Meg's High Intensity Weekend Adventure

Helo pawb!

I’ve been dabbling in this high intensity stuff for a while now, with good results. In January, I did 10 lessons in a weekend. Then for the past month or so I’ve been doing an extended run working at a pace of about 1.5 lessons per day during the week. Since this has all gone rather well, this weekend I am taking on Aran’s proposed high intensity plan for the two Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd gents. I’m attempting the optimal version where they leave the pause button alone and get through at least 10 session per day for a weekend. I’ll admit leaving the pause button alone is going to be difficult for me. I love my pause button, so I doubt I’ll be able to wean myself off entirely this weekend, but I do hope to strike a balance between inducing anxiety and getting bogged down.

Alrighty, folks…into Course 3 I go. I’ll report back periodically.




Helo eto!

Five lessons done! So far so good. I’ve been mostly leaving the pause button alone. I tend to not pause as much when I’m walking/running, so I went for a jog earlier. I might end up with a rut in my floor later from pacing. :wink: Taking a little break now before pushing onwards.

Ten lessons done! Overall, I think it went well. The second five were definitely more of a struggle than the first five. It got a bit glitchy in the middle, but I was able to finish strong with lessons nine and ten. I think this was due in part to waiting too long to eat. Silly me. :blush:

At some point my motto became “stop thinking, start talking”. Invariably, the times I thought about what I had to say and modified my answer, my first instincts were, in fact, correct.

A fun thing that happened was what I’ll call “word soup”. All the right words/phrases for the sentence would pop into my head at the same time…just not in the right order. A fair number of times the sentence that came out of my mouth was similarly disordered. I decided to not worry about it and let it happen, since in real life conversation I (hopefully) won’t be racing to get what I have to say out before the other person starts talking and will have a moment to sort it out.

Around the middle of lesson 7 a friend texted me and I was delighted to find that my brain was in Wenglish. Tasen i’n gwybod y gair yn Gymraeg, bysen i’n meddwl am yr gair Cymraeg yn gyntaf.

And now it’s bedtime for me. Aiming for another ten lessons tomorrow!

Nos da!


Brilliant :smile:

First five of today down, fifteen for the weekend!

The first lesson/lesson and a half today were pretty rough at times. Lots of mixing up the tenses for the short forms, but getting the subject correct. It got better, though, as lessons went on. I have noticed that I’m having more difficulty retaining new vocabulary that’s not the short form of a verb. I’m guessing this has something to do with how much energy and attention I’m putting on the short forms v. everything else.

The good news is I’ve had much better luck with not using the pause button today. I’m mostly just using it now when I still have no idea what’s being said after it’s repeated a few times.

Okay, it’s time for a break and, I think, a nap. See you on the other side of twenty!

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And twenty done! Woohoo!

Yes, that celebratory dancing cat gif was entirely necessary. :sunglasses:

In all seriousness, this ended not being as bad as I thought it might be. Yes, there were times when I was cursing Aran (and I’ll be glad if I don’t discuss cake again for a while), but my brain doesn’t feel like pudding. To be honest, if I didn’t have to be awake and able to think at work tomorrow, I’d probably push through and finish Course 3 tonight. I’m feeling like I’ve hit my stride with the method, if not the material. It remains to be seen how much went in, but I’m optimistic at least about the short forms. I know I’m going to have to make a list of the other new words, though, and start making sentences with them to get them to stick.

If anyone has questions about this little adventure, please ask!

Nos da!


Wow. Da iawn chdi. I’ve enjoyed hearing about your progress. Dal ati. Pippa

Ww. Favourite thread ever!

Absolutely fascinating - diolch o galon for going into such detail, and for pushing yourself towards your limits like this.

I’d recommend not doing this - I think what you’re hearing there is the voice of your subconscious need to control the new stuff - so you could remind yourself to ‘stop thinking, keep talking’ in a way - to be specific, if you push on through to the end of Course 3 and then just revisit 24 and 25 once every couple of weeks for a month, and then once every couple of months until you realise you really don’t need to, you will end up with the vast majority of the new stuff properly consolidated :sunny:

[In fact, even if you don’t revisit 24 and 25, you’ll still get some serious consolidation going on over the next few weeks, but revisiting 24 and 25 will give you clearer evidence of the process] :sunny:

So, 20/25 sessions of Course 3 in a weekend.

