Get Out and Ride
(even if you don’t feel like it)
By Leah Barrett, MS, LCSW Nutritionist / Wellness Counselor at become fit in Fort Collins, Colorado
So, you’ve signed up for a fabulous bicycle trip with Experience Plus! and you’ve committed to logging the miles on the bike but you can’t quite seem to find the motivation to put the miles in you need. What do you do? Here are some tips to find your way off the couch and onto the bike.
1. Make a plan. Get out the calendar. Count backwards from your scheduled bicycle trip. Build in as much time as you can to train so you can start slowly. Which leads us to tip #2.
2. Set small, achievable goals. It always feels so much better to accomplish what you set out to do than to feel like you’ve fallen short. Falling short leaves a bad taste in your mouth and makes getting off the couch that much harder the next time. Let’s say your planned cycling trip calls for averaging about 35-50 miles per day and your starting from scratch. Plan on riding your bike 10 miles twice a week. Make sure that feels achievable and slowly add more mileage over time. Good experiences feed on good experiences.
3. What are the benefits of cycling? Name the ones that matter to you. Is it being in the great outdoors? Is it weight loss? Is it the endorphins of exercise? Is it training with others? Label these and look for them as you train. Remind yourself why you like bicycling.
4. What’s getting in the way of your getting on your bike? Is it feeling tired? Is it not having enough time? Is it not having the right clothing? It’s important to identify the barriers and then plan ways to overcome them. For example, if you’re feeling too tired to go for a ride. Tell yourself that you’ll start off slow and won’t go too far. Most likely, once you get out there, you’ll be on your way and hey, some bike miles are way better than some couch miles.
5. Do a reality check. Not every training ride is going to go well or feel amazing. As a matter of fact, better count on a number of them feeling down-right ugly. That’s the nature of training. Build into your expectations an appropriate amount of “yuck” and it won’t feel quite as disappointing when it does happen.
6. You’ve heard that training with someone is a good idea? Yes, it is. Research shows that having an exercise buddy helps to hold you accountable. Look for group rides in your area.
7. Stop and smell the roses. If you are out on a bike ride and hating it. Stop. Sometimes it’s better to interrupt/halt a bad ride than to push yourself through it.
8. OK, so far, none of these tips seem to be working? Identify goals in your life that you have already achieved. They may have nothing to do with bicycling. The point is you achieved these goals. Remind yourself of these accomplishments and remind yourself that you are capable of achieving this goal as well.
9. You’ve heard of rewarding yourself for accomplishing the goals you’ve set? OK, do it. For example, every time you follow through on your planned ride, pay yourself $5 – put that money aside and let it accumulate. And, after finished your training, go treat yourself with that reward money. It’s a well-deserved reward. Celebrate your bicycling accomplishment.
10. Last but not least, be flexible. Just because you’ve set a plan, doesn’t mean life always follows along as planned. Don’t let that derail you. Avoid the “all-or-none” thinking trap. Actually, it’s more like a sink hole and a deep one at that. So, you get derailed. It’s really easy to get back on track – just get back on the bike.