The January Doldrums

I’ve been trying to think of things to add to the blog over the past week or so, but we just haven’t been up to much really. I guess it’s just the January Doldrums. It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s miserable and more often than not it’s dark outside. We’re back at work, Christmas seems as though it was ages away and we’re trying to save money to recoup what we spent in December! What with all that, there just hasn’t been a huge amount happening.

Beating the Doldrums

I don’t let such things get to me too much of course and I’ve been as busy as ever, it’s just that it’s been more routine than anything else. Busy at work and busy at play too. Work has been busy both at the University and for Pixelwave Web Design, whilst busy at play has been getting my head down to some training.

An average week at the moment sees me running three times, cycling 4 times, swimming 2 or 3 times and surf skiing 3 times too. It’s a mixture of base miles and some harder interval sessions too. I’ve written a training plan myself and so far I’ve been sticking to it fairly well so that all my weeks are coloured in mostly green!

Here’s last weeks plan.

Last Weeks Training

The grey session on Monday is an extra surf ski session that I managed to fit in. I was planning to do one on Tuesday as well but don’t always put these in the plan as the weather often dictates whether or not I can get out. Not having it there in the first place means that it doesn’t ruin my nice green colour scheme with a horrible red ‘missed session’. The yellow session on Sunday was supposed to be a 2½ bike ride but I went out into the hills for a ride with Simon and we were out for 3½ hours so it went a little over the plan. Not a problem as it was then too windy to surf ski on Sunday so I didn’t get a 3rd surf ski session in last week.

Riding in the Hills

The ride with Simon was good though. We headed out from Borth in 40-50mph winds before it was light. We rode around the southern edge of the bog and then up into Talybont woods before following the Leri up to Bont Goch.

River Leri

We then joined the Syfyddrin MTB Trail and rode up to Llyn Syfyddrin and then out to Craig y Pistyll.

Craig y Pistyll

It was certainly wild up here in these winds and now quite a slog. It was also down to about freezing temperature-wise as well and the hills were covered with a light dusting of snow.

A Dusting of Snow

We cut the corner a little here and headed onto the main Bont Goch descent. Speeding down hill was freezing but we gritted our teeth and enjoyed the gravity assist as we continued to battle against the wind. I got a puncture halfway down so had to repair it. Not only did this break up the fun descent but it didn’t help with our temperature either! Once it was fixed we continued on our way into Talybont. We then had a little detour into the woods behind Taliesin so as to avoid the main road. Simon was struggling a bit by now and was soon off and walking on any climbs. We therefore headed back towards Borth and the relief of a hot shower, hot drinks and some lunch.

Battling Through

Having battled through the wind and freezing temperatures on Sunday, things were similar today. I headed off to the estuary for a surf ski session. There was no wind when I launched but I knew it was due to pick up which is why I chose the relative shelter of the estuary rather than the seafront. The air temperature was only 3ºC, the hills were covered in snow and it was absolutely pouring with rain. Tough conditions for motivation indeed so I set up a workout on my watch and headed out towards Aberdovey to just get it done.

  • 10 minutes warm up
  • 2x 8 minutes hard with 2 minutes rest
  • 2x 4 minutes hard with 1 minute rest
  • 2x 2 minutes hard with 1 minute rest
  • 4x 1 minute hard with 1 minute rest
  • 10 minutes cool down

My route took me to Aberdovey and then upstream a little at what was pretty much slack low water. I did a couple of laps up and down the channel here and then could see the wind heading my way so decided to return back to the channels on the Ynyslas side just in case the weather turned really nasty. I’m glad I did as the wind soon picked up to 30 knots from the SW which I would have had to battle against to get back. The hammering rain turned to driving sleet as well. It was tough enough in the channels heading into the wind, but good fun on the downwind legs. I battled on, finishing the session with the sleet still hammering down and the wind howling.

Battling on the Bike

That wasn’t my day over with though. Next up (after some lunch) was a VO2Max Turbo Trainer session.

  • Warm Up
  • 3x 3×2 minutes at 120% FTP with 2 minutes between intervals and 6 minutes between set
  • Cool Down

As is often the case with such workouts, I was reluctant to do it but told myself just to make a start. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to finish it either but just kept telling myself to battle on and start the next interval, then start the next set. Before I knew it there were only two sets to go. It was getting tough but I could do it so on I went to complete it and get some more good training under my belt.

VO2 Max Session

Just a few more days of hardish training and then I have a ‘rest’ week planned for next week. That’ll comprise of a similar number of sessions, but they’ll all be just a little shorter and less intense and if I feel like skipping any then I will do so.

Next Week’s Recovery Plan

Hopefully there’ll be a few more exciting things to blog about on the horizon too… In fact, I know there are, but you’ll just have to check back soon to find out what they are – there are plans afoot!

1 Response

  1. Mum x says:

    I was wondering when you were going to blog!
    Sounds busy to me though x

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.