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!

Recovery climb at the Climbing Works

I woke up on Sunday with a bit of a sore head. It was our 7 year anniversary on the 14th February (such a cliche, eh?), so to celebrate, we did the usual Saturday night routine: cook some really yummy food and watch Take Me Out (mainly to annoy the OH). I was a bit fuzzy headed the next day, so quite pleased that my aim for Sunday had changed somewhat from my training plan and my aim was to do a more endurance/volume session. Even better, the Works was quite quiet for a change.

I warmed up traversing and doing some one-legged climbing on some of the reds and greens towards the back of the Works. I’m finding the little kiddy play area great for easy traversing and luckily there weren’t any kids around, so I could play to my heart’s content. After starting to feel somewhat more the thing, I started at problem #1 of the Pinkles (graded F5+). It was lovely and straightforward, but also highlighted that I really hadn’t quite warmed up yet, so I threw in a couple more reds and greens for good measure.

I zoomed around the Pinkles as much as my head and the other climbers would let me. I had a couple of rests because I really wanted to do the problems in order as I often forget which numbers I have missed out on and then fail to complete the circuit. In the end I did all 36 problems, and only failed on 4 (#2, #7, #29, #14(?)), one of which I had done on Friday. A few of them took more than 1 go, but no more than 3. I was working quite hard during this session, and was in Zone 3 for most of it. For Sunday that was exactly what I wanted – something to make me work, but not to expend too much energy as I wasn’t feeling that great (self-induced, I know!).

I also aim to climb on Monday at the Foundry as it is the last of the Winter Bouldering League, so once I finished the Pinkles circuit, I cooled down, had a bite to eat and chatted with my friends. Running around doing endurance does not lend itself to social climbing, so it was nice to catch up with people at the end of the session.

By the end of the session I felt that I had accomplished my aims. I probably should have warmed up a bit more before starting my training proper, but I was keen to get cracking and I could warm up as part of the endurance circuit. I don’t think that I climbed particularly efficiently – I think I used more strength and thuggery to top some of the problems than body position and finesse. Diane said that she often climbs easy problems again when she thinks that she hasn’t climbed them particularly efficiently. I think I might start doing that, as it would force me to use better body positioning, balance and grace than simple thuggery. Maybe I’ll integrate this into my training plan too.

My general aims for the next week are quite broad. We’re going away for 4 days, so I’m aiming to climb Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. There is a comp at the Foundry on Monday, and I’m tempted to go and have a play on the new problems, or if not that psyched, go and do a steep terrain session on the 45 degree board instead. On Wednesday, I plan to do another easy circuit which means climbing all the L1s at the Foundry. On Thursday, I’ll be playing around on insecure holds again. Not a bad training week eh?

Here’s the grading of the new Pinkles:

The new pinkles circuit at the Climbing Works. Photo: CanadianKate

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.

Exploring the Climbing Work’s Mini Works

Friday’s training aims were nice and straightforward:

Warm up: traverse no matching, L-R, R-L, cross-through where possible

Main session: Recovery circuit (Z2), easy effort

Warm down: easy problems, missing out holds

As luck would have it, the Climbing Works had reset their green and pink spotties across both the main wall and the mini-works. Because it was a recovery/endurance circuit, I thought this would be a perfect circuit to play on. I tried not to have too many rests between problems, and luckily it wasn’t too busy so I didn’t have to wait for problems. I did have a short rest catching up with some people who I’ve not seen for a long time, and then I had to walk to the mini works after completing the 20 problems in the main wall. I’d still like to believe that I was doing endurance work.

The problems were really straightforward and not particularly difficult. I think they’re roughly font 4 and that was perfectly fine for me as I was supposed to be in Z2. I probably could have gone up a circuit, but the holds are so grotty and dirty on the pinkles that I really didn’t want to. I did feel quite tired towards the end of the session. The last 3 problems did feel like effort and I had to drop down to the level to complete.

Green/pink spotties. Photo CanadianKate

The spotties were graded 3-4 by the setters.

It was the 2nd time that I had been in the Mini Works and it was certainly overrun by children. However, the mats are still rock hard and super painful to jump down on them. This kind put me off throwing for things because my back is a wee bit niggly at the moment and I really don’t want to aggravate it. I think they should have one of the indoor comps in the Mini Works – or get a whole bunch of adults in there jumping up and down on the mats to soften them up a bit!

Friday’s training aims were nice and straightforward: Warm up: traverse no matching, L-R, R-L, cross-through where possible Main session: Recovery circuit (Z2) (easy effort) Warm down: easy problems missing out holds. As luck would have it, the Climbing Works had reset their green and pink spotties across both the main wall and the mini-works. Because it was a recovery/endurance circuit, I thought this would be a perfect circuit to play on. I tried not to have too many rests between problems, and luckily it wasn’t too busy so I didn’t have to wait for problems. I did have a short rest catching up with some people who I’ve not seen for a long time, and then I had to walk to the mini works after completing the 20 problems in the main wall. I’d still like to believe that I was doing endurance work.  The problems were really straightforward and not particularly difficult. I think they’re roughly font 4-5 and that was perfectly fine for me as I was supposed to be in Z2. I probably could have gone up a circuit, but the holds are so grotty and dirty on the pinkles that I really didn’t want to. I did feel quite tired towards the end of the session. The last 3 problems did feel like effort and I had to drop down to the level to complete.  It was the 2nd time that I had been in the Mini Works and it was certainly overrun by children. However, the mats are still rock hard and super painful to jump down on them. This kind put me off throwing for things because my back is a wee bit niggly at the moment and I really don’t want to aggravate it. I think they should have one of the indoor comps in the Mini Works - or get a whole bunch of adults in there jumping up and down on the mats to soften them up a bit!  After I completed my circuit, I wandered back to the main wall and contemplated climbing some more. I felt quite tired and couldn’t really be assed, so I did some easy problems with a bit of dynamism to cool down and then got changed.  I’m nearly at the end of my 2nd week of training for Font and I feel like I’m getting somewhere. My footwork is getting better and I feel like I’m happier on my feet. It’ll still take me a while to get happier on using insecure holds, but I think after 2 sessions I still feel like I’ve improved.  Bring on next week!