I think you’ve just set a new high water mark!


Everyone else reading this:

Meg is joining me in testing the boundaries of what is possible with intensive use of our sessions. If this inspires you to test your own boundaries, great - give it a shot and do please let me know how it goes!

BUT: if this makes you feel as though you ‘should’ be doing the course differently, ‘should’ be doing more lessons in a go, ‘should’ be learning more quickly - PLEASE ignore those negative ideas.

There isn’t ‘a right way’ to do these courses.

Meg and I (and others) are just testing stuff.

If you feel comfortable doing a lesson a week, on a half-an-hour a day basis, that is FINE. Heck, if you want to do a lesson a month, you’ll still be having some interesting conversations in just a couple of years. :sunny:

So don’t let this put you off. If it’s inspiring, great. If it’s not, don’t even think about it, just carry on using the course in whatever way suits you :sunny:

@Deborah-SSi !! :sunny:

How did you end up feeling about the pause/not pause thing?

Colour me impressed. I’m assuming that you went through discomfort and wanting to stop at some points during this (or you’re a much better person than I am)? If that’s so, what did you do to keep yourself going without clawing your brain out through your eyes? I saw you mentioned pacing around the place - anything else?

How did you space it - 5 hours straight and done, or breaks between each lesson, or …?

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(I ask because I’m bootcamping in a week and a half, and the thought of having cleared all the SSiW content by then is appealing (albeit the thought of doing the clearing is less appealing) - Done C1+V,C2+V,L1,L2(as far as it goes), so ‘just’ C3 to collect them all)

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@wondersheep - You should try it! You’ve already (almost) completed the first thing I did to keep myself going: posting my intentions on the forum. Nothing like a little accountability to keep you going. Also, it helps to know that people are out there rooting for you to keep going.

I won’t lie to you and say this was easy. I definitely had moments of wanting to stop, wondering why on earth I’d committed to this, and calling Aran stark-raving mad for coming up with this idea. However, I also didn’t end up curled up on the floor, muttering incoherently. :wink:

I broke each day up into two five-lesson blocks and took a few hours’ break in between. In those lesson blocks, I’d usually go through about 45 minutes of material before taking a roughly 15 minute break to scavenge for food, listen to music, or do absolutely nothing. I found that stopping in the middle of a lesson rather than in between lessons made it easier to pick up where I had left off because I was still covering the same material.

While I was doing the lessons, I did a bunch of different things to keep myself from thinking too much. I found that if I started thinking about what I was doing, my brain would tie itself in knots and I’d keep second guessing myself on answers. I walked and danced around in my apartment, went for a run outside, and played with my cat. The whole second day I spent colouring while doing lessons. It kept me just distracted enough that I would automatically respond to the English prompt almost as soon as it finished.

Not pausing also became a necessity for getting through the lessons with my sanity intact. @aran, by the end of it, I was fine with not using the pause button. I felt like I was still retaining the information, but the information isn’t as organised in my brain. I’m hoping the consolidation period will take care of some of the lack of organisation I’m feeling right now.

I’ll resist the urge to work further with the new vocab for the sake of experimental results. :wink: I plan to go through 21-25 this evening to finish out the course. I’ll let y’all know how that goes.


Thanks. I did give it a try, but my plan of doing five lessons non-stop was hurt somewhat when the lovely Mrs Wondersheep came home from choir an hour early. So I just did the four today - one earlier when she was doing something else, and three straight while she was out singing. I found pacing around the house and doing a bit of stretching helped a lot (now my legs are tired) with not wanting to claw my brain out, so thanks for that tip.


