My very first activity recorded on Strava was Wednesday April 25th, 2018. I had just joined the Highwood Cycle Club’s Women’s Club and this was my very first ride with the group. All the cool kids used Strava, so I quickly jumped on board and began logging my workouts.
Why do I log my workouts? And why on earth am I crowing about this milestone? Well, this is actually just a small step in a much bigger achievement.
The Power of a Commitment
I believe in New Year’s Resolutions. They work for me, because I can commit to them. My dad told me about New Year’s Resolutions when I was 19, and it was the first time I heard about setting goals. Lacking any sort of clarity or direction in my life, I jumped on this one bit of advice.
My first New Year’s Resolution was to be on time for everything – work, appointments, and all events. I was habitually late for everything, which was stressful, rude and frankly unnecessary. Not knowing how long it took to create a new habit, I committed to being on time for one full year.
During this time, I was always between 5 and 15 minutes early. It felt so good to be stuck in traffic, knowing that I had a good 15 minutes of wiggle-room. No more last minute dashing around. No more apologizing for running late into a meeting. No more missing appointments. Instead, I was calm, relaxed and actually enjoyed driving across town.
Since that year, I have always been more or less on time. Sometimes I am late, but it’s the rare exception rather than the rule.
Fast Forward 20 Odd Years…
For New Years 2018, I needed to shake things up and commit to change. I hadn’t really exercised in years, I was overweight, and did not like how I looked or felt. I decided that my 2018 New Year’s Resolution would be to exercise daily.
This didn’t mean I had to do hardcore cardio everyday, because that would never last, but I needed to do something every single day. If I ran on Monday, then Tuesday I could do Tai Chi. Or I’d do some sit ups, and push ups. Anything and everything counted.
Within a week of my resolution, I’d already skipped a day. Not good! This was serious and I was not going to fail. I created a calendar to log my daily work outs. I placed it on my dresser so that I’d see it every morning and evening.
This worksheet kept me on track, and I was able to complete 12 months of (almost) daily workouts. During this time, I lost a few pounds, gained some muscle, and definitely increased my cardio. The real win is that I feel so much better about myself.
How does Strava fit in to all this? After a year of tracking, I feel l have a solid exercise routine, but I like the idea of tracking my cardio workouts. Strava gave me all kinds of information (how long, how far, and how well I performed), and let me connect with other people logging similar workouts.
Since I joined Strava, I’ve logged:
- 88 road bike cycling trips
- 34 hikes (could be a scramble or backpack)
- 33 jogs
- 23 walks (a face-paced 5 km or more, not a stroll)
- 12 back-country skiing (alpine ski touring) trips
- 5 cross-country ski trips
- 3 kayaks
- 2 sculling / rowing trips
I don’t track everything, like the 15 minute walk to a friend’s house, or my weekly Pilates class. I only track my major cardio workouts, as everything else flows from them.
Not as Easy as it Looks
I had several injuries and set backs in 2018, any one of which would have ended my exercise routine without my New Year’s Resolution.
In March, I did a week-long back-country ski trip at the Kokanee Glacier hut near Nelson. One day, we did this huge adventure off the glacier that ended with us skiing down a frozen waterfall (not so bad), and then spent a good two hours skiing the narrow granite canyon below the waterfall. I fell a few times, twisted my left knee badly, and was out of commission for a while.
I had the flu for a week. This set me back more than I’d like to admit, but it goes to show how poorly I was doing when I got sick.
In early summer, my back went out. This has never happened to me before or since. I couldn’t ride my bike, and I found it incredibly difficult to sit or stand back up. I could hike, but needed help getting in and out of the car. After sitting on the ground for lunch, several people would have to lift me up. Brutal.
It’s now been one year and 10 months since I started my resolution to exercise daily.
I could have stopped exercising after any one of those set backs, but I had my little sheet of paper with a bunch of blank spots, and that kept me motivated. Plus, if I backed away from a New Year’s Resolution, I would feel like I let down my dad.
Whatever it takes for you to keep going, on whatever journey your’e on, keep doing it. You are always better off to do something small every single day, than to do nothing at all.