Once I put my training schedule together, I felt empowered, ready, and psyched to tackle it. I was prepared for the moment when it would feel hard and challenging in a way that I would want to back off, or ease up. The thing is, I never really know when that will happen. And, knowing that the training is creating a challenge versus over training, is an art, not a science.
The first days of training are usually really productive, potentially over productive. The enthusiasm to get underway supersedes some sense of logic, plus with the energy high, the body feels the most willing. At least until after the first couple of sessions, then the training sets in and the body feels, well, less than willing.
Actually, there is a mental component that creeps in about this time. It’s the first sign that training is working. Climbing fresh all of the time trains oneself to only be successful when you are fresh. Climbing when taxed or tired has then been associated with being done, unable to climb more. This mental stage is a critical piece to training and while a “sign of training” it can also be dismissed as “the training must be working,” when in fact, you are heading down the path to over training.
This is where the art of training comes in. Learning to listen to your body is the number one tool to develop in order to train yourself well, and push yourself beyond. Therefore, while I could simply lay out a do x, y, z training implement for you or illustrating what I’ve done, it may not suit you. In fact, while it might suit you at first, it may not develop you in the way you intend. In that way, training is highly personalized. Yet, there are general training ideas and practices which I can share that provide a spring board to give you ideas for your own training.
Recently I taught a hang board clinic at the local gym, where I’m affiliated. A woman came up to me after and asked a bit skeptically “did the hang board work out really take 2 hours?” Yes, it did. People were not hanging for 2 hours, but there was a lot of content to cover and a lot of individual understanding and tailoring in order to make the clinic beneficial for those that attended.
This is what I mean about training specifics. Therefore, I’ll share some specifics, along with some theories and I’m open to hearing your thoughts. After all, I’ve never been coached in sport climbing or sport climbing competitions. I’m simply using my strengths and understandings from bouldering competitions along with input of experts to help guide me.
My first sport climbing competition was the US Nationals. There are and were no adult qualifiers, let alone local or regional competitions for adults. Therefore, when I signed up, I had no idea what to expect and was caught off guard by some aspects like: the elimination of draws such that the routes had every other draw making the competition more “heady,” routes would wander, and there are strategies to try for a high point. I learned a lot in that competition and was honored to place well enough to represent the US in the first World Cup on US Soil in over 20 years.
I’m not all that refined since then, actually. I tried for another shot at the US National team the following year but it was premature, too soon after a shoulder surgery. That was the last time I did a major competition. I assumed I had retired, but the lure of “one last chance” and the common, stuck in a gym dealing with life stuff, lent itself quite well to attempting this one. If there’s any shot I have at all in a climbing competition, this would be it.
While I wanted to write this when it was happening, I’m catching you up now. That first week after planning my training, the training went great! Psyche was high, the effort felt good, and everything was going according to plan.
Next up I’ll give you a look into my plan, what it was based off of and how it’s turned out so far.
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