Thursday, July 31, 2014
We're having a wet summer here in Austria. As a consequence, more often than not, I get wet when I go for a ride. It used to be that rainy weather meant that I skipped exercise on that day. Not any more! Now I have a strategy to 'rain-proof' my exercise routine.
Depending on the distance I have to cover and on what I am doing that day, such as work, commuting or leisure, I use different strategies. I have expanded on that in the post on my website here.
Last week I had a great cycle ride of 3 hours during which I covered 70 km (44 miles)…....... and some of that was in rain!
On that occasion, I took shelter under a nearby roof for the first few minutes and waited for the heaviest part to pass. After that I put on my rain jacket and continued. A few months ago this felt like a huge challenge. Now, I don’t worry.
What are your best strategies for coping with rain?
If it's raining already, before you start..... does that put you off, or have you a 'can do' attitude and the right clothes?
What do you wear?
Any tips, suggestions, ideas, welcome!
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Last weekend we had a 4 day holiday in Austria, and we visited a friend in Prevalje, Slovenia, near the Drava river. We had been there last year with the bikes, so it was an easy decision to go by bike again.
It's surprising, how much easier is to ride a road that we already know. We look forward to the nice views, remember where we stopped last year, recognize small details that I never thought I would remember again. It also felt easier, because we knew what is ahead of us, and we could dose our energy easier.
We followed the following path, first the river Mur, then the river Drava:
Gleisdorf - Graz - Leibnitz - Spielfeld - Maribor - Dravograd - Prevalje.
On the way we stopped in Maribor, to have a look at the city center. Everbody was watching the soccer world championship, big huuuu-haaaa from every corner when there was an action. On the picture, you can see our favourite ice cream shop in Maribor (well, we don't know any other place). They give a huge portion, which is a good indulgence on a bike tour, where calories burn fast.
Our friends were very happy to host us. They live in a beautiful region up in the mountains, our days there felt like therapy both for the eyes and the body. And, we enjoyed lots of fresh and healthy food from their garden. All produced organically, without pesticides.
Altogether we rode three days to go, had a rest (with other exercise) on Saturday, and came back partially by train on Sunday.
I like so much bike touring, it feels so free, easy, we can meet so many people, see the country very differently vs. traveling by car or plane. Everything is close, around us, and it takes just a sec to stop and enjoy the view, smell the air, or talk to the sheep. :-)
Do you think that you need some fancy gear and bikes for bike touring?!
Well, my wife has a simple city bike with 7 gears (hub gears), while I have a city bike with 8 gears. We were complaining on the hills, and had to get off on 10% slopes, but it didn't stop us from touring.
If you want to get off some pounds, this is a great way to do it. As we rode 3 hours every day (which doesn't feel much at all), 2000 kcal flies off so easily. Which is a LOT! Otherwise, when doing exercise at home, it takes so much effort to go to run for an hour, burning 7-800 kcals. Here, we have lots of fun, enjoy every minute, and don't even notice the "workout" part.
If you need any advice on how to start with bike touring, drop me a message!
Friday, May 30, 2014
... anyway I am just mentally tired after the week.
I used to wait for the Friday night: finally I'm free, I can do something, no work coming on Saturday, and so on.
However, over the years, I learned that it's not worth to plan high-value things, creative tasks, and very engaging "private-work" projects for Friday evening.
It turned out I was already too tired to study something new, plan big personal projects, or solve big problems.
So lately, I started to use this time for sports.
Today, I did a 1h bike ride to the nearby Weiz, then had Yoga for 1h 40 minutes, then rode back to Gleisdorf.
All the stress of the week was digested in my exercise. Clean head, re-energized mind!
And I look forward to the weekend refreshed, and I have this good feeling that I have accomplished something good already for the weekend.
The only thing about it that I have to plan ahead and organize my environment in a way that can easily start doing it.
Otherwise, my mental tiredness builds up an anti-motivational resistance, and I just wander around in the apartment, without doing anything sensible, I mean I don't really do anything, but I don't have a good rest either.
When is the best time to plan a Friday workout?
Monday of course, at the beginning of the week! When I don't plan it on Monday already, chances are on Friday I don't have enough energy to plan it in.
This picture is on the way to Weiz (from Gleisdorf).
It says "Vulgo", which means that before the family Färder was there, and people know it as "Bauernhof Färder" (Farm of family Färder). However, the family Schwarz bought the place and uses it now. But they continue to use the name "Färder", as this how everybody refers to it in the region.
It's kind of branding/franchise of local agriculture.
I learned this word last week in my German class, and was happy to see it immediately in real life! Funny! :-)
Do you exercise on Fridays?
If yes, what is your experience about it?
If no, why?
Any tips, ideas, suggestions welcome!
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
It's still May, but it feels like summer is here. The weather is wonderful here in Gleisdorf, and although I do go out to exercise in winter, this beautiful warm weather does make a difference. It feels just so much easier to do all sorts of outdoor activities.
For example, today I:
1. Commuted in Graz by bike (about 30 minutes)
2. Walked with a friend for about an hour
3. Rode home from Graz to Gleisdorf by bike (1h 30 min)
It all felt easy to do, no effort, no struggling, and on top of it, I burned 1500 kcal. Usually, if I do exercise, I never do so much in row, not time wise, and not effort wise. But as it was commuting in the countryside, having fun with a friend, it didn't feel neither long, neither difficult.
