Frustrations of Training
I was training at the Works the other day and sat, somewhat humbled, when a young lad I'd never seen before nonchalantly climbed up and then back down a pretty hard looking tufa problem on the competition wall that had been spitting off a succession of climbers over the previous twenty minutes. I climb at The Works once a week and try to get out climbing somewhere at the weekend. As a result I feel, most of the time, that I am simply treading water and improving so slowly that it's more than a little frustrating. The casual way with which this lad climbed and then down-climbed the problem really made me have a good think about what I am trying to get out of my climbing. If truth be told my Tuesday night sessions are as much social as they are real training. I could spend the time on the circuits board with a music player of companionship. I suspect I would see some great gains pretty quickly, but that's not me. So why the constant urge to always be better? Why do I feel so good when everything goes well and I have a really good session or day?
Partly it's a competitive drive. I climb with a group of mates, all operating within a relatively similar grade-range. It feels good to be towards the top of that range, but more importantly it feels bad to be at the bottom. Maybe I should drop my grade and climb with other people? But doing that just doesn't result in the same kick. It feels great to be climbing at my limit virtually all of the time. Soon the evenings will get longer and warmer and there will be a brief few months before the midges arrive and it will actually be pleasurable to climb on the gritstone. I'll most likely end up either scaring myself on the end of a rope on some bold route (I've done most of the ones I want to do that are safe after ten years in the area) or soloing of an evening. Both are hugely enjoyable, but in a similar way to beasting myself down the wall neither are exactly relaxing!
So what's the answer? Why do we / I do it? I've still no idea, but in an attempt to try to make a little more progress this year than the past three or four I've put together a basic exercise plan tta goes like this:
Sunday morning - 3 hour climbing session
Sunday evening - 1 hour run
Monday evening - pull up session in front of the TV
Tuesday evening - 3 hour session at The Works
Wednesday - rest day
Thursday daytime - half hour run
Friday - pull up session (this is the one which will fall by the wayside more often than not I think)
Saturday - free to do whatever
Let's see how it goes...