Today’s topic: Resting. I originally had this designated as “easy,” because nothing seems like it should be easier than resting enough to promote solid climbing (or athletic performance), right? But then I thought about my own struggle with resting enough, and I realized that this one falls into a gray area, at least for me. Resting enough seems like it should be an easy thing to adjust, but it often isn’t – especially not for enthusiastic folks like me who are more than willing to push their bodies beyond the breaking point on a daily basis.
(An aside, here. Wow, is it ever hard for me to separate these elements out into single components for blog entries and articles. I suppose that’s to be expected and a good thing, really; it indicates how interconnected and integral my view of the whole climbing/training process is these days. But, for example, I find myself wanting to include nutrition and hydration and recovery tactics and commentaries on supplements and substances and so forth into the topic of resting…but no! Those have to wait, though I will touch on some of them briefly in today’s discussion.)
My routine: After years of struggle and overtraining despite my best intentions and growing knowledge of the necessity of resting enough in order to reap gains and avoid overuse injuries/burnout, I seem to have finally settled into a pace and ratio of training and climbing to resting that works for my individual body.
My current winter-training regimen (focused on training my weaknesses) involves several weeks on of heavy-intensity training. Each week includes 2 hard days and 1-2 more moderate days of specific climbing training (the components of each of these days depend on the week and the day, and I’ll discuss these components more in future blog entries). I take at least one day totally off from physical activity in each on week, sometimes more – this just depends on how I feel. Most important to me is to maintain a consistent high-quality effort in my two high-intensity workouts each week, and to come into each of them as recovered as I possibly can so that I can give 100 percent and reap the benefits of that effort.
Backing the camera up for a more month-to-month view of this year, each month includes a lighter week, with some months featuring two or three lighter weeks, depending on the cycle, my travel plans and climbing-performance plans, and so forth.
Beyond this, no matter what my training or climbing schedule says, I will forgo my plans or a particular part of my plans if my body doesn’t feel recovered enough for me to proceed and see gains. For a driven person like me, this concession has been hard-fought, but I’ve pushed myself over the edge into overtraining far too many times. I’ve also seen the positive results of “extra rest days” enough times now to realize that they’re pretty much always good, despite the nuttiness I experience when weather or whatever other circumstances force me into extra rest days. In other words, while I don’t love rest days, I can handle them better now because I’ve seen the results. I’ve learned, at long last, that (within reason), more rest is almost always a good thing – so long as the person in question is putting in high-quality, high-intensity, weakness-focused workouts or solid high-intensity climbing efforts on their “on days.”
This multipart series of blogs and articles starts here, in case you have to catch up. Remember that my designation of each area as “easy,” “medium” or “hard” is purely subjective. I’ve arrived at the designations from my personal experience garnered from 20 years of climbing along with my observations from climbing coaching throughout the past four years. You may find some of the areas harder or easier to change than I do/did. Also, remember that the information I provide here is purely offered as advice and that no exercises or training program should be undertaken without receiving medical clearance from a healthcare professional.
One other caveat: As will be true for all of the entries and articles in this series, if you’ve already mastered or maxed out the topic at hand to the best of your ability level, you’ll reap far fewer benefits or none at all from my suggestions – good for you that you figured it out, but sorry I couldn’t help you out more. Happy climbing, bouldering and training!