I think we all know the feeling: you get off work after a semi-crappy day, maybe, and you know you SHOULD go to the gym, you know you SHOULD go get that training session in, but, for whatever reason, you just dread the idea of it.
There are times, no doubt, when working out seems like the least enjoyable thing to do. That said, the fact is that if you want to get better, you have to get yourself through these slumps and into the gym. There is just no way around it; hard work and consistency are the most important elements of becoming a better, stronger climber.
The following are some tips to keep you training and to keep that training effective:
Keep Context in Mind
I used to struggle to get myself to ride my bike to work/school. It was always just so much easier to drive. Funny thing was, every time I finally got onto my bike, that dread disappeared, and I would enjoy myself. I never once regretted the decision to get on my bike, once I was on it. The doubt only existed in the moments leading up to deciding.
The same can be said of training. There have been many days where I did not want to train, but once I got to the gym and started my workout, I enjoyed it. Furthermore, when I am done with a workout, I often feel a bit of pride and satisfaction at the fact that I didn’t let the rest of my life interfere with the thing I love most, and that no matter what, I committed at least a few hours that day towards my goals. That sense of pride and satisfaction always outweighs the doubts that precede getting in the gym, and is always better than the alternative feeling, the self-loathing you get when you skip a workout.
Listen to your Body and Mind
Taking the above into consideration, there are times when that voice in your head telling you to not train is right. Overtraining is a real thing, and I find this to be especially true in a sport like climbing where the athletes tend to be super-motivated. This path, ultimately, leads to plateaus in your progression and injury.
The key here is to learn to tell the difference between just “not feeling like it,” a response that often comes from the circumstances of your life, and actually needing some extra rest. For this, look to the body.
There is a difference between the normal soreness that comes from intense training and the pain signaling that you are near injury. There is a difference between the part of you that would rather be sitting around watching t.v. and the part of you that genuinely needs a mental break. As far as I know, there is no catch-all way to become privy to these differences; I imagine they are different for everyone.
The best thing to do is to pay attention to your mind and body and to correlate that to how you feel in your training. Over time, you will learn to understand the specific cues your body is giving you.
That’s all for now! The Training Tips section of our newsletter will alternate between stuff like the above, dealing more with menatility, and more concrete elements to include in your training, like exercise ideas; see next time for more!