Advice on Training

Sep 5, 2010

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Hi Steph! I’ve really been enjoying your blog. I was wondering if you could offer some training tips and advice for me. I’ve been climbing for several years. I feel like when I first started climbing it was easy to see and feel improvements in my technique and strength, but now I feel like I’ve hit a wall. I find that I am easily discouraged and that my strength and technique have slowed in growth. I’ve got a fun comp comming up in the couple of months and I’d like to do well. Any advice would be awesome!
Thanks,
Bethany

Dear Bethany,
It’s been a couple of months since you wrote, so maybe you’ve already gotten through that training wall :) But training and walls seem to go hand in hand, so it could happen again. I was talking to some friends the other day about road bikers. Those people train like racehorses….compared to most climbers, it’s actually incomprehensible! And one of them mentioned that he had met an Austrian who was a professional biker. Her training program consisted of some training and LOTS of sleeping. Like, a ridiculous amount of sleeping. The other friend mentioned that for himself, when he started to train less, he got much better results. And that it’s very very easy to overtrain. As simple as this is, I know it’s true, for any type of training. I can’t overstate the importance of rest, both in the form of sleeping enough, and also in not training as much as you probably think you “should” be. Many times I’ve taken a break for one reason or another, and been surprised to find myself feeling much better afterwards. It’s so common too, to feel like you are not making progress, and so you just train more….and then it’s a vicious cycle of lack of rest, etc. Just remember, too, that everything in life is cyclical. So climbing and training will always have their highs and lows.

More specifically, it’s good to pick one thing that you know are not the best at. That could be slopers, general finger strength, flexibility, or cardiovascular endurance. Then pick an activity that will specifically target that: making sloper problems on a wall, using a fingerboard, taking yoga classes or stretching for 15 minutes each day, or running. Do that activity twice a week, or maybe 3 times, for a month or two, and you will improve at the thing which was a weakness. For sure, anytime you focus on something, you will improve at it. The trick is the word “focus,” and just picking one or two things at a time to work on. Later you can pick something else, and staying focused will always make things more productive.

I hope that helps, and that you are having a great summer!
Steph

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  • Bethany

    Steph, Thank you so much for the advice! It came at the perfect time. I was being way too hard on myself with my training. Rest ended up being the perfect solution. I also think I get overwhelmed with large spectrum goals… your advice of focusing on a few small things at one time was awesome! It all sort of lead to a breakthrough for me…as I tried to identify areas of weakness, I found that a lot of what I thought was lack of strength or technique ended up being a lack of confidence and mental strength. Once I am able to let go of fear and be confident in every move, my body knows what to do and it becomes fun again!
    Thanks again for answering my question. I’ts pretty awesome what you are doing here! Oh! I almost forgot, I did take first place in my division in the comp. :)

    Thanks again!