For fifteen weeks, we’ve committed to and trained diligently for climbing. We’ve utilized the Rock Prodigy Training Manual to the best of our abilities and with genuine intentions. I can’t believe we’re nearing the end, preparing our minds and bodies for round two. It’s been an incredibly challenging and rewarding process thus far. We’ve discovered the approach and workouts that have been the most beneficial, as well as which ones have hindered our progress. Keeping these in mind, I plan to augment my training a bit to better reflect my goals and strengthen my weaknesses moving forward.
Undoubtedly, I’ve gained some incredible strength with this training program. I am more dynamic with my movements and am a more powerful climber. And while I’ve seen growth in my weaknesses, my comfort-level with lead climbing has been stymied by my lack of outdoor moderate route climbing. Having a mega-gym to train and climb in, though beneficial, has slightly hindered my comfort-level on rope. And though I feel much more confident in bouldering, my mental game has taken a backseat, which for me, is a very important and imperative aspect to climbing well.
Identifying this, my plan moving forward is to focus on my head space. I hope to realign my efforts and training with that goal in mind, aiming to lead routes well within my ability level and as a result, increase my confidence on the sharp end. As someone who has struggled with the mental aspect of climbing before, this is not new territory. My excitement with training and my new-found strength had me focusing on other things, leaving my mental game to catch up. After fifteen weeks, it is still trying to match that of my physical strengths.
Recognizing the deficits in my training, this second cycle will allow me to build on my strengths and tackle my weaknesses in a more intentional way. I look forward to the fresh start and am excited to see how round two of our training unfolds.
Base Fitness Phase: Like Ethan said, this phase went really well. My body and mind thanked me for those long, boring traverses, and really allowed me to prepare for the intense training that followed. It too, ensured that I had a strong base to start with. I plan to continue with the ARC workout during those easier climbing weeks, keeping my mind and muscles warm.
Strength Phase: Honestly, I dreaded the start of this phase. I find hangboarding to be uninspiring and had difficulty containing my excitement for outdoor climbing. The weather was getting warmer; temperatures were perfect for early sending. Instead, we climbed in the gym. With a new training program underway and motivation from Ethan, I kept at it and am still reaping the benefits of this phase. I am excited about our next strength phase and in thinking about my goals, plan to incorporate more outdoor moderate route climbing to rebuild my mental stamina.
Power Phase: This phase was also the least successful for me. I was not strong enough to utilize the campus board like I wanted. After attempting it a few times, I excluded it from my training altogether.
Power Endurance Phase: In regards to strength, this was my most successful phase. I felt strong and powerful; however, lacked endurance. This lack of endurance also hindered my metal game. I would have benefited by climbing outside more, selecting routes that were shorter in height or by incorporating more route intervals at the gym, rather than pulling on plastic (bouldering) for most of this phase.
Performance Phase: I am late to bloom in this stage. My red-point successes are limited, but my progress is insurmountable. Though I don’t have a list of sends to share, I am proud of my accomplishments: refining my climbing technique and footwork, rebuilding my mental stamina, increasing my power and fluidity on rock, and training hard. I am more motivated and excited than ever to share my goals, climb some amazing routes, and enjoy the process with some of my favorite people.
**Update: After working this route (Idiot Savant, 5.11d) in Clear Creek for nearly two seasons, I finally clipped the chains.
Idiot Savant reminds me a lot of the Lava Tubes in Idaho. They are far from similar, but both are my my anti-style. When I first got on the route, I hated it. It’s crimpy sequence to start leads to big moves and a dynamic throw to a decent hold over a small roof, followed by an insecure traverse with smeary feet and smooth hand holds. This section alone had me stumped for months. When I clipped the chains on the third go last night, I was stunned. I had no expectations with this route and after my first attempt, I swore I’d never get back on it. With some time and some flinging around on it, my confidence grew. Twelve attempts later, I managed to send with relative ease and nab one of my proudest sends to date.
I look back this morning with a bit of nostalgia. This route has taught me a lot about myself as a climber; with the right mindset and hard work, anything is possible. Encouragement and a solid belayer is a bonus.