This week has reinforced to me just how strong the link is between being active and having a positive mentality.
I've been to the gym twice this week, which is in line with my training plan (more on that later), and almost instantly my outlook on life has changed. The small things that were irking me over the Christmas and New Year period seem so trivial now and the idea of getting annoyed at someone's coughing or sneezing seems laughable! I would highly recommend anyone that's feeling stressed or suffering from the post-Christmas blues to head outdoors, even if it's just a 10 minute walk around the block. You'd be amazed at just how instantaneous the change can be.
Another key ingredient of my mood change is undoubtedly the lack of alcohol. I'm cutting it out completely while I train for Le Loop in July and I can already feel benefits. Screw dry January; I'm aiming for a dry January, February, March, April, May, June and half of July! If that isn't worth some sponsorship then I don't know what is ;-)
Finally for today, I set my first draft of my training plan up today. This was something that was massively helpful for me last year so I've spent an hour at lunch today planning out exactly what I'll do for the next 6 months. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there that will have a much better idea of how to start this than I do but as I said last time, this blog is where I will talk through my thought processes and maybe it helps someone who's also a bit daunted while looking towards their first stage event (although I must stress that I'm not training for a race!).
For simplicity, I created a spreadsheet that looks like a calendar:
So I first of all I look for where I want to be at the end of each month. For example, I knew today that I wanted to break 160km (100 miles) by the end of March so on my training plan I put down a 160km ride on Saturday March 31st. Then I added in all of the events I was going to ride throughout the year (Cheltenham Training weekend, Tour of Wessex, Evans RIDEIT events and any other sportives I had lined up). I then added in any other milestones (back to back 160km for example) and filled in the weeks, gradually increasing the distances over the weeks.
One thing I am very wary of is over-training. Last year I lost nearly a month due to over-training early on and straining a tendon in the back of my knee (also a dodgy bike fit but that's a whole other story...) and I'm determined to not miss any time this year. In order to do this I have factored in 3 training sessions each week to start with, then 4 sessions from March, and finally 5 sessions a week throughout May and June before tapering for the last few weeks. There are also a few rest weekends in there which conveniently coincide with family birthdays to kill two birds with one stone!
Ultimately, the training plan isn't a strict rigid timetable for the next 6 months, but what it does do is lay out a plan for how to hit those key milestones along the way. I'm not going to turn down the opportunity to go and be sociable just because I'm supposed to be doing a Wattbike or home trainer session that day... but I will make sure that I do that session somewhere else that week.
I'm excited. I'm actually really excited about this. I was a bit too lax last year so this year I'm determined to do this to the absolutely best of my ability.
So now that the training plan is up and running, it's only fair that I start trying to raise sponsorship. Please, if you want to sponsor me, visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Tom2018LeLoop or click on the button at the bottom of this blog and donate however little or much you want.
Many thanks for reading again guys, and have a great weekend!