Accountability is hard. You say you’re going to write a biweekly blog post for a year – it doesn’t happen. You say you have more race and adventure stories to share – it doesn’t happen. You say you’re going to get back to proper training to see those numbers go up again – it doesn’t happen. At a certain point you have to be honest with yourself about your priorities and how you want to spend your time. It’s one of those lessons you intrinsically know “of course I don’t have time to give 100% to everything”, but it’s also one of those lessons you find yourself learning time and time again.
The motivation to write this post – fleeting as it may be – comes from one of those not-happenings. An innocuous, minor event, sure, but still something that threw me. With little desire to put the heart rate to the max and race again this winter, I found myself searching for that fitness boost in some form of structured training. I stuck with trying to get two proper structured bike workouts a week to at least maintain fitness, anything else was a cherry on top. And yet, loose as this structure was, I struggled to adhere to it and have now re-tested and seen that the bike fitness dropped to a low not seen in four years.
The actual numbers I tested are all relative and don’t particularly matter here. They mean different things to different people depending on physiology and training history – specifics need not be mentioned. What does matter is the wake up call that seeing that drop triggers. In the scheme of activities and fitness, I know I haven’t been prioritizing biking. That was a conscious decision, partially for other activities and partially for a host of other life reasons. Yet part of your brain can always delude you into thinking “maybe I can do this [other thing] too, surely I can make time”. But there’s always a trade-off.
So be honest with yourself. Think about why you’re spending that free time the way you are. It doesn’t have to be a productive choice. You can actively choose to sit there and scroll or binge that show or obsessively google as to why your houseplants are dying. But make that choice so you can hold yourself accountable when whatever consequences of it come due. As to my biking? I’m not changing course. I don’t want to give the trainer more time right now, there are other things I want to do or need to do. This outcome is just the first measurable consequence of that decision. Is it difficult (relatively speaking) to see that fitness I once had fade away? Yes. Is it a decision I’d make again knowing where I am now? Also yes.
Of course I’m well aware these are relatively petty concerns I’m voicing. People – everyone – has more important things to focus on than a few watts here or there. But I’m also aware of at least a few cyclists that struggle with the thought of losing fitness in order to prioritize other things that are also important to them. And besides, we all also care a whole lot more than seems logical about some hobby or “petty” aspect of our lives. So if you’re going to spend that time caring an unreasonable amount about something small, at least make sure it’s a conscious decision to spend your time that way.
This post was a little more philosophical than I was intending, so in lieu of a light-hearted yarn about running or biking here’s a mash-up of some fun photos from activities I have been deliberate about choosing to do these last 8 months. Maybe I’ll tell you about them one day, if writing becomes a priority to me again, of course 😉