My first bike ride of the season had me feeling unexpectedly abashed: I found it the be surprisingly hard!
During the entire ride, I kept thinking about the concept of quality time vs. quantity time. (As I started writing this blog post in my head which seems to happen often when I ride.) I’d been so focused on the quantity of my cardio of late, putting in the hours day in and day out, adding a bit most afternoons as well. But the little light bulb above my head suggested that maybe I have been lacking in the quality department. Because it appeared that my long elliptical (and occasional short treadmill) workouts had done little to get me in condition to bike:(
My legs were burning. I was breathing heavily. I could feel my heart racing. We took off into a strong wind and uphill and I felt every moment of it. Ten miles of pumping away and thinking “I’m glad we aren’t going further today.” A few days later, the second ride was pretty much equally challenging for me. Fifteen miles this time. Pedal, pedal, pant, pant. And to add to the indignity of it all, I was saddle sore. Then a few days later – another ride, same distance. And I was happy not to feel the pressure from myself or my husband to add mileage faster, as we had in past years. But also a bit discouraged.
Why was this so hard? Clearly the elliptical and treadmill were not good conditioning for biking! I was putting in the time. Every day. Ninety minutes minimum and most days closer to two hours or more. Honestly, I suppose I knew that I was wasn’t working very hard. I wasn’t “training.” I was exercising but not pushing myself. Except with time. And that was quantity not quality. I could have been phoning it in.
But then I had a little aha moment. Because our fourth ride of the season came on the first unseasonably hot day so we rode in the morning instead of doing our usual cardio first and riding later in the day. And I realized that maybe I wasn’t quite as out of riding shape as I thought, just a bit more tired for those afternoon rides after already putting in 90 minutes. Because my Mother’s Day morning ride was much easier and we cruised through over 20 miles with steam left to burn. Woo hoo, I thought, my inner biker chick is back:)
But this post is about a reality check for myself. The reality is that I need to consider my current cardio routine and maybe pay more attention to quality vs. quantity of my workouts. And another reality is that having some variety in my routine is a good thing. My body likes it and my mind likes it too. Every day the same workout – boring! No wonder I wasn’t working very hard.
Quality vs. quantity. What’s your cardio focus?