See the landscape - it's just asks for riding more and more!
When it's winter, and cold, probably I would have done a short run, or a longer walk, but for sure wouldn't have done all these together.
I'm in maintenance mode, and regularly go with my bike, so 1-2 h with bike, and 1-2 h of walking feels easy. If you just get started, maybe 30 min light biking is what you feel comfortable with.
How to get there? Not so difficult. You just need a bike, and experiment a couple of times, when you have more time, how it is to make part of your commute with the bike. At the beginning, all sorts of obstacle can come up, problems with the bike, you don't find the right way to ride, the clothing is not good, and so on. It takes a couple of occasions to sort these out. After all these are in place, it gets easy.
Don't think you need some special bike, big gears, or expensive equipment. I have a 20 year old citybike, with 7 gears. I do have to get off for steep hills, my gears just cannot do it. In fact, I find that a simple bike is easier to commute - less fear that it get's stolen, less fancy.
Here are screenshots from my Endomondo tracking, and a picture from the way home. It shows that a part of my journey was actually within Graz itself, in an urban area (until the first dot on the left). It means that even if you live in an urban area, you can do quite a long part of your commute with the bike.
Here you can see that speed is not my main objective. I did only 20 km/h on average, an easy tempo. I found that when I go with a comfortable speed, I have more motivation to do it again. When I stress myself too much, all sorts of resistance feelings pop-up.
Are you doing more exercise when the weather is good?
If yes, what do you do more?
Any tips, suggestions, comments, welcome!
Monday, May 19, 2014
Do you have a plan B to do exercise when the weather is not what you wanted?
What is your usual plan B?
THE FAMOUS PLAN B
One thing I learned from project management is that it's good to have a plan B, even when the sun is shining, the sky is blue, and there is no sign of rain.
The time to develop the plan B "for times when it's raining", is when it's not raining.
I apply this attitude also for my exercise habits.
I decided already that weather won't keep me off from doing exercise, I have proper clothing, and I have been through this countless time: it's not as bad as it looks. From inside, it looks like a terrible weather, but actually when I'm out there it's really not that bad. So, I don't care about rain and wind.
But other things can however bring change that I need to adapt to.
When biking, my bike can go wrong; when running, there can be ice; when swimming the pool can be closed.; my membership card can be expired in the gym; it when going for my contact dance class, the teacher can be sick; when doing yoga based on a Youtube video, my projector can refuse to turn on.
So, I always have a backup option - in case I cannot do my first choice of exercise, I always fall back on option B, and I do some other type of exercise. Maybe it is less motivating, less calories, less comfortable, or whatever more "style-B", but I still do some exercise.
THIS SATURDAY NIGHT
This Saturday, around 19:00, finally I made it and was on my bike ride.
"Finally", because, I was struggling the whole day to simply get out and go.
I don't know why, I just found a million things to do before doing exercise.
In the morning, I was fresh, and so learned German. Then the shops were closing and I had to do the shopping. Then I just had lunch and didn't want to go with a full stomach. Then I was sleepy in the afternoon, then I wanted to finish cleaning before my wife was back, and so on. Sounds familiar? :-)
However finally, at 19:00 pm, I was on my bike, riding. My plan was that I ride to "Raabklamm", a beautiful valley about 40 minutes ride from us, and do a little walk there, and ride back.
However, 10 minutes into my ride, the noise from my back wheels started to be really disturbing. I got off and checked it, and found that a screw was too lose, and hit the tires. It looked scary, if the screw comes out a bit more, it can make a spectacular puncture.
To repair it, I would need to dismount the whole rear-wheel setup, fasten the screw, and then remount and adjust the wheel. Although not a complicated job, it would take at least an hour.
Huuuuuhhhh... finally I'm out, and now my bike is down.
Shall I just skip exercise for today?!
Here came plan B:
I already wore my running shoes, running shorts and T-shirt for this reason.
I got home, parked my bike (doing some pretty angry faces), dropped my wind-jacket, and hit the road immediately to run.
It was windy, it was close to sunset, I was totally upset about the silly screw that screwed up my ride... I didn't feel motivated to run... I was nearly dragging myself forward. Physically effort wise, it was not that bad, but in my mind it felt like it.
However, after 15 minutes, this feeling was over, and I was in my usual happy running mood, enjoyed the trees, the changing colours of the sunset. It even started to rain in the end, but I decided to enjoy running int he rain, I had enough being upset due to my bike. :-)
Here you are some pictures and selfies from my run.
I was angry to my bike, so I didn't make any photo of it! :-)
My take away:
if I had to come up to the apartment, search for my running gear, and then go, there would have been a high chance that I get sidetracked, and my exercise plans for Saturday go down to zero. So it was a good decision to factor in going to my bike ride in running gear, "just in case".
is to always have a "Plan B Exercise" in your pocket, ready to do: beside your main exercise, or favourite activity, have some other options that you can do. This way, when difficulties arise, you can still stay on the bigger track.
So, what is your plan B exercise for "bad weather"?
Do you have several fall back options, or just one?
Or if you don't have any - what would it be?
I'm interested - give me some tips!
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