On Monday, I returned to the gym and biked for 45 minutes. I did 16.20 miles and it was overall an average workout. Today, I got on the same bike, set the timer for the same 45 minutes and in the end wound up with a distance of 16.21.
But today's workout was infinitesimally better. Night and day. Apples and oranges. Water and oil... well, you get the point.
Not only did I feel exhausted after I was done, I felt like I'd just completed a challenging workout. Yesterday, I felt like I'd spun the wheels on the bike for 45 minutes.
I had a better mindframe, better mentality today. I focused before getting on the bike and was ready to face whatever challenges I had. For the first 10 minutes or so it was about the same but I made it a goal to push my heart rate as high as I possibly could. On the bike, though, I'm limited. My thighs can only handle so much before they start to burn and threaten to tear off my pelvis so I can only really push myself for a few minutes at a time.
But for those few minutes it made a world of difference. I started to challenge myself in two- or three-minute increments. I rose the bike's level from a seven or eight up to a 10, which for me is challenging. Hopefully if I get a bike and start to exercise using a bike I'll be able to handle more and ride longer distances at a higher level.
Anyway, that worked. My heart rate climbed immediately once I put on the higher pressure. It went from the high 130s into the 140s and eventually into the 150s. When my thighs started to shout, I slowed down. I did this multiple times during the bike ride and once my 45 minutes were up, I was exhausted.
Well, a little bit. I was tired of sitting so I jumped on the elliptical for about 15 minutes to round out the workout.
Here are the heart rate stats
(bike) time: 45:00, Avg hr 140, Max hr 164, Cal 532
(elliptical) time: 15:14, Avg hr 150, Max hr 160, Cal 201
I was able to maintain a higher average on the elliptical because of my bike workout. I think I may be able to adjust the times on both the bike and elliptical to have a more well-rounded workout.
More importantly, there's hope. I can start to challenge myself on these machines that I felt were not challenging enough as I take a break from distance running. And that alone makes the extra .01 worth every bit of energy I expelled to attain it.