While I love to workout sometimes I need a little bit of inspiration. Working towards long term goals has always worked well for me. Especially if the goal is quantifyable. For example I love to aim for a distance over the year goal. 1000 miles over the course of one year is a challenge I’ve completed a couple years in a row now.
However, those long term goals don’t hold up to set backs. I’ve accepted that because of my ankle surgery earlier this year, I’m not going to be meeting any year long running goals.
That’s why I love the smaller challenges I sometimes come across. This year, I’ve completed a challenge by Concept 2 (the rowing machine), several challenges on the Expresso bike, and (prior to surgery) I completed a round of PIIT28 (a pilates and high intensity workout program by the creator of blogilates).
A month long, week long, or even single day challenge helps me stick with the challenge. It also lets me take a break between challenges if my body stopped enjoying the last round of exercise.
My favorite part of the Expresso bike is the challenges. While the bike sometimes feels like a video game, I would probably stick to the easiest courses if the challenges didn’t tell me which course to do next. I can frequently be found on an expresso bike on weekends (generally the only time I can get to the gym) grumbling that I HAVE to do a specific course that is just way too hard.
I love the variety of challenges available on their site. For example, I’m currently working on some long term goals of doing each of the courses at least once this year and a total mileage goal. I usually try to ride the ride of the week. The monthly challenges are varied. Last month I had to ride a total of 50 miles to get the badge. This month I have to beat my ghost (my previous time) at least 10 times.
In addition to these challenges, they occasionally have stage races. The current stage race is called the Vuelta e Expresso and is offered in three different levels that build off each other. I finished the mini vuelta (total 40 miles) and have started the vuelta (85 miles). I doubt I’ll have time to finish the grand vuelta (130 miles) before the challenge ends on September 10th. I might have been able to if I had more frequent access to an Expresso bike.
When you complete a challenge, you get a badge in your virtual trophy room. Which isn’t much, but I’m addicted.
The Concept 2 challenges are much less varied (without different courses its easier to challenge total distances). The differences are basically individual versus team, single distance or total distance, or rower or ski machine. I only recently finished my first challenge through them.
I love joining in on challenges my running group shares too (eg. Squat your way to better running).
What kind of challenges do you participate in? Do you prefer challenges or training plans for motivation?