Moving For Mind

At the beginning of September an inconspicuous post appeared on the work Yammer, appealing for people to join the Move For Mind challenge.

So I set myself a challenge. One nowhere near the severity of my failed 2015 attempt to cycle from Land's End to John O'Groats, but one requiring a decent amount of commitment and a significant change to my habits.

The Headline Stats

Distance Cycled
Elevation Climbed
Max HR
Time Taken
Money Raised
Major Incidents

My initial goal was to ride 300km in the 30 days of September (that is, despite only starting on the 6th). An average of only 10km per day, but around 50% of the total distance I've managed on my bike since 2017.

As it happened, it went fairly well. Therefore, as I crested the 300km goal, I decided to push myself and try and get an extra 50% in the remaining week. My legs really weren't keen on the idea, but after a reasonably keen 5-day push (definitely trending slower), I got through it.

Achieving the Habitual

Having a greater goal was of huge benefit. My mixed history with my health and fitness has had its peaks and troughs, but I've always found myself neglecting exercise before long without some outside motivation.

At university that motivation came from whichever rowing squad (and crew) I was in, along with the coach. At my last job I got involved with a sort of casual football group (which even then was well beyond my ability).

My attempts to commit to the same degree without some third party to motivate me or to provide suitable peril for failure has always seen me putting health and fitness at a lower priority to productivity.

With the outside motivation, however, that initial potential well1 to getting out and getting active is far less of an obstacle. Especially with the final shove to get to 450km, I had found a routine and a rhythm. The frustration to miss a planned day would far outweigh any reluctance to pull myself away from my work. However on the final day, the final 50km push, events transpired to make me question how soon I'd want to get back on the bike.

I have cooled off from cycling (especially as the climate cools similarly), but it has been really valuable to remind myself of how positive forming a habit and routine is. Things are obviously tricky with the pandemic (especially so in Liverpool), but I hope to remain active (having taken a very lazy week or so to recover).

  1. Potential well - A phenomena in physics where for some form of energy to be transferred from one body/form to another, it must surpass a certain threshold within which energy is captured by the well rather than transferred.