Sunday, 24 February 2013

Don't walk away...By Jen Wilby

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment"

This quote say's everything about how I'm living my life back in the UK. I've been back for about 3 months. When I first returned I was so happy to see the folks I had missed and to spend time with them. Then it was time to knuckle down and train, I'd decided this was the perfect opportunity to commit to the two sessions a day, with no work & no home - there were no distractions!
For those that have seen this movie - you will understand how bad distractions can be! 

The first week or so was a series or trial and error days - working out which sessions worked together, what type of food I needed to recover and how much rest I needed inbetween the sessions. 

The result was a mixture of fingerboarding :-

Home FingerBoard set up
I thought my finger strength would be my biggest strength, however I found I was way behind what I was before I left for the trip. Therefore I did a mixture of deadhangs and repeaters. Check out this website from some fingerboard training tips:

Campusing was the other area I decided to focus on - those who know me will know that my major weakness is actually lifting my own body weight, if I don't have a foothold I'm out of it. Therefore the 1-3-5 "beginners" training on the campus rungs was lost on me, I had to start with 1-2-3-4 and see how far I could get! The initial assessment of myself was poor and it was hard work to stick at it! My sessions included a mixture of laddering, trying 1-3-5 which resulted in doing 1-3-4-5 and they trying some max lock off's which was usually 1-4 and then nothing more! 

The final aspect of my training was conditioning, pull up's, leg lifts push up's etc are impossible for me right now, my body doesn't seem to comprehend what to do. So I started participating in some strength and conditioning classes at The Lab MMA Gym 

Which is my brother's gym and he was astounded at my attempts at the following and yet somehow still being able to climb:


Battle Ropes - shoulders died!

Squats - tired far too quickly!
 His astonishment was clear and if you ever see me about, ask me what my own brother called me! I can't repeat it here! 

As I was focussing on my weaknesses - it was tough, but I could see improvements. I managed to be more consistent and my campusing, doing more repeaters and doing a record 6 pull ups! WHOOP!  Eating alot and sleeping in between sessions aided my recovery and I didnt find it too much of a problem being able to do the 2 sessions. Make sure you have a goal for your session and stick to it, with it being no longer than a 2 hour session - get in do what you got to do and get out. This will stop any boredom and help you focus through out. 

All was well - until I went to pull on an undercut on the woody board, and I felt something pull all the way from my middle finger through my wrist and into my forearm. OUCH! I stopped all training, but carried on doing "easy" boulder problems and if it hurt, I stopped.  I cant stress the importance of listening to your body and not pushing it!

Luckily Blocfest was up and running and was there to help me do some form of training - the comps! I've managed to do 3 out of the 5 rounds and have come 10th, 3rd and 9th respectively and have used these competitions to find out what my weaknesses are. And the result has opened my eyes to what I need to focus on and how. One interesting weakness is my shoulder strength, this is because my shoulders have always been one of my strongest areas, however those how know me will know I have had serious shoulder issues in the form of impingements and have had focus of realigning my shoulder so I actually use my lats and shoulder muscles to move and not use my pecs as I was. This has meant that my shoulder, now aligned and working the correct way, has no stability or strength and this shows significantly! So I am using the yoga as a way to strengthen these before getting into body weight exercises.

Whilst the comps have been useful at identifying my weaknesses, I've found it extreemly difficult lately to be totally committed to doing them. Moving back into my house in Buckinghamshire has given me a harsh reality. I wake up in the same room in the same house day after day, and whilst I am thankful to have a roof over my head, I'm finding it hard knowing that I'm not going to be waking up in a van, in a different place, I dont have the option to pack up and move onto a new climbing destination when I want. "Boo Hoo Hoo its a hard life I hear you all scream", but that dosen't deter from the fact that I'm struggling with "normal" life and this is showing in the comps. Its not a reflection on the quality of the blocs. The BlocFest blocs are amazing, but if I was truely committed I wouldnt have gone to the Roaches the day before the TCA Bristol event (travelling from Bucks, to Staffordshire back to Bristol was ALOT of miles!) thanks to the hand cream and balm which has worked wonders on my skin after that epic weekend:

 and I wouldnt have agreed to be a little helper:

Mike said " Looks Busy"...this is all I could come up with!
As helping with registraion means an early start, a busy day and a late start to the qualifiers. HOWEVER, I wouldnt change going outside the day before, or any day before a comp, or helping out with the BlocFest events for anything. Those guys do an AMAZING job and without them it would be nothing and I am priveledged to be able to help them put on an amazing event! What it does show is that I'm not 100% commited to the comps and I'm struggling with not performing in them as well as I was before I left, not meeting people's I'm having a lot of time to think on that one! 

I guess what I am trying to say, in a round about way is that with 2.5 months off any form of specific training with no goals, living back in a house, being weaker in most areas than before I started the trip, not performing in the comps, no climbing trips planned due to the uncertainty of work...I'm at a loss with my climbing, I dont know where I'm going with it all.

SO - rather than walk away which would be the easiest thing to do, I'm going to get over the mother of all flu's (Thanks Gaz!) which has left me bed bound for most of the week, I'm going to head to Font for a week to play in Le Foret, with no goals, no pressure just some rock climbing and get these bad boys tested:
Bail out and Boss Hogg!

 ... and then I'm going to start work. Once that's settled I'm going to put together a 6 month training plan which I can do anywhere at any time, due to the travelling I do with work, I could be anywhere in the UK, so a strucutred training plan will only lead to failure.

It's now or never, time to focus on the present, not dwell on how much better I was before I left, or dwell on how I want to be better in the future, I'm going to put in the hard graft, try not to get injured and focus on where I am at every given day!

Well done and thank you if you have managed to read up to hear, apologies for the lack of "flow" or structure in this blog, my mind really is discombobulated ! 

Hopefully what will follow will be some fantastic photo's of le foret in amazing conditions :) and some insight into how to plan for training when you never know where you are going to be from one day to the next.

Thank you for reading -  now check out this video of the BlocFest Reading Round which is very well shot and put together and worth a watch: 


Happy Climbing.


  1. Good blog post.

    I don't suppose you have any other pictures showing how you fixed your fingerboard to the bar? I've got a similar bar I want to fix a fingerboard to myself.


  2. Hi,

    Thanks for the feedback.

    I will take some more photos tonight, it took some time but it was a simple solution in the end and is now slightly different to the photo on here.

  3. Hey, I've put some photos and details up: