/ Training for a holiday?

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mkean - on 10 Jan 2013
How do you prepare for a climbing holiday?

I typically go away for a few weeks and have enough time to throw in a couple of rest days here and there but with shorter breaks it doesn't make as much sense. So how do you prepare for 5 days of climbing?

Currently I'm bouldering one or two times a week for 3+ hours and then having one or two sessions a week mucking about with ropes at a more gentle pace. How would you transform this into an El Chorro in April for a week plan? I assume working on stamina and recovery is going to be fairly critical. Any helpful hints?
Skyfall - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to mkean:

> So how do you prepare for 5 days of climbing?

Work myself ragged for the weeks running up to it, get off work the night before and get wasted at the relief of being off for a week, turn up at the airport knackered, hungover and unfit. And normally still carrying an injury from over-training a few months earlier.

I thought that was how most people prepared ;)
mkean - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to Skyfall:
I've already got that sorted, I can manage to turn up broken with very little effort!
Joe G - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to mkean:
Sit in a comfy chair with a beer in one hand and the guidebook of where you're going in the other...
mkean - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to Joe G:
Wow, it is a really rare occasion when I'm the most focussed person in a conversation especially when it is on training!

;-)
Ian Patterson on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to mkean:
> How do you prepare for a climbing holiday?
>
> I typically go away for a few weeks and have enough time to throw in a couple of rest days here and there but with shorter breaks it doesn't make as much sense. So how do you prepare for 5 days of climbing?
>
I usually have a 5 1/2 day trip to Spain in spring each year. If weather plays ball etc I'll climb first afternoon then 2 full days followed by rest day and then finsh with 2 more full days before flying back late evening. I find that if I go beyond 3 days in a row climbing I'm on to diminishing returns so still find I get more out of a week trip if it includes a rest day. Usually spend the rest day having lie in / relaxed breakfast followed by checking out new crags and maybe a couple of very easy routes as active rest.

Skyfall - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to mkean:

More seriously, I try to train stamina running up to a week's sport climbing. As you say, a lot of bouldering and a bit of messing about with ropies ;) won't prepare you for time working out the sequences on a long 30m+ pitch. It's probably a fault of my approach to climbing but I rarely find myself shut down technically on a sports route; it's generally the sustained nature of the climbing which does for me eventually.
Jon Stewart - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to mkean:

I think just making sure you're in good shape is enough, if you want to have an enjoyable trip and do some good routes. If you're a bit more 'serious' i.e. having specific goals, you'd need to tailor your training to them (but that doesn't sound like a holiday to me "If I don't get my 7c redpoint project from last year it will be a wasted trip and I'll be depressed").

I guess you're sport climbing, so do lots of routes indoors, maybe mixing up sessions of stamina (e.g. 20 or 30 routes in blocks of 6/7) with some redpointing for PE. Building up a tiny bit more finger strength probably isn't time well spent (unless it's a really critical weakness I guess) so maybe replace some of the bouldering for more time with a rope on. But a bit of fingery bouldering now and then will keep your fingers strong.

As long as you're fit and enthusiastic and the routes are good you'll have a great time. Everywhere has different styles and its own take on the grading system so I think grade obsession is pretty unhelpful when going somewhere new. It could lead you to spending all week trying to redpoint the shittest route in the area just because it's a soft touch (aka completely wasting your time).

Look through the guides, get inspired, and make sure you're pretty fit - job done.
Robert Durran - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to mkean:

It's a climbing trip, not a holiday. Have the correct attitude is a good start.
Jon Stewart - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
> (In reply to mkean)
>
> It's a climbing trip, not a holiday. Have the correct attitude is a good start.

Tongue in cheek? Correct attitude for what?
iccy - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:

Climbing trips are different to climbing holidays.

Personally I'm a big fan of the holiday. This involves beers in the evening, sleeping in the morning and climbing the things I want to climb. Read the guide book, know your areas and pick things that you'll enjoy.

A climbing trip is much more focussed - less beer, early starts, specific/hard projects, days redpointing etc.

It all depends what oyu want to get out of it. Generally I boulder more that I climb with ropes, so in the run up to either a holiday or a trip I switch back to build more stamina, but usually only for a few weeks either before.
mkean - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to Robert Durran:
It's a climbing trip, not a holiday. Have the correct attitude is a good start.

This is definitely a climbing holiday; climbing trips involve tents in unsuitable weathers, holidays involve sun and a comfy bed. :-)

The volume of climbing is pretty similar though.
Nick Russell on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to Ian Patterson:
> (In reply to mkean)
> [...]
> I find that if I go beyond 3 days in a row climbing I'm on to diminishing returns so still find I get more out of a week trip if it includes a rest day.

I agree with this. In terms of preparation, just switch one of your bouldering sessions for roped climbing and you'll be fine.
shark - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to mkean:

Interval training.

For most probably doing laps leading on a climbing wall is best. Or better still a crag. Search 4x4's.

For experienced climbers who also don't have head problems then laps on a bouldering wall / systems board or woodie are just as good and in some ways better.
Robert Durran - on 10 Jan 2013
In reply to mkean:
> (In reply to Robert Durran)
> This is definitely a climbing holiday; climbing trips involve tents in unsuitable weathers, holidays involve sun and a comfy bed. :-)

Apologies. The emphasis on performane in your OP led me to assume it was really a climbing trip and I didn't think a holiday attitude was appropriate to optimisation of performance.
Siderunner - on 13 Jan 2013
I tend to try and up the training volume about 4-5 weeks before a sport-climbing trip. I also try and red-point once a week to get my lead head together for that. Overall I find this base usually gives me enough to do 8-10 pitches a day with 3-4 of these hard burns.

To give you some more specific ideas, I mix up the following 3 stamina sessions on rope, aiming for at least 2 of these per week:

1. Roped laps, usually 3 sets of 4 laps is all I can do, with 30 - 90s between each lap and then about 10-15 mins off before the next set. I aim for decent quality here: routes at my o.s. grade (6b - 6b+) that I have to climb neatly to get up; ideally they are sustained rather than cruxy and the holds are smallish not massive jugs, reflecting what I find at most sport crags at my grade. This is a widely quoted method in training books and articles.

2. Descending pyramids. Roughly the same idea but with no rest and starting harder and getting easier as the pump sets in. I might do 6b, 6a+,6a, 5+. Doing this I can afford to get more pumped cos I can still keep going as the grades get easier.

3. UDU = up-down-up. This is designed to replicate a typical sport route in length and time, since 3 x 12m is about the 30m you need in Spain. Typically I will aim for two decent ups (o.s. grade or -1, 6b/+ for me) and an easy-ish down (5 or 5+). In my mind this replicates a long route with a hardish start, a recovery opportunity on some juggy climbing, and a tough finish. I try to do 6-10 of these in an evening, time and partner willing.
Siderunner - on 13 Jan 2013
A very gentle last week before leaving always seems wise too, one or two easy sessions only, giving overuse symptoms a chance to back off a bit.

I also try to eat healthily ahead of the inevitable pigging out on holiday!
nasher47 on 16 Jan 2013
In reply to Siderunner:

Second this.

It's really important to take at least 1 easy week right before your trip. I'm just back from having ticked my hardest problem in font ever (properly chuffed!) and I think it was partly due to the fact that I had rested properly before the trip.

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