I don’t generally do New Years resolutions. I figure, if there’s something that needs changing, why wait for some arbitrary date to begin? But I do set at least one specific goal for myself.
My goal, for the last four years, has been to average 100 miles of bicycling per week. No particular reason for that, just a nice round number. So, 5200 miles per year.
It’s not really a big deal if I make it or not, but it’s something to aim for, to keep in mind throughout the year.
And I’ve hit the goal in three out of the four years — 5600 miles in 2010, 4500 miles in 2011, 5600 miles in 2012, and 5400 miles in 2013.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends, for adults, a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week (as well as strength work at least twice a week). More is better (up to a point) and they suggest 300 minutes per week as a good target.
At 100 miles per week, at a moderate pace of 12.5 miles per hour, that’s roughly 8 hours, or 480 minutes per week.
So perhaps a bit more than is strictly necessary. But I’m OK with that.
It’s pretty easy to do, most weeks. I find that if I use my bike for day-to-day transportation — commuting for work, shopping, errands, meetings, etc. — that gets me most of the way there. And a few longer recreational rides get me the rest of the way.
Averaging 100 miles per week is just not that big of a burden.
However, I’m not meeting the strength work recommendations. So that’s something for me to work on.
For 2014, I plan on maintaining my 100-miles-per-week average. And incidentally, I actually plan that out on a monthly basis, setting goals based on the time of the year. Here’s my schedule:
January: 200 miles
February: 250 miles
March: 350 miles
April: 500 miles
May: 600 miles
June: 600 miles
July: 600 miles
August: 600 miles
September: 600 miles
October: 400 miles
November: 300 miles
December: 200 miles
Of course, my actual mileage typically works out a little differently, depending on weather and what’s going on in my life. On average, I’ve exceeded goal in the winter-ish months, and fallen short during the summer, so perhaps I should adjust my schedule.
In the past, I’ve kept a detailed spreadsheet to log my rides, but this year, I’m going to try to dispense with that, and just use my totals from Strava or Endomondo. Using a GPS cyclometer, such as the Garmin 200, makes that super easy, and I have automatic stats and a map for each ride. It’s pretty slick.
Something else that helps keep motivation up, or at least serves as a good reminder, is to use challenges during the year. Things such as the 30 Days of Biking challenge, the National Bike Challenge, and numerous challenges posted at Strava and Endomondo, not only encourage you to ride, but help instill frequent bicycling as a positive habit. Having friends participating in the challenges can help, too.
Of course, it’s not really about the miles themselves. It’s about what the miles do for you — improving health, fitness, mood, and mental acuity. And it’s about moments such as this:
Have you set a bicycling goal for 2014?