It's been four weeks since my last update on my six week fitness challenge with Digme Fitness. For the past month I've been to Digme indoor cycling classes twice a week, with one week off travelling for work. This is my 'mid-challenge' report, with two more weeks of intensive classes left to go and a personal mission to try and beat my average watts PB. I'll do a final report in 2 weeks time.
I started this challenge to kickstart my winter training and get ready for Spring. Most people know spring is coming when the snowdrops and daffodils start budding. Cyclists know it's almost spring when we start seeing the sunrise during our morning Regent's Park laps or daily commute. Despite the lighter mornings, my weekly indoor sessions at Digme have really allowed me to focus my training, and use their stats to see my progression.
I feel stronger after a month of structured training. My stats have improved quite a lot, and I feel noticeably stronger on the bike through the gears I'm now choosing to warm up in. In my first classes I would start in gear 11 or 12 and work up from there. This week I'm starting in gear 14 or 15 depending on whether or not I had a decent lunch full of energy or a cereal bar at my desk.
I’m certainly not finding the classes easier, but that's because I'm pushing harder, and it's nice to be able to pin point that improvement in the stats I'm getting. I also feel like I'm learning a lot about my body, specifically when and where to push myself in a class. I can use the numbers on the board to relate to how I'm feeling within myself, and up my intensity when I really need to. Come spring, this ability to gauge when to push myself is really going to help out on the road.
My stats have improved quite a lot in two weeks, which is awesome. My average power has gone up by over 20 watts, which is really rewarding to see in black and white. I never thought of myself as a 'powerful' cyclist, and I'm no sprinter, so it's nice to see that the numbers can be improved. As I get back on the road and start combining indoor and outdoor cycling again into my training plan, I'll hopefully be able to improve those numbers even more.
What really surprised me however was how much stronger I feel day to day. I noticed in a yoga class that I could hold positions for longer without cursing the yoga gods. When I ran Park Run for the first and then the second time, I actually enjoyed it. I didn’t completely hate running. My breathing was steady, I didn’t get a stitch and 5km felt hard but not excruciating. I am not a runner, but on my second attempt I shaved 2 minutes off my time. Not too shabby. Could've been the extra espresso shot, but I’m convinced it's the Digme classes.
Noticing how strong I feel has inspired a new motivation for continuing the challenge. Not only are my power and stats improving, but I feel a physical and inner strength building. It’s so important to feel strong when you spend most of your time in a big city getting beat up by work, commuting or your busy calendar. I’ve had a week off because I’ve had to travel for work and I’m worried I’ve lost a bit of that magical power, but I’ll be back on it next week for the final two week push. Tune in for a final update in two weeks. Happy riding :)