Challenge #1 TM1

The first month of training, a motivational battle, but now complete!

Okay, time for some honesty. This challenge was selected because, simply put, it’s not going to truly test my limits. Sure it will be tough in parts but relatively and with the right preparation it should be quite straight forward. I could even probably complete it, painfully – I may add, but without any real training for it.



That’s not a challenge! I hear you all cry. Well, it still is a physical challenge with the added pleasure of a nice setting too, but this is more about making a lifestyle change. Challenging myself to get back into some form of regular training and on track ready for some bigger challenges!


It’s not that I am trying to take the easy way out. There was a time when I considered myself ‘fit’. I hit the gym five times a week, I ran or cycled at least twice a week, played competitive football three times a week, badminton once a week and mountain climbing/biking thrown in every so often too. I looked after myself, I ate very well and hardly ever drank alcohol. However, recent years with different life events taking place, my training has very much taken a back seat and I have slipped into that, ‘I don’t have the time’ or ‘it’s the last thing I want to do after working all day’ type attitude.


Not good…


To be honest, it felt pretty crap for quite a while. I tried to get back into the swing of things but training just didn’t seem to have a purpose. I mean, I am still fit enough to play most sports at a competitive level, I can run up mountains no problem or sit on a bike for 80 km as a one off. But there’s still something missing! I don’t feel as fit as I should and it makes me feel awful.


So this is it! Time to act, and the reason for this first challenge of my new blog. Easy, but not too easy. Something I can focus myself on and get back to being fit and healthy. Something I can achieve.



My first month or ‘mesocycle’ if you want to get technical was focused on just getting used to exercising regularly again. Aimed at improving my general fitness, some weights, some aerobic training that type of thing and towards the end of the month hopefully getting in 100+ kilometres on the bike over the course of the week. Here is what I managed in attempt to get myself in some sort of physical order:


Week 1: (w/c: 9th Oct)

  • Road bike – 27.2 km with 268 m of ascent
  • Road run – 5.5 km
  • Resistance – Vertical push and pull in the gym
  • Watt bike – 15 km in the gym
  • Mountaineering – 14 km distance, 886 m of ascent


Everyone knows the first week is the hardest. And me being, well me, I killed myself in the first session. A 14 % gradient on my very first ride. It was brutal. Vomit central towards the top of the hill. Welcome back to the tough stuff! I think it must have put a subconscious block on me for the rest of the week as I didn’t get back out on the road, but I did cover a modest 61.7 km. A decent start to a long time off, with the added task of juggling my work and social schedules to help fit exercise in, it’s not a bad start at all.


Week 2: (w/c: 16th Oct)

  • Resistance – Horizontal pull in the gym
  • Swimming – 550 m
  • Mountaineering – 5 km distance, 967 m ascent
  • Watt bike – 35 km in gym
  • Road run – 5.5 km


The second week was a disaster. I started off all motivated with a gym session and planning on swimming a couple of Km. Quickly realised I forgot to take my goggles to the gym which saw me only able to endure 550 meters before the chlorine almost blinded me. Next, I almost broke my wrist in the mountains and had to be air lifted to hospital – great, there goes holding on to a bike for a while. Just as the motivation was coming back too! It turned out the wrist was bad, but not as bad as first thought (read the story here) but despite the set-back I managed to squeeze in a run and a watt bike session.



Week 3: (w/c: 23rd Oct)

  • Watt bike – 35 km in gym
  • Watt bike – 35 km in gym
  • Road bike – 35 km with 105 m of ascent
  • Road bike – 33.8 km with 157 m of ascent
  • Mountaineering – 11.4 km distance, 1175 m ascent


Still committed to the cause, I took my damaged arm (and sling) to the gym. I was starting to feel stronger by the end of the week. A bit more like it with over 150 Km covered and 139 of it in the saddle (albeit 70 k on the watt bike). Surprisingly, all these rides were a piece of cake. Especially the last one of the week, I felt I could have probably done it again without even breaking sweat no problem. I think the key here was I had started to build it into my everyday schedule and the training was slowly becoming more of a routine. I was borderline looking forward to my rides next week at this point!


Week 4: (w/c: 30th Oct)

  • Swimming – 1.3 km
  • Resistance – Core focus and horizontal push in gym
  • Road bike – 51.2 km with 243 m of ascent
  • Road bike – 48.5 km with 245 m of ascent
  • Road bike – 51.6 km with 313 m of ascent


This week I really put my recovering wrist through its paces. The swimming felt good and strong but the wrist did begin to get sore towards the end. I couldn’t really push many weights about in the gym either due to my wrist, so I changed the focus to a bit of core strength, maybe next week? The first ride of the week was the first time I’ve felt properly strong on the bike, I pushed through 50 km without incident and was looking forward to the next day’s ride. The second one hurt for the last 10 km or so but it was a very fast ride. And the last ride of the week, well, I felt every single incline!



To summarise, the aim of this block of training was to increase my motivation by just getting me back into an exercise routine, finding out when training best fits around my schedule. The idea was then to increase my aerobic base a bit, through mainly cycling, to help my legs catch-up to my lungs. Not a bad start, and even with a setback or two I’m feeling good, bring on the next month – the focus will be on long rides and plenty of gym work! Let’s get these legs strong!


Author: Starting Point

My blog captures a range of outdoor adventure, each from its starting point, giving a first person account to the highs and lows of each exhilarating adventure. From climbing, mountaineering and camping to mountain biking, water sports and endurance type challenges. These are all my experiences brought alive to you through stories, pictures and video. Enjoy!

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