…one man's contribution to the Weeeeerly Wild World
I cycle most days, covering hundreds of miles a month. Over the years I’ve found it relatively easy to increase the number of miles I cover in a month by just making my cycling become part of my week-day routine – choosing to cycle instead of driving for example.
Increasing my average speed hasn’t been achieved by the same approach, or at all, and I’ve never considered myself fast by any means, having an average speed hovering around the 13mph mark.
I realised a while back that simply expecting my average speed to increase with no specific effort to achieve that was not realistic. I realised a conscious effort to improve it was required, if I wanted – I read of another guy’s efforts and it was all about consciously pushing himself every time he went out. I couldn’t be bothered with all of that and I resigned myself to considering myself a lazy cyclist, just “pottering around”, even though to others who saw me out and about thought I was doing great, just because they saw me out on my bike so often.
I have a speedometer on my bike and I use a spreadsheet to record my cycling. When I bought a new bike a couple of years ago my average speed personal bests stopped rolling in, this was because the bike was bigger and heavier since I changed from a road bike to a touring bike. Overall my average speed has remained about the same, but those days when I put in a new faster time just didn’t happen any more. Plus, where I live is quite hilly and prone to windiness, so my average speed can take a hit even if I’ve put in some effort.
The sunny spring weather seems to have provided me with a little motivation and I’ve been consciously trying to push myself when I go out. To this end I was on target to have my best month for a while (providing the weather holds up), but then today I put in a 16.8mph average speed over 12 miles, beating a speed (of 15.9mph) I set back in 2011.
I just hope I can keep it up now!
The conscious effort is an important one for anything you want to improve on. I noticed this particularly some years back when my brother had a rowing machine for a short while. It was set up so we could just sit on it and row whilst watching TV. However, by switching off the TV and thinking about the muscles that were being exercised whist going through the motions for the same duration proved far more fruitful (I could actually feel my muscles getting the workout I wanted them to get). I know there are TV screens at gyms (I don’t go to a gym myself), but perhaps this is counter-productive.