Running not my friend

23 Jan

Looks to be the best part of two years since I posted anything on this blog. A quick look back would seem to show I was in OK shape then. From memory I really knackered my knee after one of those races, and really, nothing much of note happened the rest of that year (2017) – I was going as well as I ever had, I was lean (for me) and felt super strong.

I then had a fairly big shake up with life in various ways and just wondered why the hell I was bothering to go out in the cold and train, when I could be out in the pub, and spending time with people having a laugh. Training in winter is seldom a laugh in case you were wondering. So that was decided, I basically stopped riding altogether. For a fair time I held onto some fitness and still went out here and there, but slowly that faded out, the weight crept up on me, and my fitness of course went to almost zero. Some things I realised about all that were fairly eye opening. I had realised that all the riding had been good for my mental state, which at best is usually pretty ‘unique’, but without something taking a lot of mental and physical energy out of me, and having nothing to channel myself into beyond work and a relationship (which obviously is a different kind of thing IMO, especially for someone who has been an athlete for the last 8 years or so) I kind of had a bit of an episode, to be blunt.

Sleeping went from pretty good to absolutely horrific, I had to get Zopiclone on prescription (powerful sleepers), which combined with having a lot of negative thoughts anyway led to a pretty dire situation to be honest, think twice before going onto those pills, they’re fairly powerful in many ways. I figured that not doing any meaningful exercise was fairly crucial to this, but I’d never really realised how pivotal it was. In the few spurts I did manage to do I felt the stress, anxiety and general weight of life wash away, but I didn’t really take much notice of it, and never really got back into a routine of sorts. But I feel far more settled, and have come out of the other side of these things, and I think its time I at least re-introduce some regular cycling into my day to day.  For my mental health for sure, and my physical health certainly could do with it. I had done a few runs and tbh never really got much better at it, and it just felt like I’d never be able to do enough of it to kerb my eating habits. So I suppose the stand out point I make here, (I’m editing this as my first post was poorly written, and I have since heard from more than a couple of people who have gone through similar) don’t under estimate how much regular exercise is doing for your mental health, there’s a reason the first thing a shrink will say before prescribing you uppers is ‘do you do any exercise?’ – the amount clearly directly related to what you’re used to, as a few runs here and there didn’t cut it for me.

So where am I starting from? I peaked at 14 stone 9 lbs after a long holiday recently, pretty substantial, I was still wearing 32″ jeans, so I was somehow vaguely getting away with it, but no doubt, I am very much more large than I was at my best. I would imagine my FTP having done a couple of rides and feeling what certain watts feel like is probably between 270-300w (despite training peaks giving me 235 as a number…), and I have a solid base of 1400 miles total from last year to build on…So the aim I suppose is not to have it be all consuming, as if I was going to be any good at cycling, then the time that would have made itself known was the last 7 years, I’m not getting any younger. But to see how I go with training, maybe a few races, and see what that does to my physical and metal health in the coming months. I went on about 15 holidays last year, so getting fat was far easier to do than getting fit. I’m unsure about setting myself any goals just yet as not sure how much time I’ll have to donate to it, but for sure I want to lose about 10kg, gain at least 60w or so (so I can at least keep up on the training rides) and go from there.

I’ll update as things progress, and highlight any changes, but I suppose after a year of being a pig, it seems like a pleasant prospect to have a plan in place to reverse that cycle…

Maybe I’ll try and get my Richmond Park KOM back from the changing of Onyx now they’re resurfacing the park…

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