Okay, did 21-25 tonight. 21-23 went swell, but ouch, 24 and 25 made my brain hurt. I resisted using the pause button for all five. That was fine on 21-23. For 24 and 25, it was not a fun experience. I kept running into words either I didn’t know or that haven’t settled in yet. I’m thinking now I must have missed a vocab lesson or two, since I had absolutely no recollection of some words. I’ll figure that out and remedy that situation asap. I’m also going to attribute some of this to doing five lessons after a full day at work, which, in hindsight, probably wasn’t the best idea.

On the brighter side, a lot of the short forms I had been struggling with on switching up the tenses seem to have sorted themselves out. I’m excited to see what a week of consolidating will do! :blush:

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Ooh… so we could probably get you up to 15 sessions in a day, then… mmmm…

Really interesting about the pause button, diolch yn fawr iawn. I strongly suspect that the ‘lack of organisation’ is that need for conscious control again - but I’m also sure that you’ll become conscious of differences here as the consolidation happens.

With 24 and 25 - bear in mind that you’re on the ‘old’ track here - which has some weaknesses with the spaced repetition in the later parts - so you might not have missed anything, there might just be some slip ups in the lesson construction - sorry!

It’s great, though, that you genuinely found 24 and 25 tough - so re-run just them in a week, then a fortnight after that, then a month after that, and it will be absolutely fascinating to see on here how your relationship with them changes… :sunny:

Yes, easily, provided I don’t have any other obligations, since that was a limiting factor both days and one of the reasons for the break. Another reason was I got antsy to the point of distraction.

Hmm…what do you mean when you say ‘need for conscious control’? I suppose I should further explain what I mean by ‘lack of organisation’. When I learn new information, I use what some might call a ‘memory palace’. I don’t use the more traditional version, which involves quite literally building a palace in your mind and depositing information at distinct and memorable loci, then mentally walking yourself back through it to recover the information. I remember things by determining the relationship between them, the other things I’m learning, and the things I already know. When I go through the lessons at full tilt and don’t use the pause button, I’m not always able to establish those connections before I have to move on. This means, if we go back to the visual of the more traditional memory palace, I now feel like I have a room full of odds and ends like two left shoes and press pot with no plunger. I’m hoping that the consolidation process will result in the left shoes heading to the closet and the press pot making its way to the kitchen.

For 24 and 25…it’s a combination. I’ve been working off a playlist on my phone and it’s missing three of the Course 2 vocab units (6/Ble Ma Fe, 9/Corff 2, and 10/Crynodeb). About a month ago my phone died and I thought my backup had restored everything, but I’m guessing that’s when the deletion occurred. :expressionless: Should I go ahead and do those now or wait until after I rerun 24 and 25 next week? Or maybe just take a crack at 10/Crynodeb?

I think 15 is round about my upper limit, too, so I’m interested to see someone else in that kind of territory - it might be possible to get through 60 sessions in two consecutive weekends, which I think would lead to some moderately surprising results…

Thanks for that detailed response on conscious control - yes, the general technique of memory palacing (yes, it’s a word now) is very much about conscious control, and if it’s a regular part of your process of information acquisition, what you’ve been doing with Course 3 will certainly make it feel jumbled. The consolidation process may/may not have an impact on that (it’ll be really interesting to hear) but you will discover that you are capable of using material when you need it even if it doesn’t feel as though it’s tidied itself up in your conscious memory scheme :sunny:

Ah, yes, if you actually know you have some vocab stuff missing, there will be some associated blank moments in 24/25. It’s a personal taste thing now - no harm in you redoing 6 and 9, or just leaving them for the repetitions of 24/25 to work their magic, or any combination inbetween :sunny:

I’m guessing the Northern Courses aren’t distinct enough to do a true test of this now. Once the materials are available for something else, I’d be willing to give it a go (she says with some trepidation).

Yes, I agree that I am mostly capable of using the material. Right now, however, I feel like it takes me longer to access it than material I have memory palaced. We shall see how that improves on Monday. :smile:

I’ve decided to go ahead and do the missing vocab units, but with out the pause button to avoid accidentally memory palacing anything from this weekend.

You and me both… :sunny:

That seems likely and reasonable - but I would expect the difference to become less noticeable as the consolidation beds in. It’ll be fascinating to hear how these perceptions adapt over the next month or two…