“Now”… its all you have!
Sometimes life gets in the way of actual climbing and your priority cannot always be climbing focused. These are the challenges that the majority of us face and in essence we are weekend warriors! Sometimes it is refreshing to take a breather from focused climbing due to other distractions. Recently, I wrote a brief post on how I keep motivated for training. It included my five P’s; Passion, Planning, Persistence, Positivity and Perspective. I use these principles to spark the drive and to find the rhythm required to focus on future projects and climbing objectives. There is a plethora of information out there on training, its principles and implementation. We will be getting our teeth into this at the ROCK SOLID SEMINAR in September. Until then here are a few considerations for you.
PASSION First and foremost. I think most climbers share the passion for, expression of movement, and the natural environment in which we move. You may be motivated by the grade/ego, “the line” or simply the effort of training. By definition passion is a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something. As long as this passion for climbing, bouldering, mountaineering or whatever genre of movement on rock you partake in is alive then the other 4 P’s will fall into place. If you do not have passion for your climbing then training will be a chore. Your motivation will help you devise a clear goal of what you would like to achieve and this will help fuel your passion and energise your focus.
La Coeur, L’Elephant, Fontainebleau.
PLANNING Now that you have a goal written then its important to set into motion a plan or a process to achieve this. From my experience from working with all levels of climbers, goal setting is a tricky beast, it is difficult to set them at the right level that is achievable but yet challenging enough that will continue to motivate each individual. Most people tend to be quite conservative with their goals, or if they are on the other extreme and are quite limitless with their aims, then its important to explore what is realistic in the timescale that that individual is prepared to partake. Planning and programming may sound stifled, rigid and inflexible but this process will help make the “surreal” goals less daunting and give you the confidence that “you can”! Just by having an element of structure to your day, week or year, it helps to form habit and actually create space and time. Even if its only 30 mins per day, this structure can create commitment to focus on some finger boarding, strength training, pilates and potentially the mobility issues you’ve been failing to address. Little and often can provide significant results over destroying yourself in a 5 hr climbing marathon one day per week. So…..take out your diary, phone, journal and make some space for your practice now! Yes NOW!
Fontainebleau in February 2013 on our year off from work. We did plan for rainy days, and in this case snow, where climbing was not feasible. We had a custom made frame for our fingerboard so that we could train anywhere. Maybe this was slightly excessive considering all the portable boards available on the market nowadays! However we knew that just climbing for a year may not have been enough to maintain strength and to achieve our climbing goals.
PERSISTENCE I sat in fontainebleau forest watching this gentleman one summers afternoon. He was struggling to move past the point in the photo as it was a long move to the chalky hold above. He tried many configurations of foot and dynamic movements to reach the hold to no avail. After many attempts, over a few hours and many french expletives he climbed the boulder problem in style. The point is, in summer heat, no chalk and over the age of 65 this gentleman had persisted and it paid off. This brings us back to consistency and planning, By persistent practice we can improve and move forward in our climbing. However it is being smart about your persistence were a good balance of optimism and realism will help you prevail.
To quote Calvin Coolidge “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
POSITIVITY Thoughts are like the steering wheel that moves our life in the right direction. Can you be constructive when analysing a situation e.g. climbing a project where the desired outcome was not achieved? Can you see the benefit of the process that just happened despite the outcome? Can you obtain useful feedback and ideas in order for you to progress? This process takes time to develop and is really a journey of exploration, acceptance and understanding your own body and mind.
Mr Potato Head, Slieve Binnian, Mountains of Mourne. I love challenging my movement and footwork through handsfree climbing, generally on slabs! Sometimes I am not sure if it is possible but my positivity about my climbing allows me to push beyond my boundaries and try movement that may not be conventional. Essentially it is always a rewarding and enjoyable experience of exploration and learning new patterns to add to my repertoire regardless of the outcome.
PERSPECTIVE Back to the old gentleman again! As I mentioned earlier his persistence paid off after hours of effort and failed attempts. What I neglected to mention that between his attempts he would step back, step in, view the holds and look around to see if there was something he missed. He took perspective. He interacted with his environment. It was his wife that eventually stepped in and offered him the advice to complete the problem! Take perspective of where you are and where you want to go. Take perspective of your weaknesses and strengths and work with them. Never be afraid to ask friends, coaches for advice, training programming or opinions but remember that not everyones methods and ideologies will enhance your performance. You are unique, thats what makes climbing so special. We all find our own way.
Bleausard getting past the crux! He obviously had passion to complete the problem therefore persisted in trying and practicing the moves. However his positivity allowed him to continue to persist with the problem despite not reaching the desired outcome after many failed attempts. Eventually he took another perspective and planned his route and achieved his goal!
IN SUMMARY…. If you have been hesitating about training, NOW is the time to start! What is your passion? What are your goals for climbing? That way you can plan your training to persist, remain focused and motivated in an organised manner which is part of your routine. Having a positive mindset in all aspects of life will help you see failure in a new light and challenge your perspective to be open to new possibilities that once seemed impossible. Most important of all, have fun and maintain a sense of humour! Being able to laugh, even if at your own situation, can help you put things into perspective.