This week I experienced a most unusual phenomena of not doing any training. Well, when I say a week of no training – I mean no training all week – excluding Mon, Tues and Saturday.
To be honest, it would be easier to say I had three days off the bike. Though when I say off the bike – that obviously still includes cycling 10 miles into town and back every day. Never miss an opportunity to clock up miles – even when you’re not training, that’s my motto.
So, to clarify, it was three days without any ‘proper’ training. It’s quite an interesting experience to suddenly have lots of free time to do things like er. visit a science museum and art gallery. Walking around town, thinking about going shopping, but not even having the enthusiasm for that.
For the first day of no training, I had the odd anxious thought that my grand plans to do a bit more of the ‘long stuff in Summer 2016’ was taking a monumental and irreversible set-back. Winter miles missed in November and the long-term grand plan is already going out of the window.
Fortunately, I had a sufficiently rational mind to realise that a day off in November, not only – doesn’t hold back goals for eight months hence – but may even do a bit of good.
By the third day off the bike, and this ‘no cycling’ routine was starting to feel a lot more natural. Suddenly, the idea of getting lyrcad up and heading into the persistent drizzle of a dank November afternoon, seemed even less appealing than spending an hour on indoor rollers, doing nothing more than watching the mould on my indoor conservatory.
That’s the dangerous thing about time off the bike – with each passing day, it becomes harder to get back into the routine of heading in to the country lanes for a mid-winter amble.
Still, what do cyclists do when they are not cycling?
- Read through cycling websites and plan next year’s bicycle upgrades.
- Read through cycling catalogues and plan the winter clothing range that would make winter training palatable.
- Repeatedly look at the weather forecast / outside the window – for confirmation that your decision not to go training is fully justified from a meteorological point of view.
- Do all the things that you don’t do when you’re in your normal training routine, i.e. remember what it is like to do things like walk around museum. You can’t beat a bit of cultural edification, especially when you live in Oxford and are practical surrounded by European and world culture. Yet, for all the noble sense of cultural edification, you remember that trudging around museums, dodging between groups of 30 over-excited French tourists, is not as much fun as cycling in the open air.
Time off bike can increase appetite
I think the best thing about taking time off the bike, is that it can remind us we are rather lucky to be able to spend so much time cycling a bicycle. I know we are a little at the mercy of our fellow road users and have to endure the odd insult and beeping of horn. But, spend an hour walking around the Ashmoleum and – before you know it – you can’t wait to sit on a thin, uncomfortable saddle and spend the next four hours getting a little cold and wet – happy in the knowledge there isn’t really any better way to spend a late winter afternoon.