05 February 2013

Cold It Is, But Cycle We Must

When I fell in love with cycling, it was late May. I spent the summer cycling on days filled with sunshine and warm breezes and t-shirts. Even on the muggiest days of July I'd be out on my bike, covered in dirt, sweat and the occasional dead bug. 

And then it was winter.

Now, I know a lot of hardcore cyclists on Twitter are like KEEP RIDING, SUCK IT UP, YOU CAN DO THIS - but I'll be honest, I'm not going to cycle when it's snowing. 

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I also managed to avoid cycling at all throughout most of December (I went out twice, it was cold) and I went the better half of January with my bike in the garage and me on the sofa. The muscles I had built up for my Cycletta ride had softened, and I swapped spinning for drinking and training for cheese. To be fair, the trade wasn't all that difficult but the self loathing has been pretty intense.

However, this year I plan to do the London to Brighton ride. And the London Ride 100 - so I can't exactly spend the entire winter season on my ass.  I finally went back to Richmond Park last weekend, and my body was like, "Soooo if you had been doing this all winter, this wouldn't be so hard, WOULD IT?!"

If you're like me, and you despise cycling in winter but you have to do it anyway - I can recommend some wonderful bits of kit that will make the journey much more enjoyable. 

Behold:

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27 November 2012

November Can Suck It

SickpostOn October 21st I completed the most fantastic achievement of my life, fitness wise. 

In the following weeks I went on a couple of bike rides, I went to spin class. I also went to pilates and discovered how fantastic it would be for my core, where I'm really lacking strength. 

Then, while out celebrating firework night, I noticed that I had a small stye in my eye.  A STYE. Only gross kids in third grade get styes! Then I had stomach ache and my body felt generally rundown, so I took this as a clue to stop training so much and let my body heal. (My eye is fine now, thank you for asking.)

And then my sinuses started playing up. And then I was exhausted. And then I was fine! And then I was exhausted! And then I was fine! And then Iain got a chest infection, and then I started feeling horrible, but then I felt fine! And now, after thinking my sinus problems were going away and that I could clear my cold with holistic sea salt sprays and then be fine, I can hear what I think is about two tons of phlegm rattling away in my lungs.

This means that I am most definitely not fine and that I need to go to my GP and get some antibiotics as I obviously have some sort of sinus/chest/respiratory infection. (I'm currently waiting for their hour and a half long lunch break to finish so I can then all and book an appointment.)

This is really great timing considering I'm meant to be doing some altitude cycling training and am going on a cycling holiday in two weeks. 

I've basically spent all of November half-healthy, but not healthy enough to be able to ride my bike or train as much as I like. I swear I can feel my muscles shrinking as I type this, and any cardio fitness I built up slowly withering away with each cough. 

Is there anyone else out there suffering from the same crap? 

It seems to me all fitness magazines are like "use antibac gel and you'll be fine to cycle throughout all of winter!" or "KEEP CYCLING NO MATTER WHAT" and I'm like OH MY GOD I CAN'T BECAUSE I'M SICK GOD HELP ME.

I just want to be able to ride my bike. It's bad enough with the weather being like this, but adding phlegm on top of it is even worse. 

06 November 2012

Keep On Going

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Now that my Cycletta ride is over, I'm still training. And it's kind of weird.

Now that I know what it's like to train for a specific event, I'm finding just "working out" or "training for the sake of it" a bit, odd. I liked having the pressure of FORTY KILOMETERS IN LESS THAN TWO HOURS hanging over my head, but at least I know the races that I want to do next year are much more hefty than that. 

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24 October 2012

Wild Ponies & Energy Gels: My 1st 40km Cycletta Ride

Start line game faceAttempting to make a game face.

Unless you've been ignoring me for the last six weeks, there is no way that you will have missed that I cycled in a 40k ride at a Cycletta event last weekend.

I've written about it for BitchBuzz - but I thought I'd explain a little more about my experience training and participating in a proper cycling event for the first time. 

ALL OF THE TRAINING

Rather surprisingly, I stuck to my Victoria Pendelton-created, six week training plan like it was my new personal bible. There were days I didn't feel like training, and at times the thought of going to another spin class made my thighs whimper, but over-all, sticking to my training schedule was easy. Working out what to eat, on the other hand, was more difficult and something I'm still learning about.

During and after my rides I've come to love For Goodness Shakes "Procovery" drinks, as well as High5 Zero tablets that I add to my water for both spin classes and cycles to help keep me hydrated. But, other than that, the world of eating healthy  and - most importantly - eating intelligently for what I'm asking my body to do is a challenge. Mostly because I like cheese and bread. 

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05 October 2012

5 Things I've Learned from Training

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As I write this, I am hunched over my laptop, shoving a Nakd bar in my mouth, and in my 4th week of training for my 40k Cycletta ride

It's been an interesting 4 weeks. This is basically the most, as well as the most consistently, I've ever worked out in my entire life. The weird part is that it feels pretty normal to be doing this. 

Before, going to the gym once or even twice seemed like a big ask. I was always too tired, too hungry, too lazy or there were too many drinks I needed to consume instead of going to the gym. 

However, having a goal and a training schedule  has completely changed the way I think about working out. But I think it's the pull my goal has on me that has made the difference.

Working out so I can "eat whatever I want" doesn't motivate me. Working out to burn a certain number of calories doesn't do it, and neither does thinking about losing a certain amount of weight, or getting into a smaller size.

None of that is going to force me to go to a spin class twice in a week, or plank in my livingroom, or sit on a boring exercise bike for 45 minutes.

For me, it's knowing that I have that ride, and if I don't work my ass off, it's going to be hard, and my time is going to suck, and then everyone will know that I clearly didn't train as hard as I could have because, hello, look at my time.

I want to feel good about my time when I finish, and I know by the way I've been training so far, I will.

I've learned a lot over the last 4 weeks, so I thought I should probably share my knowledge for those who are thinking of getting involved in a Cycletta ride or anything else that makes you sweat. (Not that!)

5 Things I've Learned from Training

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