Thursday, 10 January 2008

Overdue Climbing update

Well this one will be fairly easy to type… theres been absolutely nowt climbing happening of note in my life lately other than training and going to check out Andy and Maeve’s new bouldering wall in Dublin while back home for Christmas. I’m feeling the strain now I’ll have to admit and can see myself hanging off some rock somewhere in north Wales this weekend. It’s not all doom and gloom here though, not by a long shot! The training at home has been going well and I’m still seeing improvements all the time – they’re not huge great big leaps but even the smallest sign that im progressing at least tells me im moving forwards and not backwards. What kind of improvements? Well after Spain I realised that between the running and the stamina sessions on the wall my stamina had improved and I was onsighting more and harder routes than ever before. For me that translates to 7b+ onsight (although in France earlier in the year I narrowly missed out on a 7c onsight! Got it second go!). The main weakness I was finding now on the harder routes at my grade was a lack of raw power.

I decided I needed to begin to re-introduce some footless campusing back into my training and more bouldering. So with that in mind I changed how I’ve been using my board over the last few weeks. I’m doing more pull-ups and campusing and just generally using smaller, more intense holds – all on the back of a slightly reduced endurance building set (80+ easy moves with feet on). The little adaptations have begun to shine through… I started doing sets of 10 pull-ups from the large campus rung and now do I do13. I could only hang for a max of 20 seconds or do 3 pull-ups from my tiny edges – now I can hang for over 40 and do 5 pull ups repeatedly. And having done no footless campusing in years meant that I had to cut right back – I started doing 1-3-5 and matching at the top – now I can do 1-1-3-5-5-3-1-1-3-5-5-3-1-1-3-5-5-3-1-1-3-5-5-1-1-3-5-5-3-1-1-3-5-5. That’s 5 sets of 1-3-5 with reversing. But the best sign of improvements is that I can now shake out while campusing! While doing a set a while back I felt my left hand was close to opening so I hung by my right, shook out the left and kept going! Chuffed! I think what I’m taking from all this is that the key to progress is to keep up with the mundane, un-impressive, boring work and watch the tiny improvements build into something you can apply effectively to sending routes.

Saying all that, I visited Andy’s wall over Christmas and felt decidedly weak in comparison to everyone back home. I think it just shows the positive effects of regular bouldering sessions both in and outdoors. That seems to be all the Irish climbers are up to – bouldering. Glendalough, Portrane, DCU, UCD. Wherever they do it it’s giving them a sharpness they need to crank through short cruxes. Having not bouldered in yonks I feel that I have the tools at hand to do the problems (finger strength, shoulders, core, technique) but the process of squeezing everything out of each muscle group in order to send a boulder problem felt a bit rusty. I think you forget how to crank! So now I know I need to get out on rock more and apply the training in a more sport specific way – sounds good to me!

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