Having just done the HB6 session this morning of my winter season, I've found myself going down the rabbit hole again after not completing several sets.
I'm beginning to wonder if I'm taking the wrong approach. Instead of obsessing about my skin maybe being too slick, what speed (or if) to turn my fan on, how well I'm warmed up, if I'm too warmed up, and most importantly getting off track to set a new PB by the end of the strength phase, perhaps I should accept the set as is with a healthy dose of humility and move on.
For the last several strength phases, I've pushed the weight up for the next session whether I completed the sets or not. Maybe that's not helping and I should go back to the original Rock Prodigy plan of advancing weight only if the sets were all completed.
This would definitely be a threat to my ego, essentially admitting I'm not as strong as i want to be right now, but is it a threat or a benefit physically (to advancement)?
Thus far, every time I've applied a healthy dose of humility to my training/performance, it has been beneficial.
I was guilty of that for a long time. I feel like it's easy to want to push the weight up just for the sake of seeing progress when you are getting into the last rep but still failing early. I feel like every time I did it, the next session I would fail miserably on the new weight and then find myself flailing for several workouts after that. Then I would get reasonably close to being able to hang the new weight, but get frustrated and bump the weight up again. Meanwhile, I could have just waited, kept getting more time under tension at a slightly lower weight and actually gaining some strength.
I'm pretty sure that gains from increasing weight early still happen, but not as efficiently or as quickly as when you can complete the previous weight. With repeaters, I don't really see this happen nearly as bad as when I was doing max hangs though. When I did those, I would throw an extra five pounds almost every session. That ended with me hurting myself going for the arbitrary goal of +100 pounds when I probably should have been hanging 75 or 80. I backtracked and switched to repeaters, probably more to protect my ego when the weights went down, but also to prevent it from happening again. I'm pretty strict with myself about bumping weights up now, and I think my newfound conservative approach has worked so far.
I think it's mostly just the confidence that I'm not setting myself up for injury. The last time I had to essentially reset from a bad injury was in 2016, so it's been about a year and a half (4 seasons) since then that I've managed to plod along. Before, I would push it really hard really fast, telling myself that I was stronger than I really was, which resulted in really strong musculature without the necessary support structure to avoid injury, think for a week or two that I was a V10 climber, then I would blow a finger and take off 2-4 months depending on how bad it was. It sucked, and I thought it was just me hitting my physiologic upper limit.
Starting over, switching hangboard protocols allowed me to avoid the demotivation of reduced weight, but then when I started doing limit bouldering the first sessions I felt weaker than in past max hang seasons. But, unlike in those seasons, I managed to finish my power phase without injury, so I thought I was probably doing something better than I used to. The next season I climbed a little harder, still didn't feel like I was at a lifetime peak, but by the third season I was doing problems that were at the same difficulty as my hardest season with max hangs. The bonus was I didn't get hurt doing them (a first).
I'm just now finishing up season 4 since the switch and I am still getting better without feeling any tweakiness. I have no real way of measuring other than my own benchmark problems, since i live in the flatlands and it seems like everytime I have a break from school I get rained out, but hopefully when I finally finish this soul crushing miserable journey towards a medical career and start working I will be able to travel more and do something with the pickle jar opening machines I invented along the way.
I'm working towards becoming a PA (Finishing up a BS in cell bio and just got accepted to PA school for August). I started later in life and didn't want to have to keep moving for school, residency, etc. into my 40s, so I went with a (slightly) shorter route. I think I'm just grumpy because I have a final in a Neuro class today. Overall it hasn't been too bad yet. You are an MD, right? I'm sure I don't have it nearly as bad as what you had to go through. What did you specialize in? My hope is to eventually end up in rural EM or CC, but could also see doing a rural FM / jack of all trades job. Luckily the decision isn't so final with PA.
I play a doctor on TV, but don't tell anyone. I'm family medicine trained, with a (personal) interest in wilderness medicine. My primary work now is urgent care, so I see a little bit of everything ranging from routine to life threatening (or dead, which fortunately doesn't happen nearly as often as in the ED).
I started climbing when I was in school. Essentially, I had a major life changing/life threatening event right before my second year started. It gave me a new perspective on just how precious life is and helped re-orient my priorities. Climbing helped fill a personal need to allow me to cope with the stresses of school.
It's easy to get/feel/become bitter and grumpy in the medical field. The entire medical field, whether you're a doctor, PA, RN, MA, or the person who helps transport people between hospital rooms, is stressed beyond its limits. There simply isn't enough help to go around. The "system" is demanding more of it's providers, as is society, while at the same time allowing them less and less to work with. Be sure you take care of your health, make it through school, then get a job that allows you to live a healthy life. You don't have to save the world, but you can save a person every day, even if you're working part time.
I've been really thankful for climbing as a way to deal with the stress. It's another reason I try so hard to stay injury free. When I got hurt the last time I ended up going 100% all in on school nonstop and I don't think it was very healthy.
Luckily, my slow road to fitness seems to be working as I just managed to lead the hardest route of my life (sadly it was indoors). Since I made the switch from training for bouldering to training for sport / trad, I'm finding out how to hang on when I'm pumped and still get the job done, which was always a big weakness of mine. If there were hard or even sort of hard moves towards the end of a climb I used to have zero chance, but that appears to finally be changing. My endurance still isn't where I would like it, but it has definitely made a lot of progress from where I used to be.
I'm excited to finally be done with undergrad and getting to focus on actually learning medicine, I think it was something I wanted to do a long time ago but had trouble believing in myself after doing very poorly in high school. Getting accepted into PA school was such a draining process, but I'm thankful that they see me as worth their time. Luckily the school I got into is in a town with a real climbing gym, compared to where I've been for the last couple years (think REI tower type wellness center wall, thank god I have a home wall).
If it makes you feel any better, when I left home for college, my mother thought I would flunk out. She didn't tell me this until after I had graduated though.
With regards to school, I believe you can train hard and progress well through school if you make it a priority. For me, I believe it would be harder, because I rely so heavily on my barn to get my training done, but I believe it would be doable. I also believe you can train hard and progress while working a regular job. It gets more challenging when you have those things and a family to take care of, though the family can be a help to you as well.
Mike has some good blog posts on his training while he was in Afghanistan. If you haven't checked those out, I think it would be worth reading. I never train in a gym.
It will definitely be an adjustment to not be able to set my own problems once I switch from the home wall to the gym, but I'm hopeful. At least they have a moon board for working limit boulders. Having to give up the home wall is going to be the hardest part, but I'm sure it will work out. When I first started brainstorming how to train while doing clinical rotations in rural sites, I read all of Mike's posts about Afghanistan to bolster my confidence. I don't know if I would have the patience to do an ARC workout on a hangboard though...
I've always liked this quote from Dan John, in the end, punch the clock and do the thing, hard works pays off:
“In a group of five workouts, I tend to have one great workout, the kind of workout that makes me think in just a few weeks I could be an Olympic champion, plus maybe Mr. Olympia. Then, I have one workout that’s so awful the mere fact I continue to exist as a somewhat higher form of life is a miracle. Finally, the other three workouts are the punch-the-clock workouts: I go in, work out, and walk out. Most people experience this.” ― Dan John, Never Let Go: A Philosophy of Lifting, Living and Learning