Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Training in the Time of Coronavirus Part 1

Hi Everyone,
I want to start by saying that in this rapidly changing environment anything I say should be taken with a grain of premium uncut chalk, maybe two. Your mileage may vary, you may experience technical difficulties, etc.

Okay, now let's begin. Based on my admittedly informal survey of the internet etc, everyone is frantic to train and is busy buying or building the thing/s they think they need to not lose those precious gains they had built up during the winter. This is a normal impulse but not one to be indulged in too heavily. Here's why.

1. At least initially, taking a week or two out around this time of year is something you should probably do anyway. Rest is good for you. Recharging by getting outside just moving around is actually really helpful for your overall climbing ability.

2. You're stressed. The pandemic is a really big deal on multiple fronts and finding the focus and psyche is not going to be automatic, especially if your training options are small, subpar and lonely. So trying to charge in there with ideas of smashing the training plans/goals/whatever are unrealistic. You don't need that additional stress in your life right now, unless that stress is productive.

3. Training is really hard. Climbing is relatively easy. Switching to only training will expose weaknesses you may not have realized you had and injury can result. This is especially true if you haven't been training seriously in the past, which describes a lot of climbers right now.

So what is the first step? Assess what you really need.

Are you climbing 5.10 or lower and just want to climb? Go running or walking while they are still options. Simple bodyweight or free weight exercises are more than enough to keep you climbing fit at that level.  A week of climbing when the gyms re-open will do the rest. You're all set. Seriously. Congratulations!

Are you climbing 5.11 or easy 5.12 and don't want to slide? Same as above but maybe add in a bit of fingerboarding. I'll talk more about specifics in another post very soon.

Are you a 12+ to mid-13 climber who wants to keep strong no matter what? Chances are you already have training equipment and some kind of plan. The question is how to leverage that situation to your benefit. Look for that post. Should you build a climbing wall? Yes, you probably should. I'll discuss that too.

13+ and up? You don't need my advice hahaha.

Regardless the way I am going to recommend you train is that it resembles brushing your teeth. You want a sustainable non-crazy routine that will be a habit that can be carried forward regardless of circumstances, one that will enable you to readily jump back on the bus when the doors are opened, whenever that it is. It could be a long time so careful planning now is a great first step.

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