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  • Training journal while learning to unicycle

    Having read the How to learn unicycling thread I was quickly redirected to reading the Journal of a New Unicycler and I thought that was a pretty neat idea, so I decided I wish to post my own thread as I learn this. Hopefully I can add a few videos like that of BurnerDave as well.

    If you don't want to read this then at least you are now warned :-)

    All right, so let's get started.

    Background

    I ordered my first uni last week at UDC UK, and then after reading and discussing more here I realized that I would need another one. So currently I am discussing with Roger about what to buy, and getting lots of excellent input from the others on that thread. I am currently wavering between a 24" and a 26" Nimbus ISIS Muni, which would be better for learning and also for later activities other than commuting and racing.

    Meanwhile, I am trying to exercise a bit to get in shape and prepare myself for the Big Task(TM) of learning how to unicycle.

    Actually, getting a uni in the first place is something that came out of three things; 1. I need to find some sports to do in order to get in better shape, and I don't like any of the conventional ones; 2. I have wanted to get a bike for several months for commuting to work; 3. My chiropractor said I should find some good activities for my back, like swimming or running in the forest.

    Now, I figured, getting a uni would be so awesome compared to getting a plain old bike, plus sitting upright on a uni must also be better for my back than crouching forward on a bike.

    My inspiration for getting a uni and more specifically a coker came from watching this video on YouTube - Unicycling In The Streets of Manhattan. Obviously these guys are pros, but I don't think there's anything wrong with being inspired by pros

    Pre-Uni Training

    I've read that having strong abs help you maintain a good posture and control on top of the wheel, and so I am happy that I have already been doing some exercises for a good while. Today, like almost every day for the last few months, I did 50 push-ups and 600 crunches.

    Then I have understood that having strong legs is useful, since a lot of other uni learners say they get exhausted from riding (and because they are not sitting down properly on the seat, but I have to assume I will make the same mistake). So I try to run a bit, and today I surprised myself by running for no less than 73 minutes, covering 10,2 km - I planned to do just a half hour so it will be interesting to see how I feel tomorrow... I was running on grass, actually down in the ditch along a nice country road which goes straight for probably at least 3 km quite close to my house. The ditch runs between the road and a nice bike path where I expect to unicycle a lot once I get going.

    Today I met lots and lots of bikers, two people on rollerblades and no other people on foot. Shortly after turning around I noticed that my feet were hurting a little - so I expect nice blisters tomorrow. Makes me feel like I did some real exercise :-)

    I already mentioned that the uni is part of a larger scheme to get in better shape, and losing weight is part of that plan. So I intend to keep track of my weight here as well. Hope this doesn't get too boring for you, if so then don't read it

    Anyway, before I started my diet today I visited a friend's house and after having some nice BBQ food on Saturday evening I weighed in at 97 kg. Then, after taking laxatives yesterday and starting a liquid only diet, I was down to 93 kg this morning (so that would be my "dry weight") and 92 kg after the run (so I lose a liter of sweat in one hour, this is consistent with previous experience).

    Now my goal is to be down between 90 and 95 kg normally, this means I have to get down between 85 and 90kg now while I don't have any food in my system. Obviously I will not lost 5-7 kgs just like that - but I do hope to manage over the coming weeks and months. Unicycling will be an important part of this.

    Until I get started, however, I am doing my other exercises, the daily routine for building strength as I mentioned, and then for endurance I try to run once a week and swim once a week. The last two Thursdays I managed to swim 2000 meters in 50 minutes, and I hope to keep doing that, while also running. If my knees and feet are with me, it would be great to run another 10km next weekend.

    Preparations for Unicycling

    Unicycling is not just about strength and aerobic endurance, but also a lot about balance. It seems most of the UPDs when learning to unicycle is due to loss of balance and this is caused by the lack of mental preparation to do the impossible balancing act on top of a wheel, and due to the lack of muscles trained to do just that. I've read about this need to train the muscles and I look forward to do that.

    Meanwhile I can practice my balance. My friend happens to have one of those new Wii Balance boards, and I've tried it a couple of times the last two weekends. It has lots of nice balancing games, and I've done fairly well on them. So far, so good.

