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
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…