Commuting and Exercise | The First Week of November

At the beginning of this month I talked about how I recently became a cyclist for commuting purposes and how it started to transition into a fitness routine for me. I also set a few goals for the month. The long version of this story can be found here.

As I mentioned last week the stats I can get my head wrapped around are distance and speed so I am, for now, going to remain focused on that. I do know that how long I maintain a workout for has a lot to do with its effectiveness so, to be clear, I only count a ride as exercise if it is twenty minutes of activity or more.

The distance goal I set was one hundred eighty miles this month, up nineteen miles from October’s total. It was a nice round reasonable number and I think I chose it subconsciously based on how neatly it could be divided by thirty. The potential problem being that the lazy portion my brain quickly worked out that I just needed to put in six miles a day making this more into a quota than a goal. My meaning here is that if I just do my commute which is roughly eight miles a day then every three workdays I would be able to skip a day of riding. This could lead me to rely on my aversion to being behind the wheel of a car and a need to blow off some steam after work as primary motivators, which isn’t necessarily such a bad thing but it does take the exercise objective out of it just a bit. My wife is helping me combat this by scheduling rides for the two of us to take together, which is very cool and a lot of fun for the two us.

When I set the goal of reaching an average of six minutes per mile, nine seconds faster than last month, I may have been underestimating my ability substantially. I didn’t factor in that at the beginning of October when I started keeping track that I was going about 6:45/ mile and by the end of that month I had some rides where I was clocking in under six minutes, with my best single ride average being 5:15/ mile.

Bearing this in mind, I am currently at fifty-five miles after the first seven days of November. This puts me on track for my goals distance wise. I am, compared to my expectation, going strong at an average of 5:37/ mile. The month isn’t over so I do expect my speed to fluctuate some as I go forward.

The weather hasn’t been much of a factor so far, the harshest thing that I have had to deal with so far is some mild drizzle. I live in Florida so even though it is technically autumn we still get days that are eighty degrees and up. This brings me to the fact that I am probably the only man in the south eastern United States that does not own a pair of shorts, something I should remedy by next spring I think.

A point worth mentioning is the muscles that I notice getting sore lately aren’t my legs so much as my upper arms, shoulders, and back. I am pretty sure that this relates to holding myself into position on the seat as well as pumping the handle bars as I go up hills (maybe that is why the elevation climb statistic is relevant). This draws my attention to how uneven the workout is from riding a bike and I am considering adding some light upper body exercise into my routine, maybe push ups or some hand weights. There is some equipment of that nature lying around the house but I think a bit of research should be done before I screw around with it. If anyone has suggestions in this area I’d like to hear them.

All in all things are going well so far. I am coming down with a cold but, since that doesn’t get me out of work and hence my commute, I don’t see it interfering with my exercise either. I am not making any plans for my next set of goals just yet, but I am happy with my performance this week.

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