I am at the end of my second iteration of climbing training, and this is how it went and what I learned: I completed the workout twelve times, but I took a twelve-day break between workout eleven and twelve. I first skipped a workout because I had ripped skin open on one of my fingers, and I did not want to attempt the workout with that damage, even though I could have taped it. I skipped the next one because I didn’t really want to do it, and was short on time for the day. Next I felt sick, and then I was on a work-related trip for a week.
So, without even trying, I took almost two weeks off from training. And I am glad I did so; Friday and Saturday I experienced occasional throbbing pain in my elbow. I’ve felt it before, and it’s early-stage elbow tendonitis. It did not show up until I had not climbed for almost two weeks, so I am glad I took it easy recently. In the future I will continue to take breaks from training, so my tendons can recover.
This last weekend I was going to climb in the New River Gorge, and I was going to see if my training had netted any improvement. As myself and a few others were driving there Saturday morning, my car decided to overheat and vent coolant all over the inside of the hood. Thanks to kind and knowledgeable West Virginians, we were able to temporarily repair what is probably catastrophic damage (supposedly a blown head gasket) and drive my car back to DC. I'm not positive what caused the problem but it certainly ended the trip. The down side is we didn’t climb for the weekend; the upside is the car is still drivable. (For a while I was afraid I would have to have to get it towed 150 miles back to DC. Expensive.)
I trained hard but didn’t see the improvement I’d hoped with my heavy pulls. I would saddle myself with up to 20 pounds of weight and do my dynamic touches. There was not a lot of change in that area, although I am still glad I did them. My largest improvement came from my static hangs – I would have ten pounds on me and hang from three fingers for as long as I could. I certainly got stronger in this area.
I feel better at my two finger hang as well. I was initially barely able to get my weight off the ground, and now I have hit ten or twelve seconds a few times.
I am now thinking about how to change my workout. I don’t want to focus on weighted touches as much, for the time being – I want to work on my finger strength. Specifically, I want to work toward one-hand dead hangs. I have some ideas, but I know that it will take a while to get there. It’s critical that I implement good progress tracking, and reward myself for hitting mini-milestones along the way. It’s too big a goal to just aim for one-handed hangs. I would grow discouraged well before I ever got there.
I am enjoying this training. I enjoyed my break, but I am excited to get back into the training. I feel like I'm in a good place, when it comes to motivation.