HOW TO KEEP GOING?
Do you tend to be hard on yourself? I gotcha, welcome to the club. I am one of those people who gets excited about things and jumps in it at full speed until I crash. That’s why I am learning, how to keep going because I usually keep adding things to do that are impossible to get done within the given timeframe. I can tell you, it works for a while, when you are really passionate about something. But, it just always gets to the point when my body and my head say: “NO MORE, YOU NEED TO REST”. I am very aware of it and in the past few months, I have been trying hard to learn to rest as I go along and catch myself before I go too far.
How does that apply to my cycling? In the last post, I was talking about going through a phase of doubting myself and feeling overwhelmed with my cycling challenge. This week, I have realised a few things (below) and that resulted in changing my mindset.
One of my concerns was feeling absolutely exhausted after a 30 or 40 mile cycle. I was judging my abilities on my training cycle rides. What I did not consider though was that I usually set off on my cycle rides in the afternoons. That means I am awake since 5am and working 7-8 hours already and then going for a cycle. I mean, who would not be exhausted?
The beautiful spring sunny weather switched back to snow and freezing temperatures. I get really cold hands and feet so I have been struggling. Coming home absolutely soaked and cold only resulted me imagining that if this happens on my 130 miles day, I will be screwed. Instead of feeling sorry and crippling myself with fear, I turned it around and tried to think of ways to deal with the bad weather.
Growing up in the Scouts, we always used to be able to solve problems in a very simple way. It may had not been the nicest looking options but who cares. With so many options of things to buy, society’s recommendations for how things should be done, it is easy to forget that all you need is to be RESOURCEFUL. Sometimes it means that you have to suck up your pride but there are always options to solve the problem.
To give you a few examples, I was worried that I would get wet legs and would have to cycle like that all day. When I got passed feeling sorry for myself for not being able to afford to buy waterproof cycling shorts or leggings, I came up with an idea. I decided to wear waterproof trousers with open vents and put elastic bands around my ankles to prevent my trousers from getting caught in the wheel. Yes, it means that I get hot at times and that I have to stop to take them off when it stops raining, but it allows me to stay dry. Another example is getting cold feet. I always get cold feet so I tend to just ignore it and push through when I am on a short cycle. What I tried last time was to simply stop once a while, take my feet out of my shoes and move them and massage them for a little bit to get them warmer. I also changed my socks to dry ones half way. It made a huge difference and I was able to enjoy my 60 mile cycle in the snow.
Instead of focusing on cycling enough miles before I set off, finding the little tricks to keep myself comfortable to be able to keep going has become my focal point. Together with the mentioned above, I try to listen to myself to know when I need to eat and stop for a rest. The distance I have planned is doable so if I just make sure I do everything to keep going, I will be fine.
I have been in touch with a few amazing people who have experience with a long distance cycling. There are a lot of resources online but nothing beats honest genuine advice from someone who has done something similar to what you are trying to do, right?
I want to share the great advice I got from Huw (@topofest).
- “Food is very personal, but to put it simply, eat real food. On long rides energy drinks and gels are very hard to get right, and yes, they’re horrible after a while, and expensive. Eat a wee bit every half hour or so, it takes some effort to keep eating but you have to fuel the engine! And aim for the bulk of it to be carbohydrate. Egg sandwiches are good. A few sugary snacks can be handy for low points, but the aim with fuelling is to pre-empt your energy levels, rather than responding to a low. And keep drinking, just steadily. “
- “Don’t start out fast. If you imagine your energy levels as a box of matches, when you go hard you burn one at a time, and when they’re gone, they’re gone. A sustainable pace would be one at which you can hold a conversation easily.
- “Try to be present and aware of how you’re feeling, too. If you feel bad, it’s almost certainly food, water or pace, and can be easily fixed if you catch it quickly and do something about it.
Thank you Huw for the advice.
I hope I gave you something to think about. I know I am talking about cycling, but those thought processes can be applied to anything in your life.
Tell me what you have recently learnt about yourself!
By the way, do you know about any good music podcasts I can listen to offline? Comment below or DM me at @makeityouradventure.