    I was also very inspired by the video of Kris Holm in the Discovery channel program More than Human, and I figured the balance board they used to measure how far he could lean to each side resembled the Wii Balance board more than just a bit.

    The other important test (other than unicycling, of course) they made him do was the blind one-legged balancing, and so I tried doing that today as well, on both feet. I didn't last long, but I expect to be able to train this as time goes by. This is also the topic of this nice thread where Kris himself, John Foss and others discuss this topic.

    So that's about as far as I've come for now. My aim is to keep posting here as I progress, adding some pictures and videos if I manage to work out the technical details

    PS: I am not sure if "Just Conversation" is the right place for this thread, but I couldn't really find any other forums that were more suitable. If necessary, I assume the admins will move my post to the appropriate place.
    My training journal.
    My todo list (augustdreamt™): Assisted mount / Ride / PD / Turn / Uphill/Downhill / Uneven ground / Freemount / Sharp turns / Curbs / Idle / Hops / Ride backwards / Rolling mount / Jump mount

  • #2
    http://www.instructables.com/id/Unic...nd-the-basics/
    i dont know if it will help at all, but yeah
    BEST LUCK

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks!

      Thank you for the quick and nice response! I just looked at your site and it's a nice tack on the "how to unicycle" I think. Doesn't make it look so difficult as some of the other tutorials I've seen, e.g. on YouTube (but some of them are good too). I've tried to order them in a somewhat sensible order here:

      mounting 1
      mounting 2 and initial riding
      mounting 3
      mounting a coker
      sitting correctly
      dismounting/UPD
      idling
      gliding
      kick-up mount
      spin 180
      spin 180 and 360

      Those are some of the ones I found while looking around
      My training journal.
      My todo list (augustdreamt™): Assisted mount / Ride / PD / Turn / Uphill/Downhill / Uneven ground / Freemount / Sharp turns / Curbs / Idle / Hops / Ride backwards / Rolling mount / Jump mount

      Comment


      • #4
        Anything unicycle related belongs in Rec.Sport.Unicycling. But its ok cause you new, just make sure next time
        #67942

        Comment


        • #5
          Moving the thread?

          Originally posted by JJtheunicycle
          Anything unicycle related belongs in Rec.Sport.Unicycling. But its ok cause you new, just make sure next time
          So can I get help to get it moved there? Obviously I want it to be in the right forum, but I didn't think that a News group was a place to post...
          My training journal.
          My todo list (augustdreamt™): Assisted mount / Ride / PD / Turn / Uphill/Downhill / Uneven ground / Freemount / Sharp turns / Curbs / Idle / Hops / Ride backwards / Rolling mount / Jump mount

          Comment


          • #6
            Its kool, Gilby might see it and move it. He is the site moderator. If not, you can send him a pm (private message)with the thing in the upper right corner.
            oh yeah (you probably know but a UPD is an unplanned dismount.)
            Im glad my tutorial seems good to you, send me a pm anytime and I will clarify.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by vanpaun
              http://www.instructables.com/id/Unic...nd-the-basics/
              i dont know if it will help at all, but yeah
              BEST LUCK
              Arrrrgggggggg You beat me to it
              OMG
              BIG HUGE UNICYCLE!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by vanpaun
                http://www.instructables.com/id/Unic...nd-the-basics/
                i dont know if it will help at all, but yeah
                BEST LUCK
                Nice tutorial my friend.
                Originally posted by unidude55
                Arrrrgggggggg You beat me to it
                I am one weird and unusual Greek Cypriot Australian with a pienormous heart.

                Can't wait till this game is finally released.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by lillestrøm_uni
                  I've read that having strong abs help you maintain a good posture and control on top of the wheel, and so I am happy that I have already been doing some exercises for a good while. Today, like almost every day for the last few months, I did 50 push-ups and 600 crunches.
                  You should reconsider the need for 600 crunches. Strenghten your core, because it's those deep subtle muscles you need. And if you do abs you must do back exercises or you'll be worse off. A 12" stability disc is great for developing the deep core muscles.
                  It's turtles all the way down.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    YE good job

                    Lillestrøm bit to far away, or i could teach you!
                    if you wanna, take the train to drammen, and i'll learn you everything you need, i even have different unicycles that you can train on!
                    Sorry for my english it's not great, but I work hard to get it better

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Good luck, lillestrøm!

