Mindful Cycling - Episode 1
We are all cyclists from the heart – but we are also much more than that. While social media sometimes makes cycling look so easy and glorious for others, the struggles that everyone faces behind the scenes often go unspoken.
In our new series „Mindful Cycling”, Veloine rider Juli will be sharing stories from behind bars and from real life and how to accommodate everything in between.
Hi - I am Juli. If you’ve been following veloine.cc for a while, you might remember me from my previous posts around cycling and pregnancy. If not, I will tell you a bit about me, because you will be reading from and about me on a regular basis.
Going forward, I will be sharing my thoughts here every month because I want you to feel less alone with the struggles that come with integrating an active lifestyle into your personal or professional life. On all the social platforms it does look much easier than it is. I want to share with you some thoughts, insights, advice or experiences I have made over the last years.
The stats. I am 34, married and have one little human. I stayed active through every phase of my life and I am certain that I will stay active until I no longer can. My glass is half full rather than half empty. I always look for the good in the bad. I am an optimist. But I know how to eat sh**. I have fallen many times throughout my life but ceased to just give up. It is hard and harder on some days, but it is part of the game of life. I want to be real and true. My goal is to reach as many of you as possible and to show you that struggling is real and hard and that everybody struggles, but through struggling we become better. Not just better cyclists, better humans – physically and mentally. So let’s start today.
Episode 1: Getting back into cycling - after winter break
How to get that holiday body & mind into training mode again - despite the weather?
It is the beginning of the year when everybody is full of energy and intention. Taking their cleaned bikes out into the pouring rain or sweating buckets while Zwifting - while you are still sitting on the couch waiting for better times to come. It is ok. This last month of the year has been full of temporary sicknesses for all of us. It’s been somehow bizarre. I haven’t been sick for ages, but a couple of weeks ago I got sick. Fever sick. 40C / 100F degrees. That is just devastating and something you are not used to as an adult. I took far too long to get over this sickness phase. Prior to getting better I caught a cold and had to stop that minimum of movement again. Chances are high that you passed through the same ordeal. But this should not bother you at all. January 1st is just a date like any other day in January. You can start any day. You won’t be doomed if your start is later - as long as there is a start.
Jep, I do feel like this truck drove over me as well. But - I don’t want to feel the whole year like this, and neither should you. I know it would be so cool to just get on the bike and feel your fittest, but this is not how it goes.
Start with something more theoretical. Try to make yourself a fitness calendar. Most probably if you will be doing races or events in any form, you will know when you want to be your fittest. For those of you who don’t do races or events, try to be fit by May/June. That is just right before the time of the year where the most races and events are. By that you will be able to ride with most of your friends who’ll be competing. The more the merrier. Look for those sparring partners because they tend to be organized and follow a plan and take you along. If you stick to them, you automatically get into shape and fitness, and you will have fun throughout the process. Enough for the theoretical side.
Start with a micro intention.
Some years of constant endurance sports have taught me two approaches to the physical (re-)start. Oh and by the way... I am no professional sports coach - these are my personal experiences and advice I want to share.
The first would be slow and consistent. Pouring rain or not. There is always something we can do to improve the status quo - cycling, stretching or a workout. Start with a micro intention. The common perception that only a >1,5h ride counts is misleading at its best. Change your mindset, to change your behavior. Every minute counts, especially when getting back into a routine.
Start with 20-minute rides outside or on the trainer, with a 10–15-minute stretch- or workout session. You will see that these 10 minutes are much more doable and that we can all find that quick time slot in a day. Somehow my micro intention is to do a workout or training just less “hard”. I don’t know why my brain thinks that this is the approach I need, but it works. I did fewer hard workouts and trainings. Something like, just rolling - no intervals, change of power/speed or a 15 min workout without giving it all.
You will see, sooner than later, you will prolong the workouts and trainings and you will be doing your “regular” times.
The other approach would be to just rip the band aid off. Just get into it. Whatever, wherever - try your workout or training routine. While doing so you probably feel bad and not fit and not good enough - because you are not yet - but you will get through. This is kind of an “in your face”-approach, but as you will reach the turning point, where you feel yourself again. Although you feel much more physical and mental pain.
You choose individually which approach is the better for yourself. What both have in common is that eventually you will be in your routine, and you will be able to take off from that point and build your endurance or strength. Slowly and thoroughly, you’ll be fitter again and the warmer days for longer rides will be ahead of you and you will be able to embrace instead of fearing them.
Discipline and routine bring you further than motivation will.
One last thing that we must talk about is motivation. No one is motivated every day of the year – NO ONE. But you don’t have to be motivated to exercise. Discipline and routine bring you further than motivation will because we are all human. We live our lives far from perfect. We must make time, rather than finding time. Some days work is harder, we sleep poorly, or social stress is higher. This is normal. If these days come stay focused and just do what you did for the (re-)start – do a 10-20 min workout. It’ll count and you’ll feel better.
Take this as the call you have been waiting for. Just get it done. You just need one day to ignite. Let this be your day despite a random date.