Friday, 2 September 2011

Finding the balance is hard work

Over the last few weeks the only rock climbing I've been able to partake in has been at the indoor wall - a little bit of roped action and a lot of bouldering. I've been bouldering indoors four days a week for roughly a month, without a single day climbing on real rock. And I have to admit, my motivation is waning.

I took up rock climbing to go rock climbing - not resin pulling at the indoor wall. Climbing indoors was merely a tool to get stronger to climb outside. But this fundamental of my rock climbing 'career' has, at times, been left at the way-side, and I have ended up climbing inside more often than out. In fact, in more recent times, due to work, I'd say I have a 25:75 outside to inside ratio. I'd much prefer a 50:50 but this isn't going to happen any time soon - far too busy.

Anyway, as I said in the first par, this ratio has actually dropped into 100% indoors for the past month. And not only has this affected my motivation, but it has also affected my body. In truth, I feel totally knackered. I've not been giving myself enough time to recover (I have rather brutal training sessions) and this has meant that I've plateaued once again - after months of feeling as though I was getting stronger and even sending some of the hardest problems of my life.

I don't climb any less when I get to climb outside, but as tough as a day bouldering at Churnet Valley or The Roaches can be, it almost feels restful for my poor tendons and sore muscles. Training breaks me whereas rock climbing is just tough and gnarly.

You'd think with all that training I should be getting stronger. But I don't work that way. My body doesn't work that way. If I over do it, then I level out or even start getting worse.

This is where I train - at Awesome Walls, Stoke-on-Trent

Now, how to remedy this situation...?

Ideally, I would like to only climb outside for the next week, two weeks or even a month, but the same problems that have kept me climbing inside are, once again, about the strike. I'm exceptionally busy with work and weekend commitments throughout September. This weekend, the only weekend where I have the opportunity to climb outside, it's supposed to heave it down with rain.

Well, if there's a lesson to be learned here - and I did start writing this hoping that others wouldn't fall into the trap that I have fallen into time and again - it's that over-doing training can be as detrimental to your climbing as not doing any training at all. Finding a balance is key. It's not easy to find and will take some trial and error, but once you find it you will improve by leaps and bounds.

I'm taking a few days off from climbing if the indoor wall is my only option. I'm sure I'll feel a lot better for it.