Thursday, 25 October 2012

Finding the time to fit in rock climbing

Training for rock climbing can mean different things to different people. Would you consider the actual act of going out and climbing on real rock as training? Or is it simply going rock climbing? What about climbing indoors? Would bouldering and socialising with your friends at your local wall be considered training? Or do you have to nail it down further, to repetitions, completing a set number of boulder problems, spending a certain amount of time on the wall, and only resting for designated periods, for example?

Any way you look at it, finding the time to both train and go rock climbing in a busy schedule can be difficult. I was asked to put together a blog on "finding the time to fit in exercise [specifically rock climbing] in every day life" by TribeSports, a social network for sports people. TribeSports has launched a "pledge", challenging users to do 30 minutes of physical activity every day for a year.

I'd suggest everyone completes at least 30 minutes of exercise a day or equivalent. What I mean by that is with climbing - I'm sure it's the same with many other sports - finding as little as half an hour a day, every day of the week isn't a practical or efficient way of training and getting better. Longer sessions are needed with longer breaks between if progression is going to be made. I won't go into the ins and outs of how many times a week you should climb, this is entirely personal, but you should read 9 Out of 10 Climbers Make The Same Mistakes by Dave MacLeod for some good tips. Here's my review.

When it comes to finding the time in the day/week/month to get on that wall, however, sacrifice is the key. Whether you see it as sacrifice or not will probably determine how long you keep  up rock climbing for. I have been doing it for over 10 years, spending more and more of my weeks and months training over the past three years, and the reason for this is because I enjoy it so much. Sacrificing two or three hours in an evening, three days a week, to go and train down at the local wall doesn't feel like so much of a loss to me - it's what I want to do with my time, so I make the time to do it. My favourite thing to do on a weekend is head out into the Peak District and spend the day bouldering, returning home exhausted, bruised and battered. It sounds masochistic, but everyone's had those days where you return after a hard day's physical activity truly wiped out but totally content. 

If you are really struggling to find the time and motivation to squeeze in just 30 minutes of exercise a day, or an hour every other day, or three hours two days a week, then maybe you haven't found the right sport for you. If you find a sport, activity or training routine you truly love doing, you will find the time to do it.