                      Good luck, lillestrøm!

                      Now I joined this forum too, after you and Sigve told me about it. Looks good. I will read your unicycle "blog" here, but it would be nice if you keep the people on
                      Enhjulingsida Forum updated too. Have good luck!
                      Enhjulingsida - Plassen for enhjuling

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Some progress

                        Hi all and thanks for lots of encouraging comments! I will PM the Mod to get my thread moved also.

                        So, here's my progression since the last time I posted. On Monday I wrote that I ran 10,2 km in 73 minutes. Today I ran (almost) the same route (I took a shortcut on the walk/bike trail instead of running along the car road (which you are not supposed to do) like last time, so I estimated it to be a 100 meters shorter one way) and ended up running 10,0 km in 67 minutes :-)

                        However, today it had been raining a lot so the grass was wet and therefore I ran on the asphalt instead of in the grass next to the road, and obviously that is harder than running on a flat surface. But my knee wasn't much worse afterwards from this running than from the grass running, and I didn't get any blisters at all under my feet, clearly this was due to sliding around inside the shoes while doing the "off-road" running last time.

                        In order to reduce the knee pain (the tendons are not as quick as the muscles to adjust to the activity, which is why one should always take care - in my case I will run only once a week until I feel that the knee tendons are OK, then I can run more often) I practiced lifting my feet less off the ground and keep my legs more straight. This is also good for the muscles at the back of my thighs - they need to be stretched and if I don't stretch my legs they are of course not stretched either. Plus I stopped 3-4 times for stretching while I ran - last time I only stopped once but I also stopped for doing those balance tests (see last time's description) so I guess it's not really that easy to compare the total times...

                        Anyway, when I started running the rain had stopped and I had clear blue sky and sun, green hills and small sprouts coming out of the freshly plowed fields next to the road. Really beautiful. White coulds started forming and there was a little light drizzle for 5 minutes while I was almost halfway, just before turning around. On my way back the clouds became gray again and I realised that I was chased by the rain, as I had the wind in my back instead of from the front. So my sunglasses fogged up a little, and as I neared home I was getting quite wet from the increasing rain.

                        But the sun was still shining from the angle, as the clouds were only above me, and I saw a really perfect 180 degree rainbow :-)

                        It was so strong that I could see the secondary reversed rainbow directly inside, and also a tertiary rainbow some distance outside the primary one.

                        As I get very close to my house, I turned 90 degrees and ran straight towards the rainbow with the sun in my back. Then I felt I could almost even see a quaternary rainbow outside the tertiary one, at the same spacing. Perhaps it was just an illusion but the rainbows were so strong that it could perhaps be possible.

                        Also with all the flags hanging out in my neighborhood celebrating our national day, shining in the sun, it was really lovely.

                        I ran inside to check the time and was very happy that I had beat my previous time, then got the camera and ran back outside to take pictures of the rainbow. Unfortunately the clouds had already drifted away (in 5 minutes!) and there was just blue sky where the rainbow had been...

                        Oh well, I had a very nice experience and I am very happy that I managed to go outside for a run instead of just sitting inside as I felt like first.

                        And I wanted to share this nice experience with you, as well as just mention my exercising!

                        In other news, I did a whopping 1000 crunches on Wednesday - on the other days I did the regular 600 in addition to the 50 push-ups. And yes, BurnerDave, I know that you should do back exercises as well. I used to do that by standing on my knees and then lifting one arm and one leg (diametrically opposed) and do as many reps as I did for crunches.

