - to relax, breathe more and take some time out each day. This particular challenge was to complete a Kriya (a specific set of postures, breath, and sound that work toward a particular outcome) every day for 40 days. The Kriya I did comprised just 5 different exercises/moves that were done for 3 mins each. Total time 15 minutes. Should be easy enough to fit that into my day? The first few days were hard - finding the right/ suitable time in the day, a good location at home, learning the new positions, and just doing it...... once I passed Day 10 though, I was in a good routine and just kept going. I keep a diary by my bedside and ticked off each day. I am going to write a more detailed account of my experiences with Kundalini yoga in another blog post coming soon.
However, my point here is that this a good example of a SMART goal (see chart below) which I recommend as an excellent way to help you focus on your health and fitness goals.
Specific - Yoga challenge
Measurable - complete 40 consecutive days
Attainable - yes it was in my power (just had to be disciplined each day)
Realistic - yes it was only 15 mins each day (take out 8 hours of sleep and you still have 960 minutes left) and 40 days is just 6 weeks
Timely - clear end goal of 40 days
Back to THAT bike ride..... after only a few minutes of being back on the bike, the adrenalin and endorphins started to pump through me, and my mind as well as my legs and lungs started racing. I had found my mojo again, and it felt great. I smiled to myself (and may have even whooped with joy!). Thoughts started queuing up in my head. I have an idea for another Swiss Ball eBook for triathletes (to follow on from my recently published Strength From the Inside Out - The Swiss Ball Guide to Building a Stronger Core), I must fix that door hinge at home, and it's time to enter another Triathlon ......I was feeling exhilarated and ready to face anything. The wonders of exercise :)
So my next SMART goal?
Specific - Raby Bay Triathlon - Sunday December 10th
Measurable - 900m swim/ 25km bike/ 6km run
Attainable - yes I can do this (I have completed many triathlons over the years)
Realistic - fitting in the training will require some planning and discipline but it's all possible - I will aim for 1 swim, bike and run each week.....
Timely - 11 weeks to go
What are your goals? Try using the SMART goal method and see where it takes you.
Start with something simple like aiming for a 5km fun run/ walk for example. Make a plan and START TODAY. You will feel amazing at the end. I know you can do it :)