What if I told the most important thing about bouldering was….not bouldering?
What if I told you that?
What if I came to your house in the middle of the night, broke in, started preparing a bowl of cereal with milk in your kitchen and then, when you came down, irate and holding a firearm, I told you, “Hear me, Grasshopper: The way to crushing V10 is to…not climb at all.”
Because this is exactly what I’ve learned ever since I “quit” my job just over two weeks ago. That if you want to crush, if you want to send gnarly blocs, if you want to mangle overhanging walls with tiny crimpy pseudo-holds, what you really need to do is train properly. And, as my new Czech friend Ales explained to me yesterday, thus sparking a sort of apostrophe (see: Hook) on my part, “Rest is an important part of training.”
I think the reason it resonated with me so much is because he employed the word “training.” I like the idea of training, because I like the idea of being an athlete. I’m an athlete. I’m a 36-year-old man-athlete. I have a low resting heart-rate. I’ve done long bike rides and walked across countries. I’ve played just about every sport there is. But now it’s time to start treating myself like an athlete. Eating properly. Training properly. Bouldering properly. Sending properly. RESTING PROPERLY.
Because yesterday I sent nothing at all.
Nothing new, at least.
Last week I climbed 6 OUT OF 7 DAYS, and it almost destroyed me. My shoulder began to fail. About half the knuckles on my hands started to fail. I was literally (figuratively) falling apart. I was not making progress. I was making reverse progress, and not in a good way (though actually totally in a good way because progress can NEVER be in reverse if you have the right attitude. Because what has all this REVERSE PROGRESS DONE? WHAT HAS IT DONE? It’s led me to this amazing realization that if I want to get stronger and send harder that I need to incorporate forced rest days into my training routine. There, I said it: training routine. There, I said it again: training routine. And one last time, I said it again: metacarpophalangeal).
So yeah, I don’t even really want to talk about yesterday’s sesh too much. Ales and I walked up to the clearcut boulders, he sent Cabin Stabbin’ V4 after a few tries. I couldn’t even get close. We walked up to Summer Solstice V3. He flashed it. I barely made progress at all. We went to Bricklayer V2 and I shit my pants at the bottom and didn’t even try it. We went to Midnight Lichen V4, which he flashed, I SORT OF made a tiny bit of progress on, and then he projected Stinkin’ Slopers V5 and eventually sent it in amazing fashion (one of those slopers on that boulder is built out of marshmallows and probably tastes like it. If you’ve been there you know which one I’m talking about).
So today is a FORCED REST DAY. I mean, not stagnation. Just not climbing. Plenty of other stuff.
Which reminds me: I need to go buy some mate…..