When I talk to some women who are new to riding, or are challenged by their idea of riding far enough to go camping, I learn that one of the biggest challenges is increasing distance.
“But how do I go from 3 miles to 30 miles?”
The answer is just as simple as you think it might be:
Start where you are today and build.
Part of being the best version of you, no matter who that is, is giving yourself an honest assessment of your capability at the present moment, and then make incremental changes in your desired direction.
Let’s say you have a 3 mile loop that you know around your house. Increase miles by looking at the map. Can you string another two blocks onto it here or there?
I’m certain there are ways that you can do this, slowly. As slowly as you need to. It does not matter a hoot that you can’t ride 30 miles today or tomorrow.
What matters is that you ride 3 and a half miles tomorrow. And then try 4 miles next week.
When I was just starting to ride a bike again as an adult, I remember really feeling like I was testing my boundaries with riding to the SUNY Albany campus from my home on Providence Street. A whopping three miles.
It was my truth. It was where I started.
When I moved back to New Jersey, going around the TCNJ campus was the starting point.
Then, once I did that loop once or twice – I’m a total map nerd, you guys – I used Livestrong Loops to stretch and stretch and stretch. I did a ton of day dreaming and made a bunch of different loops with that online program. Today, Google has upped it’s Map game and that’s the primary device I use at this time for wayfinding, but I digress. Livestrong Loops was good to me when I needed it, and I appreciate that.
So, when you’re thinking about where you might want to go on your first bike overnight, don’t get too bogged down in the idea that you’re not physically comfortable with riding 20 or 30 miles just yet. (That will come. It’s called having goals.)
Just start where you are and tick up your mileage regularly.
When you get to ten miles, you can probably stretch that right to twelve, and then 15 the next week. You’d be surprised what your body can do once you get it warmed up.
There are all kinds of training plans out there if you’re into something formal, but for shorter mileage, don’t get too wrapped up in finding a specific schedule – especially not if it’s something that even smacks of giving you a reason to feel bad or procrastinate. It’s just not that big of a deal at this point.
In the future, who knows, maybe one day you’ll even aspire to join the century club.
Hey, it could happen.. You don’t know if you never try to get to mile #4.
What’s the longest ride you’ve been on? Where do you want to go? Why?