Originally, I planned on running and improving my speed, however, after the first two days I figured out that running was not one of my strengths and due to the lockdown my stamina had decreased drastically, which made it very difficult for me to run quickly or past a certain distance. I realised that I will first have to improve my fitness through other techniques, so I decided to take up on cycling, which I decided would be a good challenge and would help me learn as essential skill. I had to learn from the beginning as I hadn’t cycled for a very long time and I had to learn how to be out alone on the road. My final goal was to be able to cycle 10 km.
Throughout the process I had to keep on analysing my strengths and weaknesses so I could try to overcome them. I reflected on what went well and what didn’t after each time I went cycling or running.
My strengths were being able to balance the cycle easily and maintain a good running technique, which was key to avoiding injury during running
My faults were not having enough stamina during running, not being able to turn properly on a cycle, not being able to navigate traffic and stop immediately when required which could prove to be dangerous. The last point was something I eventually worked through to some extent and am still not efficient enough at it, which I will be through more practice.
Another one of my weaknesses was not being fast enough even though now I am familiar with the basic cycling techniques, which is an area of improvement.
This was a new experience for me and some of the biggest challenges I faced are as follows:
1. Carries immense risk- Indicating that cycling is inherently dangerous, which is something that scared me and also prevented me from taking this up earlier. I took up the challenge to overcome my fears of not being able to control the cycle, overcoming traffic anxiety and being afraid of turning sharply (as you can fall easily) through the process.
2.Navigating traffic was mentally exhausting: Another challenge was constantly having to navigate traffic, which I felt at times became my primary goal, instead of being physically exerted through cycling. I took up the challenge of overcoming this issue, so I can go out on the roads unsupervised, as I became more confident and gained control of my cycling technique.
3. During running my biggest challenge was not having enough strength or stamina. Lockdown had taken a toll on my fitness. I initially tried to work through it, by doing proper cool down and warmup and some additional exercise, however, it did not seem to work, as I realised that it would be a long term goal, for which I began planning immediately. I also devised techniques to overcome this during running.
This was a completely self-initiated activity which I was self-motivated to do, as lockdown had taken a toll on my fitness a lot. It was important that I get back to my previous level of fitness, which is why initially I started with running, however, I soon realized directly proceeding to attempt running was not working and I needed to accompany with more planned exercise, which is when I decided I should reduce the frequency of running and learn cycling as it an essential life skill. However during running as well it was important to plan the distance I would cover each day and also about how I would pace myself from a state of relaxation into such a physical activity, and devising different running techniques which work best for me (ex: running 500 m , then walking for 50 etc) I had to plan each day for cycling in my head, as jumping straight into it would be very dangerous.I planned each day out in terms of what basic skills I would practice. So in the initial days, I took my father along and cycled in a circle, until I could balance the cycle easily and turn somewhat effectively. The next few days I cycled for longer distances and practiced taking different turns such as over long and short curves and well timed and sudden. After this my aim was to be able to cycle, without stopping for any form of traffic( pedestrian or vehicles) which I grew comfortable with over the course of a next few days. Example, I did not stop for a car/bike beside me for the fear of losing balance and having an accident. I charted a fixed route in my society which helped me measure my progress and stay consistent. For a few days I was also able to focus on improving my average speed. Disruptions to my plan were caused by the fact that when I did not feel confident in specific skills such as taking left turns, I would often dedicate extra time to it, until I felt comfortable with it so as to stay safe. It was also difficult to account for when the cycle crashed and I had to take it to repair which disrupted my plan. However, this plan motivated me to do something I ideally would not have been able to grasp so quickly otherwise, and this little success has given me the push I need to make this a part of my daily routine and continue improving as much as I can.
Even though I found running to be extremely physically draining I persevered to cover my set target for each day and found ways to overcome my limitations. During cycling used to fall and crash several times due to several reasons including traffic and crashing into walls while taking turns , as I was still in the learning phase but instead of giving up, I used to analyse what caused it and work on that skill in a safe manner and try again, which shows that I was committed towards my goal of being able to cycle.
I had taken a challenge and was committed to learning a new life skill. This also required a great amount of time commitment as due to my worse fitness some tasks in running would take a long time, as well as in cycling, when I had to learn a new skill, I had to spend longer than planned and was not afraid to make the time commitment. At some points I did feel like giving up as I was just not able to learn something correctly like how to regain speed after a speedbreaker or how to control speed and direction after a ramp, but my end goal of being able to cycle 10km kept me going which I was finally able to achieve at the end. Even for achieving 10 km, I reached uptil 8km two times and had to stop due to either a crash of bad weather.
-Risk Taker: As I took on a physically exhausting task and learnt a new skill
-Knowledgeable: I have now become informed of the different technicalities of cycling and running.