The Mini Works have some lovely problems for adults too, but my god are the mats hard!

After I completed my circuit, I wandered back to the main wall and contemplated climbing some more. I felt quite tired and couldn’t really be assed, so I did some easy problems with a bit of dynamism to cool down and then got changed.

I’m nearly at the end of my 2nd week of training for Font and I feel like I’m getting somewhere. My footwork is getting better and I feel like I’m happier on my feet. It’ll still take me a while to get happier on using insecure holds, but I think after 2 sessions I still feel like I’ve improved.

Here’s the

Bring on next week!

A light session at the climbing works

Friday’s training goal was a light endurance session. Here’s what my training plan said:

Day 5 Friday: Zone 2 Recovery Circuit

Warm up: traverse no matching, L-R, R-L, cross-through where possible
Main session: Recovery circuit (Z2) (easy effort)
Warm down: easy problems missing out holds.

What I actually did was:

  • Warm up: – 1 legged climbing and ‘wrong handed’ climbing on some of the reds and greens at the Climbing Works
  • Main session: – Z2/Z3 circuit, moderate effort, but longer rests between. Dropped to reds to Z2/Z1 after 24/25 problems
  • Warm down: – Easy reds

I warmed up slowly and did a couple of easy problems. I felt pretty good, and kinda wanted to play on the new(ish) yellow circuit, but I heard that it is quite hard, and as my plan said do a circuit in Z2, I stuck to the pinkles. It is the replacement circuit for the old purple and pink spotties. They were just right. Enough to keep me thinking, and having to put some effort in, but with enough rests to bring down the effort level. I completed 24 or 25 of the problems, and only failed on 3 – mainly because the holds were in really poor condition. I started to fatigue and my friends were getting to the curry stage, so I quickly ran around 3 or 4 more reds. They were probably a bit too easy, but I was quite tired. I didn’t really warm down according to my training plan. I did run up and down some reds, but it wasn’t particularly dynamic and I was feeling more like a sack of potatoes. After doing some stretching, because I didn’t really do enough after my run and did a small amount of core work.

I’m really pleased with my effort on Friday. I stuck to my training plan and was happy to do doing my own things.  My friends joined me for bits and then went off and did other circuits or climbed with other people. I didn’t feel any pressure to perform better because I was doing an easier circuit that by rights I should flash every problem. Instead, I kept remind myself that what I was doing had purpose and focus on the aim of the session rather than the grade of the problem or circuit I was trying. Lets see what happens on Sunday!

Janathon Day 19 A ‘rest’ day aka Muay Thai and Climbing at the Works

I had an early start on Sunday morning. My friends and I had a Muay Thai lesson (thai kickboxing) starting at 11am. I woke up a bit late, so only had time to grab a coffee, stuff some food into me and head to the gym. Considering the pain that I was in after my last Muay Thai class (and that wasn’t a private lesson) I was a bit nervous about how I was going to cope, especially as my ‘recovery’ run on Saturday really wasn’t a recovery.

According to Wikipedia, Muay Thai is:

‘known as “the art of eight limbs” because it is characterized by the combined use of fists, elbows, knees, shins and feet, being associated with a good physical preparation that makes a full-contact fighter very efficient. Muay Thai became widespread internationally in the twentieth century, when practitioners defeated notable practitioners of other martial arts.'[Source]

We learnt the first style of kicking, which basically involves using the shin of the front leg and kicking your opponent in the thigh with the intention to give them a dead leg. After practicing kicking the air for a while, we then practiced against each other. The intention wasn’t to properly kick each other, but to get the aim right and get a feel for how to kick. Then the practice pads came out.

love kicking. I love being able to use aggression and force to kick things really hard, but with purpose. I think I did quite well – although the clear winner was my friend who used to train all the time – that and she’s a natural athlete. I found that by dipping my shoulders I could get more force in my kick and it made such a satisfying noise! We practice kicking with both legs and took turns hold the pad. By this point it was nearing the end of the lesson so to finish our instructor had us practice against bags for a 3 minute bout. I loved this part of the lesson! My shins were pretty damn sore, but I felt such satisfaction for basically kicking the shit out of an inanimate object. I can’t wait to start punching and kicking at the same time.

To finish the lesson our instructor had us do a 3 minute mini ‘circuit’ of push-ups, sit-ups, star jumps and tuck jumps. I hadn’t done something like that since I left British Military Fitness, and it brought back the pain and  fun of doing short bursts and brutal series of exercises. Our instructor was pretty impressed by the level of fitness we had. We then left, shins significantly redder than before.

I went home, had some food and then went climbing at the Works. I didn’t crush as hard as I did on Friday, but I didn’t really expect to. I managed some more of the black circuit and did a couple of new problems on the comp wall. Annoyingly – I kept tickling the top hold on one which is totally within my ability! Funnily, it was my head that was not in the right place – I didn’t want to commit to certain moves and that limited what I was willing to try, and also whether or not I topped a problem. Mainly, I was quite tired and generally just wanted to go home and read my book. 

Rather bruised shins after Muay Thai. Photo: CanadianKateHere is a photo of my shins on Sunday evening. The photo really doesn’t do justice to the size and colour of the bruises!