As I mentioned in my first post, I’ve been climbing for about 2.5 years. The first time I went climbing, I went with my boyfriend Dustin as he was just getting back into it after recovering from a broken shoulder. We went bouldering at our local gym, and I strongly remember not being able to get up a SINGLE route. There was one V-Beginner problem that was slightly overhung that I worked (re: flailed) on the entire session, tearing up the skin on my hands. It was hard and humbling, as well as a really amazing workout. A couple sessions later, I finally tried top-roping and THAT is the moment I became hooked. I loved the feeling of trying really hard.
Previously, I had been a cyclist primarily, but was feeling uninspired by the sport. While I loved pushing myself with long distance rides in the mountains, I never felt inclined to start any formal cycling “training.” I also moved to Richmond, VA (which is slightly hilly but mainly flat) from Harrisonburg, VA so didn’t have access to mountain roads very often anymore. Part of this lack of motivation had to do with me nearly always being dropped on group rides, so I mainly rode my bike solo (…looking back now, this was just an excuse and I should’ve found a group ride that worked for me, but at the time I wasn’t inspired to do so).
The social aspect of climbing really appealed to me, especially that as a newbie climber, I could still climb/belay with much stronger climbers. It didn’t matter if I sucked, as long as I knew how to belay, I could still hang!
Bouldering as a relatively newbie climber at the Red Rocks Climbing Gym in Las Vegas. This route was a super fun v2 I think!
Fast forward a year, and I was hooked on climbing at the gym at least 3 times a week. I was addicted to the feeling of pushing myself, both mentally and physically. Around this time, my main girlfriend I usually climbed with moved away and Dustin pulled his A2 pulley, so I was temporarily out of a regular climbing partner (I still didn’t know too many climber chicks at the gym yet). Around that same time, our gym was offering a 8-week Adult Training Course for members interested in learning how to train for climbing. I signed up, interested in learning how to get better in the gym besides “just climbing” as well as getting to know new potential climbing partners.
Looking back now, the course was super beneficial towards my progression as a climber. Although I didn’t realize it, but taking this training class a couple times a week with the added “homework” (ie workouts to do on other days of the week) helped me progress a lot. The course entailed both a fitness component as well as climbing component. The fitness component entailed working on fitness benchmarks, like pull-ups and pushups. I was a complete newbie to strength training, but loved working on different goals (ie, was most focused on working on doing my first real pull-up). The climbing component entailed working on climbing drills primarily…I was working on moves, projecting hard routes for me, and learned how to train my endurance, utilizing drills like Up-Down- Up (climbing a route up, climbing down the route, and then back up before coming off the wall) for the first time.
From then on, I was was intrigued on the idea of “training.” For me, this mostly meant coming into the gym with an idea of what I was gong to work on that day, whether it was power (bouldering), endurance (laps on easier routes), projecting, etc.
Somewhere in that time period, Dustin purchased a Rock Climber’s Training Manual. This book contains a LOT of information on what works for getting better. It’s a bit overwhelming almost at first, but was super enlightening for me. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about how to get better. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the book does contain sample training plans too! I will do a review of my experience following the Beginner plan in another post.
In my next post, I will discuss how I am approaching training currently, and how I plan to meet some of my 2018 climbing goals!