A weak session at the Climbing Works

After my much happier climbing session on Wednesday, I was pretty drained on Friday. I really wanted to finish the redraft of Chapter 2 of my PhD, so worked pretty intensively on Thursday and Friday. When I finished work, I really didn’t fancy climbing, and the fact that there weren’t any new circuits to try didn’t really help either.

My training program told me to do a Zone 3/4 play circuit, which didn’t really help as there wasn’t anything that I wanted to play on. I was supposed to have done a Zone 2 ‘recovery circuit’ on the Thursday, but that didn’t happen because I had loads of work to do and wasn’t feeling that great. In sum, unlike Wednesday, my psych had up sticks and moved on.

I tried to play on some yellows and some whites. I did actually manage to do a couple of quite hard moves on the yellows (I had forgotten about that – it’s quite useful to log things isn’t it?). There was one that I was quite chuffed about – it involved a strong shoulder move, and trying to keep my feet on. After a couple of goes, I managed to find a way to hold the strong move by using a toe hook and then trying to push up off my foot for another hold. That’s where I kept falling off. It’s very strong move, and one that I’m not sure I’ll get but I’ll keep trying. After trying that a couple of times, and some other yellows, I got bored and cold.

In the end I played on a number of reds (they were the newest set) and then got cold. I was tired and wanted my curry. Hopefully, the Works will reset the yellows or wasps some time soon! Although – saying that – the way that I feel right now, I’d quite like them to wait a week or so!

Back on the Wave at the Foundry

I don’t know why, but it’s felt like an age since I last climbed on the Wave. It was really, really quiet last Wednesday – that probably had something to do with the weather. It had been warm (ish) and sunny for most of the day. I wouldn’t be surprised if many were out climbing on actual rock rather than just plastic. I wish I was outside, but due to other commitments it wasn’t possible.

My training plan said to focus on steep terrain. I aimed to keep to Zone 3/4 and tried to keep strong climbing on steep terrain. I actually felt pretty happy to climb on the Wave.  I even managed to keep my feet on as well!

Anyway, I still felt strong and pretty good. In fact, after warming up (slowly), I managed to top 3 new L2s – some on the Wave! I was very pleased with myself and felt very strong.

A Pink L2. Photo: CanadianKate

 At least, until I bashed my knee against the bomb bay and fell off. It hurt like the dickens! Luckily that was near the end of the session and after warming down, it was dinner time.

In sum, I was very strong and happy to be climbing – clearly the ‘rest’ week had done me good. I was, once more, psyched to climb!

A trip to the Leeds Climbing Depot

After breaking myself cycling on Sunday, I wasn’t particularly psyched to cycle on the Monday. Truth be told, not that many of the group were either. We cleaned up the cottage, and decided to head to the Depot on our way back to Sheffield to break the journey. I haven’t been to the Depot for quite a while, so all the problems were going to be new and fun. And they were!

After warming up slowly – I was feeling quite creaky after Sunday – I started on the Pink circuit which was from the winter bouldering league. It started very easy at about V0 and went up to about V10 (F4- 7C+) and there were 30 or so problems. We got up to problem 18 and then started to get shut down (so about V4-5(ish)) and then moved on to trying other problems. I decided to try the V3-V5 circuit using natural wood holds. Surprisingly I actually flashed a couple too! I loved the name of the holds as well:

Crusher holds. Photo: CanadianKate

I think we climbed for a couple of hours all told. I felt really, really strong and was climbing smoothly. Granted I mainly climbed problems that suited my strengths rather than working my weaknesses but it was fun just to climb new things as both the Foundry and the Works haven’t re-set any circuits in my working grade range for a while. I can’t wait for the Wasps to be taken down at the Works!

Some stats:

  • Worked a number of pinks. Topped most up to about Problem 14, then took a couple of goes until Problem 17.
  • Played on the woody circuit. Topped a couple of them.

