There is a dangerous circle that I get into when I train for a project, expedition or race. A self-induced and ego-driven syndrome of “Lazy Training” as I’ve come to understand it, is what anyone would have experienced when they get really passionate about a sport or a demanding goal.
Recently, I’ve been pushing to jump up in my climbing and I’ve needed to change and sacrifice some creature-comforts in the process. Getting up at 5am for chilly morning sessions, having early nights and, sadly, saying “NO” to those good-looking slices of Lemon Meringue. There are those genetically superior beings who can binge on chips and beer and then go and crush their projects or dominate their heat- I’m not one of them and that means if I want to perform I’ve got to be disciplined and a bit fussy with what I shove down my gullet.
Once I’ve gotten into my program, I love it and I especially love the gains. It’s such a rewarding feeling to be able to blitz it up to the crag and then flow through routes that would normally see me grunting and flailing around. Eventually, the plateau will arrive and this is what this blog is all about, breaking another habit. While this habit of sacrifice and hard sessions needed to form to accomplish goals, it will inevitably become ineffective and my body will get used to whatever once saw me huffing and puffing.
It’s always easy to keep on going and that is where my mind and attitude at getting better slouches and I become “Lazy”. I expect more results and keep on pounding, when, actually, I should be calming down. Thus, I have a tendency of pumping up the load or number of reps.
Rest has always sounded like a dirty word, yet it’s something I have undervalued for far too long. Rest, catching up on sleep and dropping the intensity is a significant component of getting better and avoiding injury. It’s hard so, I’ve needed to rephrase this dirty word to satisfy some of my nagging gung-ho, type-A tendencies: “Rest Training”!
R.T time gives me time to check-in with myself and reevaluates my goals. I can also work out those niggles that can lead to an undesired lay off from what I love the most. I either take a week in between training cycles or when I begin to feel annoyed with stagnation in my performance (i.e. the plateau). R.T. doesn’t mean lying around all day (though, that can be good as well 😉 ), but rather going off on hikes, doing some yoga or picking up a hobby or learning a new skill. This is where I’ll dust off my surf-board and go and embarrass myself in the icy Atlantic swell with some friends. More than anything it reignites the passion and desire to get back to the cliffs and work even harder.
It can be burdening and unhealthy tying up my identity into one thing. When I’ve been injured or uninspired, having other non-climbing things to do with friends and working on other things that I enjoy has been invaluable. R.T time takes away some of that pressure and, undoubtedly, makes me a more balanced human.