                        Back then I would do the same number of push-ups, situps (crunches) and back exercises. My ultimate goal has been to get a 6-pack and I realised I would never succeed in that way, so I tried dropping the back exercises, and doing as many crunches as I could, rather than doing the same number as the push-ups. Also, instead of doing regular push-ups which I was doing really fast, so I could manage up to 300 push-ups, 300 sit-ups and 300 back exercises every day, I started doing them on my knuckles, and make sure I stretched my arms fully (before, I remember my friend criticising me for not doing "real" push-ups when I showed him that I could do 300). So I figured I'd go for quality rather than quantity.

                        I think that is also true for crunches, but it feels nice with large numbers :-)

                        In any case, I've made large progress with my abs and as I am losing a little of the subcutaneous fat on my belly can start seeing the contours of a sixpack somewhere below :-)

                        I don't remember what I wrote about the diet I'm on now but I started at 97 kg last Saturday. Then on Sunday and Monday I emptied my system by using laxatives and drinking lots of water, and then I was down to 93 kg. Since then I have now managed to get down to 90-91 kg measured yesterday and today, and I think/hope this is due to burning fat. This is also why I prefer running long distances slowly than running a shorter distance faster.

                        Plus it is very important that I am basically not eating, just drinking this juice, which means I have lower sugar levels to burn before I start burning fat (at least I hope so). So by exercising regularly, hopefully every day soon, and keeping my energy intake low by eating less than I did before, I should naturally keep losing weight even when I stop doing the diet sometime next week.

                        I didn't go swimming on Thursday, by the way, as my car broke down and I have to go to Oslo to swim. And I am afraid I'll have the same problem until I get my car fixed. Anyway, soon the open-air pool close by will open for the season and then I can go there instead, hopefully (almost) every day.

                        So I hope that running and swimming will be sufficient as back exercises are concerned :-)

                        All right, good night and have a good weekend!
                        My training journal.
                        My todo list (augustdreamt™): Assisted mount / Ride / PD / Turn / Uphill/Downhill / Uneven ground / Freemount / Sharp turns / Curbs / Idle / Hops / Ride backwards / Rolling mount / Jump mount

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Some edits

                          Turns out I timed out editing to make a couple of additional comments to my text... So here goes:

                          Originally posted by lillestrøm_uni

                          In other news, I did a whopping 1000 crunches on Wednesday - on the other days I did the regular 600 in addition to the 50 push-ups. And yes, BurnerDave, I know that you should do back exercises as well. I used to do that by standing on my knees and then lifting one arm and one leg (diametrically opposed) and do as many reps as I did for crunches.

                          Back then I would do the same number of push-ups, situps (crunches) and back exercises. My ultimate goal has been to get a 6-pack and I realised I would never succeed in that way, so I tried dropping the back exercises, and doing as many crunches as I could, rather than doing the same number as the push-ups. Also, instead of doing regular push-ups which I was doing really fast, so I could manage up to 300 push-ups, 300 sit-ups and 300 back exercises every day, I started doing them on my knuckles, and make sure I stretched my arms fully (before, I remember my friend criticising me for not doing "real" push-ups when I showed him that I could do 300). So I figured I'd go for quality rather than quantity.

                          I think that is also true for crunches, but it feels nice with large numbers :-)
                          Another reason for reducing the number of reps and rather do "harder ones" is that it takes less time. By going from the 300+300+300 to 50+600 I am reducing the time from about 15 minutes down to 4-5 minutes. And this is obviously very important if I am to do it every morning before breakfast...

                          And I think one of the most important back exercises I can do is sitting correctly, having a straight and slightly arched back rather than slouch on the chair while spending too many hours each day in front of the computer screen...

                          PS: Mattis and sigve, I certainly hope and think we'll be able to organise some event in or around Oslo sometime. I just need to actually get my uni and start using it, and get sufficiently proficient that there's any point in meeting you guys, who are already doing well...

