Time to Rebuild

I wouldn’t say I’ve been ‘training’ yet, but it is time to rebuild. I don’t know if I’ll be competing in any triathlons, quadrathlons, cyclocross races or other events yet, so there’s nothing to actually train for anyway. I have however been very gradually increasing the amount of exercise I do.


The volume and intensities are still way down on what I did before my heart attack. I’m still doing less than half the training I did, maybe closer to 1/3 really. Rather than two sessions a day I’ve been restricting myself to one session. Most of the sessions are shorter than they were and most of them are less intense too. I occasionally have two back to back rest days as well – something I haven’t done for years. My Strava Fitness and Freshness chart does show some sort of improvement despite the lack of any proper training.

Fitness Chart
Fitness Chart

You can clearly see the sudden drop in fitness from June through to September. That’s what a heart attack and the subsequent 3 months of inactivity does for you! I say inactivity but I was at least walking every day which I suppose is more than lots people do, so it probably isn’t as bad as it could have been. You can then see a gradual improvement since September. I doubt I’ll get myself back to the heights I was at before and I’m sure the performance will never be there, but at least things are moving in the right direction.

There is still some chest discomfort. It doesn’t come on until a few hours after any exercise and seems to be there most days regardless of what exercise I’ve done. The cardiologists assure me it’s not cardiac related so I’ll take their word for it. It would be nice to know what it is though.

As far as the actual training sessions go, they’ve been OK.


Swimming is restricted to pool swims at the moment. Sessions in the pool are only 45 minutes long anyway due to Covid restriction. I’m not able to do too much in that amount of time. 2000m is all I can fit in by the time I’ve warmed up, done some drills etc. My swim speed is down quite a bit but I am at least able to do it. If I try to go any faster then I seem to hit a brick wall and just end up at the same speed anyway. Realtively slow and steady seems to be the best approach for now.


Cycling has been indoors too. All thanks to TrainerRoad. I’ve been using the Adaptive Training feature of TrainerRoad for a while now as I was a Beta Tester for the feature. I’m sticking with it but have dropped my FTP to 200 Watts since my Heart Attack and haven’t completed a proper Ramp Test to re-assess it. The Ramp test would be too much of an effort in itself.

The FTP I have set seems about right though. Even if it’s not completely accurate the progressive nature of the plans built by the Adaptive Training feature should still be gradually increasing the difficulty of the workouts and hopefully leading to some improvements. They also mix things up a bit using what TrainerRoad calls ‘Progression Levels‘ to make sure I am improving across all energy zones.

“Progression Levels track your unique abilities across each training zone. As your fitness changes, your Progression Levels adjust to reflect your dynamic strengths and weaknesses.”


The Base – Buid – Speciality phases of TrainerRoads’ periodisation also helps keep things on track. I’m currently in a ‘build phase’ which is a little out of kilter with the time of year. It does mean that I’m being given some more difficult sessions to do from time to time. Tomorrow’s session looks pretty difficult and I have a feeling it might be too much. I haven’t done much work above threshold yet as I’ve been holding back so we’ll have to see how it goes.

Tomorrows Session
Tomorrows Session


Running has been outdoors and mainly at a slow steady pace. Most runs have been in the 30-45 minute range as well. I did do some 30 second intervals the other day at a slightly faster pace, and ran (very slowly) for an hour yesterday. The faster paced intervals weren’t exactly fast though.

30 Second Intervals
30 Second Intervals


I’ve so far (with quite a bit of encouragement from Anna) resisted the temptation to go sea swimming, windsurfing, kayaking or any other watersports. It does mean that now we are into winter that I might not get out doing such things until it starts to warm up next year. It was difficult this weekend though as Simon had come to Ynyslas to go windsurfing, the conditions were good. headed to the beach to see him but didn’t go out myself. Alastair was out windsurfing too and Lawrence, Mike and Michele were all out kitesurfing. Shame I couldn’t join them.

I have been given the green light for Scuba Diving from my cardiologist though. Morgan is hopefully doing the pool-based session for his Open Water Diver course in the New year and I’ll go along for a session in the pool too. It’s safer to start in the pool rather than open water, but hopefully we’ll then be able to book a trip to warmer climes where Morgan can do the open water aspect of the course and I can join him for a few shallow dives.

Into the Mountains

I watched 14 Peaks the other day. Obviously I never had intentions to do anything like this. I was toying with the idea of maybe one day climbing Aconcagua which is close to 7,000m. I don’t think that will be possible anymore but I guess it’s not all about the altitude. Hopefully some lower but equally interesting mountains or treks will be on the cards one day. You never know, if they aren’t too demanding Anna might even join me. The main issue with such things is that they tend to be quite a way from civilisation. It was bad enough that it took 5 hours to get to a hospital from here in West Wales. I think it might be even worse from a mountain top in South America or Mongolia!

3 Responses

  1. Avatar forComment Author Mum x says:

    You’ll get as far as you want, you’ve,already achieved so much more after a heart attack than most people achieve in their entire life !

  2. Avatar forComment Author Valerie Martin Arvelo says:

    Iñm sure you are doing all this under medical management, but do be careful! Your level of commitment amazes me!!! Keep well.

  3. Avatar forComment Author Alan Cole says:

    Just a quick note to say that I did manage to complete the TrainerRoad session today – The hardest workout since my heart attack.


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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.

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