Trying to rest ‘actively’ is quite difficult

On Saturday, I published a blog about the importance of rest, and the signs of over training. After reading through them and noting that I’m really eating crap, not performing well, a bit crabby, and generally meh, I decided to take a rest week. However, as all my friends were still coming to the Foundry on the Wednesday, I figured that after 2 days of  full rest, 1 day of active rest wouldn’t hurt.

Well, wasn’t I wrong on that? I was so very tired. After doing about 2 moves on L2s, and 4 moves on L1s I needed to rest. The problems looked really fun and because I hadn’t had a chance to play on them I *may* have pulled harder than I ought. This meant that I worked a couple of L2s instead of puttering around on the L1s, actually listening to my body.

On the plus side I topped 2 of the L2s. I had to work on one to get the sequence and the flick to a hold. The other, I had a sordid battle, but topped it on the flash. In hindsight, this wasn’t a great idea. Clearly I was tired, everything felt hard. I totally misread the sequence and had to use strength and thuggery to get up it. I lost my feet a couple of times and really wrenched my shoulder. In fact, I finished climbing after that because I felt so rubbish.

What I did learn, is that active recovery can’t be interpreted as pulling hard on L2s because they’re new. No matter how gently I want to try them, I will pull strong. Instead, come down, have a chat and don’t feel bad about not doing anything!

Valentines Day at the Climbing Works

I went training at the Climbing Works on Friday. Coincidentally it was also valentines day and I saw quite a few couples climbing together. Did I climb with my OH? Nope. He climbed with a mutual friend and I had training to do! Diane did keep me company which I apprecidated. Training can be lonely at times.

When mulling over my training aims for Friday, I realised that I have overly focused on steep terrain, at the expense of my other weaknesses such as moving from insecure holds. To redress this, I decided to work on this on Friday. After warming up on some of the new pinkle set (the OH completed it and said it was ‘fun’), I started back on the yellows and whites.

The key mantras that I have running through my head pretty much every session are these:

  1. Remember that trying really hard on moves that I ultimately fail at/fall off on will make me stronger!

  2. Some days will just be harder than others, especially in the middle of a training programme

  3. Focus on the aim of the session rather than the grade of the climb

These were certainly on my mind on Friday! I find the yellows and whites very hard – and so they should be as they’re towards the top of my level.

I worked about 6 different yellow and white problems. A couple I had tried previously (as they covered both steep and insecure holds), and a couple I had not even bothered looking at.

The first problem that I tried was a yellow problem that I had tried previously. It involved some good starting holds and then a pop to a ball shaped hold, getting feet sorted and another pop to a fairly good hold. At first I couldn’t even get to the ball, I didn’t have enough pop off my foot to catch it. After doing some foot faffery, I figured out a way to reach up and get the ball in control. I then had to use tension to keep my foot on and quickly move my hand from the starting hold to a good crimp about my chest height. Once my hand was there, I could ‘easily’ move my foot to the starting hold and give a good shove with my foot. I actually managed to get to the next hold on the lip, but I couldn’t latch. I didn’t have enough tension to really catch hold of it. My shoulder started to fatigue so I decided to move on.

The next problem was also a yellow, but on a slab this time. It required a balancy high step and I kept barndooring off from. Eventually, I managed to get my toe on the hold, while standing on tip toes in a rather precarious position, but I could not get enough weight transferred to my toe in order to keep myself on. In the end, I called it a day and moved on to something else. I had progressed on that move but, it was not to be!

I tried a couple of more problems, including a white one which was mainly a horrid, horrid grapple with some huge slopers. I could hold the two starting holds, and get my heel up, but I couldn’t hold the position to get my hand to the next hold. But still – I held some holds on a white!

I did top the final problem of the session. It was a yellow with a good sloper hold and some pinches thrown in as well. I felt really good and confident on it, and according to my friends, I climbed it in fine style! By the time I topped it and came back down again I knew that I was done for the session. I was pleased with my effort. I kept my psyche up, even though I didn’t see particularly concrete signs of improvement i.e. topping out. However, I could keep the aim of the session to the foreground and remember that I wasn’t necessarily going to see massive improvements, but the small ones such as being able to catch holds and move between holds, are still important.

