I was talking to my mom on the phone the other night on my way home from work and she asked about my plans this weekend.
“There are a couple rides happening, but I’m so out of bike shape right now. I always get dropped. I can only ride once, maybe twice, per week in the winter. No one in Boulder has a job somehow, so all my friends ride every day for like three hours in the middle of the afternoon. GAH. It’s unfair. It sucks.”
She just laughed as I went on…
“I’m just not excited about lycra right now. We’re all supposed to be fat and slow together this time of year.”
I was only half kidding. I definitely do get dropped on group rides. A good week of riding for me right now is maybe 100 miles. I feel super slow right now and I am very jealous of my friends who have the flexibility to ride whenever they want…but I know I won’t feel like this forever.
It’s really tough to get in any meaningful rides during the week in the winter to help maintain the KILLER summer and cyclocross shape I was in from May-November. I could ride my trainer early in the morning before work and then again at night. I could get on the stationary bike in my office’s gym at lunch. But I learned a couple years ago that going overboard on indoor cycling can totally take the fun out of riding. These days, I use the trainer when I’m desperate; when the weather is in the teens, the roads and sidewalks are covered in salt and ice, when it’s even too cold to run outside, when I haven’t ridden in weeks and I just need to sit my ass on a seat and pedal to nowhere for an hour or so.
During my first winter in Colorado, I used to get really down in the winter when I couldn’t ride. Some weekends I would spend 3.5 hours on my trainer listening to music, watching Netflix, scrolling social media—wasting the day, all for the sake of staying in cycling shape. Not this year.
So…what kind of activity do I do these days as I’m not-so-patiently waiting for winter to skedaddle?
Three to four times per week, I do 40-minute HIIT workouts at home in my apartment. I mix up all sorts of moves that I’ve taken from other at-home programs and Crossfit workouts. I do different burpee variations, squats, squat and lunge jumps, pushups, high knees, tuck jumps, rows, and more. I also use a set of 10lb. weights (that I really need to upgrade to 12 or 15) for some moves. Basically, I just try to stay moving for 40 minutes with short breaks between moves. My heart rate is pretty high the whole time and I’m usually sweating like crazy by the end. I try to add new songs to my Spotify playlists each week to keep the music fresh. I have been doing these workouts for years now and I really love them.
I prefer running and walking outside, but I haven’t gotten my act together enough to run outside in the morning when it’s dark and cold, so I’ll occasionally run in the evenings on a treadmill in our office’s gym. I’m feeling very lucky these days to have the gym in our building because I’m not sure I’d have the mental strength to leave work and drive to another gym like I did at my last job (where the gym was MUCH closer to where I worked). I run anywhere from three to five miles depending on how I’m feeling that day. I don’t put pressure on myself because of my Dystonia and I never know how my legs are going to feel that day. So if I’m straight up not having a good time at two miles, I hop off and go home.
Weekend long(er) runs
Since I’ve kept my weekly miles a bit lower, it feels good some weekends to get out on the trails for an 8-ish mile run. There’s a trail close to my place that’s easy to hop on. I love popping on a few podcasts and zoning out for a little bit. It’s very relaxing when there’s no pressure and no plans on my calendar.
It’s a bit more difficult this time of year to get out on trails high up in the mountains due to all the snow and ice still hanging around, but these slower and shorter hikes are sometimes everything I need when my body is screaming for a break.
Weekend bike rides
I’m just barely hanging on to cycling fitness these days, but it still feels great to get out on the bike on the weekends when the weather is cooperating. The last few rides have been pretty cold, so I barely made it 50 miles, but I’m still calling that a win this time of year.
If I cut a run short, sometimes I pull up one of her workouts to do in my office’s gym. She is one of the sweetest women on the planet and she created so many awesome workout guides, plus she shares free workouts on her blog every week. It’s awesome and extremely generous. Sometimes I modify and other times I add extra weight; just depends on the workout.
Favorite ways to get in some activity these days?