Strength training 

In addition to starting commutes, I’ve started strength training properly as well (insofar as a single session can be called starting properly). 

I skipped the pub ride from sheer fatigue – seems counterproductive to force myself out when I was too tired to see straight. That appears to have worked – I was much better yesterday and this morning. 

So yesterday morning, to the gym. The training routine is from Friel’s Cyclist’s Training Bible (useful book generally); it develops through the training period. Current routine is:

  • Squats
  • Seated cable row
  • Lat pull down
  • Step ups
  • Push-ups
  • Knee extension (‘personal weakness’ bit – I’ve had some kneecap tracking issues in the past, which are fine at the moment but I’d like to keep it that way)
  • Standing cable row

Two sets, twenty reps each (this is a muscle endurance building phase; in later phases, the reps reduce and the weight goes up)

I’ve also got the logbook to go with the Bible – this blog is useful for general thoughts & rumination and reflection, but a short & to the point analysis of how I’m feeling plus metrics such as resting HR etc all in one place feels also useful. We shall see. 

Experiments in cross-training

I’m working on building general fitness as well as bike-specific fitness – mostly for general health purposes, but improving core strength and upper/body strength will have cycling benefits anyway. 

I’ve been experimenting with weights routines but … I find weights work really really boring. The result is an epic tendency to procrastinate and simply not do the exercises. 

The experiment now is to trying swimming, particularly arm drills. I actually like swimming, unlike weights work. It’s not a chore (or a bore) to swim for half an hour. Arm drills (not using legs, and using paddles for additional resistance) will work upper body quite effectively – maybe not as much as weights, but definitely more than procrastinating on weights. 

I’m not giving up on weights work entirely – squats (normal and lateral) and lunges etc will still have bike use and so will just have to be done. Planks etc for core also have to be done. But I can tolerate 10 minutes of squats/lunges/plank after swimming. I just can’t tolerate half an hour or so of weights.

So, swimming 2-3 times a week with leg/core work after seems like a sustainable plan. I’ve also signed back up with the personal trainer I was using – accountability again. A proper weights session in place of swimming etc every couple of weeks seems like a reasonable plan (twice a week is more than my budget would stand, regardless of accountability). 

Planks yesterday were straight-arm. Too many bruises from the tumble on Sunday on my elbow for bent-arm!