I think I might do an easier session next time in order to top things and be able to move efficiently between holds. One problem of working hard moves and to the top of my ability is that it gets a bit bitty at times. I’m looking forward to my next session already!

Some stats:

  • Warm up: cross-through traversing, L-R and R-L; some pinkles
  • Main session: using insecure holds. Worked 6 problems in the yellow and white circuit. Topped 1; progressed between yucky holds on 3/5. Added an intermediary hold on 1 problem, and then were able to progress even further.
  • Cool down: dynamic moves between green holds. Some popping and some skipping holds

Steep climbing at the Climbing Works

 On Sunday, I was supposed to do an easy Zone 2 circuit. Because I had done one on Friday, I was pretty felt pretty strong and wanted to see what I could do on the competition problems on the Comp Wall instead. My aim was to see if I could top out at least 2 of the problems on the Comp Wall.

I topped out on two problems on the Comp Wall (a 6a yellow and a 6a+ murple) and turned to something harder. I made a number of attempts on the 7a pinkle going up the main overhanging wall. The first couple of moves were quite straightforward, but there was one move which was really quite strong. It required a deep Egyptian and a slap to a not particularly good hold (it was a good hold, but turned the wrong way). This was a pretty hard move for me because it required dynamism, a bit of strength and being able to latch the sloper. I almost managed to hold it once, but I started getting lower on the move so I decided to change problems as I was fatiguing. 

The next problem was even harder – at least for me! It was made up of the toothpaste volumes that I never get on with. The problem is graded 7a, and I didn’t get anywhere on it! It’s really not my style. After trying different things for a good 5-6 attempts to get off the ground, I moved on. I was getting bored of the Comp Wall, so I decided to try some of the yellows and whites in the rest of the Works.

In the end, I didn’t get up anything but I did manage to link some moves on steep stuff, which took me a couple of goes but I achieved it. I was super stoked about being able to link a white problem opposite the reception. It included two finger pockets and quite a hard cross over. I figured out how to hold myself in when making that cross-over, but it was a very strong move so I started to fatigue quite quickly. I started to warm down (dynamically) and get ready to head home.

Playing around with insecure holds

My aim for Wednesday focused on using insecure holds. My plan said:

• Warm up: traverse no matching, L-R, R-L, cross-through where possible • Main session: Insecure holds (Z4) explore foot positions, body position, one foot vs two feet • Warm down: easy problems missing out holds, dynamic

My session was more like this:

  • Warm up: using the outside of my feet, playing with the 5.10 dragons that I was contemplating buying. Do some travers-y and cross-through climbing
  • Main session: definitely working at Z4! Mainly focused on one section of the Wave and playing with different handholds.
  • Warm down: some nominally dynamic swinging around on big holds.

I actually did quite well. Diane was back and was awesome at giving me pointers, and as a result I managed to move around a neon yellow pinch hold that I’ve really struggled holding. It took me a good half dozen goes to work out where I needed to put my feet to actually hold it and be stable enough to match and then go up to another hold. I never managed to complete the problem, but I did get to the point where I could do the starting moves without any real difficulty. I fatigued before I could link them, but I felt like there had been real progress.

I then tried another problem which included not so great holds. This was a black problem and part of the ‘elite’ circuit. I started it half way through, and it took a while to figure out where to put my feet to move up. I was very excited when I managed to catch the sloper/triangular shaped black hold. It took me a couple of goes to get. By this time I was pretty tired and while I didn’t feel like I had done that much, it took a lot more effort to do even the two moves that I was trying.

I decided to warm down after trying the black problem one more time. I went into the traversing corridor and swung between holds, occasionally hopping a bit. It wasn’t the best warm down ever, but I was tired by this point and it was time for Wetherspoons.

I was really pleased with my effort on Wednesday. I set out my training plan and stuck to it as much as I could. I was able to keep the goals to the forefront of my mind and that helped me not feel like I was ‘failing’ or not climbing properly. I also felt like I could train the next day – which was part of my schedule so that was a bonus!