Training and coaching, an intro

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The amount of information that has appeared on Instagram and Youtube about training, and, you guessed it, training at home, over the last month or so is fantastic. The number of people sticking up pictures of home built walls, home gyms, turbo sessions is inspiring. There’s a whole lot of psych out there.
We don’t want to chuck cold water on that psych – but just encourage people to channel the psych in a smart way. Really, this post is a shout out to you coaches. We’d love your comments and thoughts on it if you’ve got any.
Everyone’s training will look different, and it should. But the themes are the same. Gradual progression, modulation and sufficient recovery to absorb the training load. (if your coach treats you like a robot, find another one!)
How much of what to apply when is where the artistry of great coaching comes in, because everyone is different. You can’t do a controlled science experiment on it. And self administering a plan, is really tricky.
If you’re female you might well find a training programme should be influenced by your monthly cycle too. Some women find that at some point in their luteal phase, energy levels drop a bit, psych changes or balance isn’t as easy. Plus you may need some extra calories during that period. It is different for every woman – and requires a high degree of trust between athlete and coach.
Some climbing specifics
Neil Gresham's videos about bouldering, training for trad, and sports climbing all share common elements, but are different, as the objectives are. Steve McClure’s series about training for older athletes contains much wisdom. Training at 45, or 55, just isn’t the same as when you were 25.
Buster Martin's posts about science based hangboard training provides some solid exercises which have been proven to work in certain cohorts (we’ve not read the full papers) – but importantly isn’t prescriptive about how much weight you use, how many sessions you do, or how many days off you’ll need afterwards etc. Buster spent years under the watchful eye of Rob, aka Scott Fear, building a massive load of experience to launch into the next phase of his climbing progression.
Why is that important? Because what you do when will depend on you, your situation, your training history and a whole lot of other stuff too.
This is where the alchemy of coaching art meets the science. Everyone’s goals, training history and situation are different. Just look at how many of his own niggles Robin O'Leary is addressing in his posts to keep himself able to train effectively. Likewise Louis Parkinson, aka Captain Cutloose has done a series of videos full of ideas about how to train with minimal equipment. Some folk are lucky enough to have a home board, most of us are not.
Shauna Coxsey's YouTube Channel is a source of inspiration, and great exercises, but let’s not kid ourselves that just by watching that, we can train JUST like Shauna. We might be able to do the same exercises, maybe even keep up for half a day, but then most of us would probably need a week off or a trip to A&E. She’s building on decades of training. As one honest comment says of her fingerboard warm up video - "This is basically like a whole workout for me" - we're all at different stages training for different things. Even Shauna thinks Will Bosi's mono’s are disgusting 😉
And what about if you’re not solely focussed on climbing, and want to run ultramarathons, for example. Well the training is going to be TOTALLY different again. Speak to Scotty Hawker. It’s not just about training your heart, and lungs, and legs, but your guts too, as he discussed with Steph Gaskell of Nutrition Strategies the other night.
And the last shall be first – the final shout out in this post goes to Uphill Athlete– If you’re trying to be just that, and all round uphill athlete, be it a climber,  a mountaineer or a skim racer etc, and need to incorporate the aerobic fitness of an ultra runner, and the climbing skills of, well, a climber, don’t just get a programme for each and do them both – you’ll end up collapsed in a heap injured, or overtrained or probably both. Speak to these guys – they are the only folk we’ve found who can achieve the impossible of successfully combining the two.


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