Friday, April 27, 2012

Acquiring a Bike Trainer Part Four: Cultivating a Habit

This is the last of my mini-series of blog posts on my acquisition of a trainer. In previous posts, I gave some of my reasoning for why I purchased a trainer, some basic research on trainers, and then how I took the plunge on Craigslist.

Now, I have had the trainer for about two months, and I have been riding 5-6 times per week for 30-40 minutes per day. And this is where discipline has been important.

The hardest part of starting any new habit is carving out the time to add it to the daily routine. My solution has been to rise earlier to insure I get a ride in. Most of the time (but not always), I’ve been getting up between 5 and 530AM to insure that I can get my ride in before going to the gym and getting started with my work day. 

It hasn’t been incredibly easy. After not riding or running for a while, muscles in my legs were not conditioned for the new exercise. I knew that if I was to make this a habit, I would need to be disciplined—especially during the first week when I would be sore. I pushed through, and now I’m starting to reap some of the benefits.

Because I have cultivated this habit, I have been able to increase the duration of my rides. I have more energy throughout the day. In general terms, I feel better. I used to run 4-6 times per week, but fell out of the habit a few years ago, and I’m starting to feel like I used to feel when I was running regularly. Instead of being completely exhausted at the end of a run, I feel refreshed. Instead of riding being part of the discipline of cardiovascular fitness, I feel like riding is now a means for me to clear my head and regain focus.

Of course, these changes don’t happen overnight. And without an attitude of discipline, any cultivated habit can quickly disappear if I ‘get to busy’ or allow my circumstances to distract me from the habit.

Separately, since the beginning of the year, I’ve enjoyed watching my wife cultivate a similar habit with running. She has a goal of running a marathon this fall, and since the beginning of the year, she has been slowly and deliberately been building a solid foundation in her running to help her train without injury and prepare her body to be able to run 26.2 miles.

I hope this series of blogs has been helpful for you if you are considering a trainer, or if you are making steps to cultivate a healthy lifestyle in general. Thanks for reading, and happy riding, running or whatever you do to increase your health and well being for the long haul. 

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