Riding out of lockdown: getting myself out of a coronavirus slump

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Over the past week or so, I’ve been pay­ing par­tic­u­lar atten­tion to the lev­el of inac­tiv­i­ty present in my life. Per­haps it’s the com­ing of Sep­tem­ber, and resul­tant mem­o­ries of prepar­ing to ride to Ade­laide this time last year; or maybe it’s just the improve­ment in the weath­er, with sun­shine and Bal­larat bush sur­rounds in spring tempt­ing me out­side… either way, I’ve been in a mas­sive slump since Vic­to­ri­a’s first lock­down in March and I’ve real­ly com­mit­ted this week to push myself out of it.

Whilst many cycling events have been can­celled, indi­vid­ual cyclists across the world have enjoyed an increase in their cycling due to COVID-19, how­ev­er due to my per­son­al sit­u­a­tion and the need to care for my kids (who have their own asso­ci­at­ed chal­lenges), I have strug­gled to get any time to ride at all. Despite a lit­tle bit of a rebound in May/June, when Bal­larat’s lock­down restric­tions were eased and my part­ner and I got in a few rides togeth­er, we haven’t real­ly done a lot this win­ter and like most Vic­to­ri­ans, I’m way below the lev­el of fit­ness and abil­i­ty I was hop­ing to be at.

Kilometres ridden each month, 2020

Kilo­me­tres

With some per­son­al life restric­tions (unre­lat­ed to COVID-19) also affect­ing our abil­i­ty to get out and exer­cise as much as we’d like, I’ve had to make some changes to the way I approach exer­cise, at least until my kids return to on-site schooling:

Objective 1: I am now exercising solo, without my partner.

By exer­cis­ing solo, we ensure at least one par­ent is home with the kids.

Pros: By reduc­ing the bar­ri­ers to exer­cise from a sched­ul­ing point of view — i.e. wait­ing until both of us have spare time — I am able to bet­ter fit some exer­cise around my own dai­ly rou­tine, and impor­tant­ly, able to cater to my own goals each day/week.

Cons: This isn’t real­ly what I want, as I adore rid­ing with Danielle. In short, I miss my rid­ing bud­dy. It also has its down­sides in that Danielle may be left behind a lit­tle progress-wise as she is strug­gling to ride as much as I do. I’m try­ing to ensure she gets in her own exer­cise wher­ev­er pos­si­ble, and pri­ori­tis­ing hers over mine to make sure Dan isn’t left behind too much.

Objective 2: I exercise only when my partner isn’t “in court” wherever possible

Danielle is a crim­i­nal bar­ris­ter, but with courts closed for COVID-19, she appears in most mat­ters remote­ly via video-con­fer­­enc­ing sys­tems, usu­al­ly in our din­ing room/office. I try not to exer­cise whilst she’s “in court”.

Pros: This means she does­n’t have to super­vise the kids whilst work­ing, and if any­thing does come up, I’m there to look after it and allow Danielle to focus on her work.

Cons: This plays a lit­tle hav­oc on the sched­ule some­times, as mat­ters run over time or get delayed, and can also restrict Dan’s own exer­cise times.

Objective 3: If the weather permits, I make the time to ride.

Last year I had this ethos — “if I can ride, I do ride” — which meant that if I had to go some­where, and cycling was a fea­si­ble option, that’s the way I went.  It worked won­ders for get­ting me onto the bike, even for the lit­tle trips around town to the shops, etc. I’m now tak­ing that to the next lev­el and ensur­ing I ride as often as pos­si­ble, wher­ev­er possible.

Pros: Reduc­ing excus­es not to ride is important.

Cons: By man­dat­ing some exer­cise time most days, I some­times come home and the kids have mis­be­haved, etc. whilst I’ve been gone, which then tends towards the “while you were out enjoy­ing your­self…” argument.

It will be inter­est­ing to see how I go. I’ll post again in a month or two to see if this lasts…

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