Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Just Drifting? by Karen Varga

Since getting back from my travels in October last year I’ve pretty much gone with a do-as-I-feel approach to my climbing sessions, sometimes doing  a power session on the campus board, or going for some strength gains on the system board, to focusing on technique and movement by working boulder problems or hard routes.  And then occasionally feeling compelled to finish off with an endurance run.   This has been successful to some extent, and while I have got a bit fitter and stronger this was almost inevitable since I was coming from a largely unconditioned starting point. Which is the very reason why I decided to go with this approach for a few months – being so unconditioned I felt that I needed to build up a solid base across all the facets of climbing, while at the same time giving my body (and mind) the freedom to do pretty much what I felt like at the time.

Me competing at the World Championships ... a big goal
at the time which gave me a lot of motivation and focus.
But now it’s been just over 3 months and I find myself feeling unmotivated for the climbing wall. Luckily it seems we’ve got the worst of winter behind us (hopefully!) but it’s still a while before the weather in the UK will be warm enough for the likes of me to venture out into the great outdoors. After a couple weeks of rather unmotivated and aimless sessions I realized what was missing … a goal! Whether it’s for a particular route, or to get a PB, or just to be fit for a climbing trip, I realized how much having a goal helps me to feel enthused and push myself both physically and mentally.  As soon as I started to think of what my goals might be, I immediately itched to get onto the computer and make up a training program in order for me to achieve these goals.  

But setting a goal is not always as easy as it sounds.  If your goal is based around a grade or route, then how high do you set it? For sure we all want to climb 9a, but there’s no point in setting that as your goal unless it really is realistically achievable for you.  Getting the balance of setting a goal that challenges you, but which is still realistic, can be quite tricky and requires you to be absolutely honest with yourself. 

Factors to consider are things like how much time do you have or are willing to dedicate to training, how long you’re giving yourself to achieve this goal, what your current physical state is, and how much can you push your body such that you remain injury free. This will differ for everybody, so there is no point setting your goal based on what someone else has done or is doing, it needs to be a personal decision based entirely on what YOU can do.

If your goal is focused around a climbing trip then you’ll have some very definite time frames to work with, which should be taken into account, along with the other factors mentioned above.  You should hopefully also have some idea of what type of routes or boulders you’ll be getting on there, so you can tailor your training sessions around this too.

The reason for setting a goal is so that we can enjoy the satisfaction of achieving it, and to inspire us to push ourselves into new realms.  Set your goal too low and the lack of challenge will rob you of that feeling, set it too high and not only will you not get any fulfilment, but you’ll also end up feeling extremely frustrated.  

So if you find yourself feeling a bit aimless, floating from session to session without much drive ... just drifting ... then consider setting a goal and dare yourself to achieve higher, faster, stronger!  

But the one thing that I do want to stress is that, above goals and training programs and everything else, make sure you’re having fun and enjoying the journey!  That is, after all, why we climb in the first place :)

No comments:

Post a Comment