Monday, 25 March 2013

You only get out of it what you put in - By Jen Wilby

"I hated every minute of training, but I said "Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life like a champion." "

Resting in the forest in perfect conditions before attempting Excalabur again

The last blog I wrote described how I was feeling about being back in the UK in a "settled" environment and how I wasn't sure where my climbing was going and generally about how discombobulated I was feeling. So I was looking forward to heading out to the magical forest of Fontainebleau for a week to relax and enjoy climbing in the forest with friends. What a week it was!

I'd been ill for 2 weeks before the trip so did little climbing and generally just laid on the sofa feeling sorry for myself :) However, the key here is the rest that this meant I had. Rest is the downfall for most climbers, we just keep going regardless of the pain & suffering we feel. Whilst its a good thing to keep going at a lower level when injured to keep the blood going to aid recovery, sometimes you just need full rest, as this is when our bodies actually recover. So I turned up in the forest and felt pretty good. Although the first couple of days were wet - good things were to come. The sun started shining and the temps were chilly = a very happy group of climbers!

For those who have been keeping up to date with these blogs you'll know that back in Oct / Nov of last year I'd had a rough time in the forest and came away with many projects. Including Lapin Au Canard at Franchard Haute Plaines, which is personally one of my favorite areas. Lapin goes through a roof then out on to some slopers - two of my weaknesses but it went fine with no issues:

Knee bar on the start

Reaching through on to the lip - with some good pointing action to help!

I was very happy with this and decided to take advantage of the good conditions and get back on Excalabur at Franchard Cuisinier. A fantastic line going at 7a+, the top out being a big span and a grovel. I had a nightmare getting back up to attempt the top out as its all about trusting the feet and hip position, however once I got used to it, with the Shamans making sure I didn't crack my knee if it popped, I was soon at the top attempting to grovel. However I'd messed it out. Everyone I have seen do it uses a heel, however I know from last time only a toe will work for me, so of course I used a heel and still tried to top it out. Taking an uncontrolled fall from the top I was pleased to have the Boss Hogg & Bail Out pads beneath me. I got up there again, put the toe on and proceeded to grovel and it went and I couldn't have been happier. Photo's are not the most flattering but - who cares!

Trusting this right foot is crucial - if you don't weight it - that right hand hold is rubbish.

First mistake, going for the heel, rather than tow.

Didn't happen again - praying that right hand doesn't ping.

Grovel almost complete

Laying on top of the bloc - too happy and tired to think about moving
Climbing with two guys who have completely different style and preferences to me meant that I tried blocs I wouldn't have normally got on, this also means that I have a lot more things added to the ever growing tick list.

So I came away from the forest really happy, it made up for leaving early last year. I also came away with a very valuable lesson - rest is part of the training!

I then came back from the forest to a very large shock - back in the office by 9am the next morning after 14 months off !!! It was a big shock to me and has made me question where a job & what kind of job fits into my life - after all its what you spend most of your time doing!

The following weekend it was another early start to help out again at the final round of Blocfest which was at The Biscuit Factory. Once again, the crew but up some amazing blocs. I climbed the qualifiers and really enjoyed them. I scored higher than the other rounds so was OK with this having narrowly missed out on the final. Which were amazing, three blocs, seven climbers! I managed to come 4th overall which isn't good but its not a total disaster either given my state of mind in the comps. I am looking forward to seeing if this has improved next season.

After Blocfest it was time to get down to training and this required a fair bit of planning. In 2011 I followed a 4 week Power / 3 week Endurance / 2 Week Power Endurance and 1 Week Rest cycle which worked really well, however I was mainly doing routes and the endurance phase meant I lost a lot of weight which isn't sustainable for me  - I like my food. It's time to adopt another approach.

Planning is the key to any training schedule -

Step 1: Analise your weaknesses. What are they? Time to be truthful and brutally honest. Think back to when you have fallen off and why. Get your regular climbing partner to tell you what they think your weaknesses are, its often easier for someone to stop them from the outside.
For example mine are:
1: Dynamic Power & Co ordination : Dynos - cant do them!
2: Shoulder Power and Strength: Previously unstable & unbalanced shoulder, now working correctly and needs building up.
3: Lock Off strength
4: Finger & pinch strength - fingers opening up.
5: Clamping strength - want to be better on prows
6: Generally upper body & core conditioning

Watching me climb, I'll climb with straight arms wherever possible and use my feet. However I have got to the point now where sometimes I just need to be able to pull.

Step 2: What are your goals? Make sure they are specific, it doesn't matter how big or small these goals are, as long as they are true and specific. These will keep you going when you get De-motivated and tired - which you will.

Step 3: List the facilities that you have available to you. You many have a number of training venues, you may just use one, but take into account whether you can get there during a normal training / working week. Don't make your facilities unattainable.

Step 4: Choose your climbing partners. Don't surround yourself with negative people, they will affect your training. It doesn't have to be people who have the same goals, as long as they have the same attitude and can keep you going. Personally I prefer to train alone, I get distracted easily.

Step 5: What time restrictions do your goals have? Have you booked your holiday and have 8 weeks until you go? Or do you just want to progress and put the ground work in this year? Whatever the restriction you have to be realistic and plan for it. If your going away in 2 weeks time your goal is to not do anything stupid and get injured!

Personally my goals have no real time limit, I won't get on to the blocs until I have put in the hard yards and am ready therefore my plan is a 6 month one, ready for next winter which factors in lots of rest - slowly slowly catchy monkey.

Next do your research - look at specific exercises what will work your weaknesses and maintain your strengths. I'm not going to go into detail here on what I am doing - next time I'll discuss the strength phase, which is phase 1 for me - but it does look something like this:

I'm 2 weeks into the strength phase of my plan and I am wiped, I sometimes feel like there are small gains and other times feel like its all never going to work - the important thing is to just keep going!

That's all - thank you for reading .

Happy Climbing


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