                          I will post my progress here (of course, that's the point of this entire thread), and I am enjoying your posts about your activities in the Norwegian forum run by Mattis :-)
                          My training journal.
                          My todo list (augustdreamt™): Assisted mount / Ride / PD / Turn / Uphill/Downhill / Uneven ground / Freemount / Sharp turns / Curbs / Idle / Hops / Ride backwards / Rolling mount / Jump mount

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Core muscles

                            Originally posted by BurnerDave
                            You should reconsider the need for 600 crunches. Strenghten your core, because it's those deep subtle muscles you need. And if you do abs you must do back exercises or you'll be worse off. A 12" stability disc is great for developing the deep core muscles.
                            Allright, so I've purchased one stability disc (or wobble board) and two inflatable stability discs (like flat pillows), so I can start training my balance. Good tip Also, I can put these on a chair while sitting and for push-ups and so on. This should be better for my spine, abs and back muscles I think than just sitting normally on the chair.

                            Now I just need to wait to get all this gear :-)
                            My training journal.
                            My todo list (augustdreamt™): Assisted mount / Ride / PD / Turn / Uphill/Downhill / Uneven ground / Freemount / Sharp turns / Curbs / Idle / Hops / Ride backwards / Rolling mount / Jump mount

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Friday night update

                              Originally posted by lillestrøm_uni
                              Allright, so I've purchased one stability disc (or wobble board)
                              The wobble board arrived today, so now I can start practicing my balance :-)

                              Still waiting for the rest. UDC UK shipped my coker on Wednesday - it was two weeks delayed while they worked out whether it was possible to fit a muni in the same box to save on shipping, and I was discussing with you guys about what size muni to get - in the end it turned out there wasn't room and then I figured I might as well wait a bit and try the coker before I buy another uni.

                              In other news, I swam 2500 meters last evening, in 51 minutes. Two weeks ago I swam 2000 m in 50 minutes. So that's a good improvements. Mostly this was due to the fact that I swam the last 2200 m without stopping, then mostly breast and only 100m crawl for every 500m (or 400m, to be precise) of breast swimming. I managed to do 200m crawl at the finish (since I was doing a regular 100m after the 2000m mark anyway), and I was so tired I really noticed it today. But the good thing about swimming is that you get tired evenly, unlike running when your legs are dead for days, while the rest of the body is fine. So I am now waiting for the outside pool to open (or rather, the weather to get warm enough that I can go there), so I can start swimming every morning. That should do wonders.

                              Furthermore, at my most recent weighing, earlier this evening, I was down to 87 kg, which is 10 kg lighter than when I started out 11 days ago. That translates into a real weight loss of 6 kg. I'm going to keep doing this diet until the end of next week, and then I am hoping that I will be able to stay below 90 kg. A place I haven't been for years :-)

                              Even after losing 6 kg I still haven't really lost that much (it is definitely noticeable, but still a lot) of the belly fat and the "fat ring", so I am probably going to have to lost another 5-10 kg (down towards 80-85 kg) before I can begin to hope that my subcutaneous fat will be more or less gone, thus achieving the infamous six-pack I've been dreaming of.

                              Well, it's allowed to dream in any case.

                              Now I will start using the wobble board in the bathroom, when I am brushing my teeth etc. so I will be using it regularly, and probably also for dedicated sessions. I already tested it a little today, as soon as I got it out of the package, and I was able to stay completely balanced in the middle without much problem. Seem there is a rather essential error with the wobble board though - it is a little flat in the middle so if I reach that "zone of stability" and stay straight, then it's not really hard at all to balance.

                              Probably more relevant then is to rotate my hips in a big circle and staying balanced, this is what would be useful on a uni I guess, since I will keep falling out of balance, and then I will need to adjust my upper body to adjust until I can move the uni back under my center of gravity. At least that's how I have interpreted the various advice I've been reading around here and there.

                              The essence of unicycling, as I've understood it is that you should not try to move your upper body to be above the uni, but rather move the uni to be below you. Just like balancing a long stick in your hand - you have to move your hand around to keep it under the top of the stick. Simple physics. But as all such things - easier said (or in theory) than done (or in practice).

                              So, have a good weekend and get those unis out - I look forward to join the club!
                              My training journal.
                              My todo list (augustdreamt™): Assisted mount / Ride / PD / Turn / Uphill/Downhill / Uneven ground / Freemount / Sharp turns / Curbs / Idle / Hops / Ride backwards / Rolling mount / Jump mount

                              Comment

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