Preparing for 2015

 It's the time of year for gluttony - Baileys/cream as seen at a party recently :) 

It's the time of year for gluttony - Baileys/cream as seen at a party recently :) 

Welcome to the Rock and Ice yearlong training plan. This seven-part series will present specific workouts based on the principles of periodization, a proven approach to training that results in peak performance. Each six-week segment will build upon the previous with the end result being a better, stronger climbing machine—you.
Most training articles give you the theory and leave the planning to you, but this time the only hard work will be at the climbing gym. The plan will work for climbers of all levels.

From RockandIce's new year-long plan for 'building a better climber'.

In between the celebration Christmas (i.e. eating and drinking too much), it's a good time to put some thought into next year's goals. I'm coming off the back of a major lull, both physically (three separate injuries - two what I can only describe as unlucky, the third I should have known better!) and mentally (it was obvious from my summer trip to Ceuse that numerous other things in life need resolving as my enthusiasm for climbing just wasn't there - a brilliant trip as always but that 'fire' you need to climb well wouldn't start). In many ways, and with hindsight, it's been a few years of lulls (with unusual highlights). Not a negative in any ways, but interesting to reflect on and develop from the experience, always learning.

I'm taking the approach that 2015 is a new year, a fresh start and that's a lovely thing. It's amazing to see just how many programmes there is out there. Free (like the RockandIce one above, or North Face's training app specific to climbing but unfortunately US-only at present, and even AutoBelay companies offering training programs), Paid (both online like TrainingBeta, paid pro's, and I'm sure numerous more Worldwide I don't have links to, etc. - or private coaching, of which it's very early days in this, especially in Ireland).

In many ways, all these programmes are hugely confusing with all recommending different approaches. Some simple advice if you're thinking of improving? Sit down and work out the basics

  • how much time can you realistically commit per week? Work, family, life commitments need to be accounted for - it's easy to say you'll climb/train 25 hours per week but, a) do you really need that much time and b) is it even viable?
  • what specific goals do you have for the year (if it's to just climb more, that's a very different target to improving your grade, etc)
  • what trips do/will you be thinking of? Want some help with pricing a trip - my article with estimated pricing from Ireland may be useful
  • when would you like to be at your peak (i.e. you can't stay perpetually motivated so when do you really want to be performing at your best)
  • will your plans have an impact (positive or negative) on other aspects of your life, family/work/etc.? Is it worth it, or realistic?

All thoughts welcome!

Note: while I do post everything to Facebook, I don't actually go on Facebook so comments will either have to be on this post, privately by email (you'll find it on the 'about' page) or Twitter :)

Neal McQuaid