I’ve moved around quite a lot, for work and my education. I’ve also done a bit of travelling and one thing that I’ve noticed is that in different places, some types of training is easier than others. I also haven’t taken fitness or outdoor activities into consideration in my moves, I’ve focused where I live based on work. I’m learning now, that I want to change that focus. I’m also learning that I need adaptable training.
When I decided to sign up for the Scott mountain bike race, I didn’t realise how difficult training in Sydney would be for me, especially over winter. I was used to riding my mountain bike whenever I liked, in fact, riding any of my bikes when I wanted, where I wanted, when I lived in Canberra. On moving to Sydney, I chose where to live based off where I work and access to a train line. I didn’t think that I would be as challenged as I have been with cycling training. In terms of mountain biking, I’m stuck in a wasteland. I seem to be at the very least 1 and a half hours from anywhere with good trails. When the winter came, the hours of sunlight diminished, it became harder and harder to get out there after work, or before. Winter is hard on the bike, we all know that. I thought I could make up for it with more road cycling, but within the first 3 months of living in Sydney I was hit by a car. Now, each time I commute, I wonder if today is the day I get hit again, if today is the day I don’t make it. Needless to say, I ride early, I ride visible, I ride defensively.
This opened my eyes. I had been able to ride as much as I liked before, but now, it’s hard. I did my best for the race, I didn’t get what I wanted, but now I’m looking to my future plans and goals.
There are more mountain biking races on the horizon. There are also a couple of triathlons I am keen on. Add to that, a marathon that has piqued my interest. Now, I’ve got to plan my training around what I know I can do, what is achievable, and what I know is difficult. So, let’s do a quick review;
- Cycling in Sydney – difficult to get my training in with my commute, so most cycling work here needs to be done on weekends, with trips to great places, which of course, is a big investment.
- Swimming in Sydney – spoilt for choice! I am less than 20 minutes away from some of the best beaches in Sydney, meaning I can work on that weakness of mine – open water swimming! A bit of planning is required to get to the ocean early enough to avoid traffic (if driving), and make it to work on time, but relatively easy.
- Running in Sydney – again, easy, but then again, it’s pretty easy to run. The city provides some crazy stair climbs to work those glutes, and a bit of freestyle with the urban running. Trail running is really a great love of mine, it was a big contributor when I first started becoming active, and I really think there is nothing better than a run on the trails! Though, not as easy as it has been in some places in the past, I’m still less than 30 minutes from some great trails (not to mention some fantastic parks), and there are amazing coastal views and steep climbs so close by for me to enjoy. This is by far the easiest option – I can run around my neighbourhood, run in the parks near my work, go a couple of stops on the train further and be running around the harbour, so this is an easy focus.
But, of course, that’s not all. It seems I want to do a bit of everything, and I have to say, Sydney provides me with a great opportunity for that (well, mostly)! Whilst I am living here, I have also embraced dance and fight classes. These are close to my work, so it’s incredibly easy to step out of work and into my dance shoes, or into the gym, to do these.
What is the take away? I like to be flexible, and with how often I have moved, I need to work around my wants. I want to be fit and healthy, and that is achievable anywhere. So, I want to ride bikes, I want to swim, to run and smash out a triathlon (or 2!), which means I will be working within my situation to achieve that – so maybe I won’t be cycling too often during the week, saving that for the weekends, and maybe I can alternate my runs and open water swims to incorporate them in my morning ritual before I head to work. When you want something bad enough, you’ll do anything to achieve it, right? When I look for a new job after my contract is up next year, I’m going to take into account how seriously my fitness is a part of my life.
I have to say, I’m happy to have realised that my health and fitness is so important to me.