Upon turning age 60, I committed the next year, 2016, to jogging regularly, specifically 10 kms four times a week. The following year I followed the advice of several family members and friends to purchase a cheap bicycle and take up regular cycling, so 2017 was an intense twelve months of both running and riding. (I should note that I know plenty of people for whom my achievements that year were puny but what counts is my own relative effort). Injury came and in 2018 I tried a Big Year of mixing up jogging (now at more like 5 kms rather than 10) and cycling (now just short hit-outs) and gym. Last year was a physical struggle, with more injury and a loss of capability.
This year I embraced a Parkrun Big Year, based around getting faster at the organized Saturday running events, with a training regime built around jogging, short-distance cycles, and gym workouts. Progress was mixed. Then Coronavirus arrived and a couple of weeks ago, I abandoned the Parkrun Big Year. There didn’t seem to be any point.
Since then, as a result of a lack of motivational aims, and the weird state of lockdown, I’ve put on weight, slowed down, and become sporadic with exercise. I never turned into a couch potato, but I was sore, slow, and surly.
I’ve decided to put a firm foot forward. While I still can, I’m hunkering down to jogging four or five times a week, hoping to build up some speed (i.e. faster than my current pace, that of a half-dead tortoise) and distance, plus maintaining a gym routine (which, oddly enough, has been a reassuring constant during lockdown).
What has ended up being squeezed out is my bike. After three and a half years, I’m not sure that keeping cycling in my exercise mix works. I don’t have anyone to motivate me with social cycling and, frankly, I’m too busy to join groups. In theory, a mix of running and cycling works complementary sets of leg muscles to good effect. In practice, cycling on top of running leaves me sore and, perhaps, open to injury. It’s not that I dislike riding my bike, indeed I often really enjoy the experience, it’s just that I don’t, as yet, love it at the core of my being. I tell myself that when my knees and feet finally force me to quit running, that’s when I can switch over and embrace the two-wheeled life. Until then, jogging sits in my heart and I’m best devoting myself to it.
I’m not going to name a Running or Jogging Big Year for the remainder of 2020. I don’t need that motivation and any aspiration right now, during this period of losing weight and getting back into a routine, would seem downbeat. Instead, I’ll set myself Strava targets and just carve out a steady routine without overstressing any “challenge.” Maybe in 2021, I’ll tilt at a goal worthy of being named.
So for now, goodbye fair bike. I shall ride occasionally but 2021 will end up being a non-cycling year.