30 April 2008

How much training can you handle?

Something that people ask constantly is how much training should I do? How often can I climb? Of course the main worry in the back of folk’s minds is injury. It’s a constant trade off between training hard enough to make an overload and giving your body too much to recover from between sessions and descending to the point of chronic tissue damage.

The answer is of course ‘it depends’. It depends on how much your body is ready for the training. The more years of training you have behind you, the more you can deal with. Ultimately, the only person who can decide whether you are training too much of little I you. Fortunately, your body is constantly giving you messages informing you of whether this is happening or not. Lets look at a few of them:

‘I am not getting stronger/fitter’ – This message means you are not training the attributes you wish to target hard enough.

‘I really have to force myself to do each session and I’m feeling tired, sore and unable to maintain a similar level of performance to previous sessions. – This message means you are doing more than your body can recover from. But before blaming too much training, first ask yourself if it’s the quality of your recovery that is actually to blame – too little sleep, too much additional life stress, poor diet, too much alcohol etc…

To start answering the question of ‘how much should I train?’, a good place to start is ‘try a bit more that you are used to’. Your body will tell you whether your choice is broadly correct or not. If its not enough training, you will stay at the same level. Too much and thing will hurt.

Another complicating factor that will confuse the messages coming your body (besides how well you take care of your body in recovery) is training choices you make. So if you train harder and harder than before and still nothing happens, you probably need to add some variety in the training.

Pulling on the same holds, on the same wall or crag week in, week out, for years is not training, it’s just going through the motions.

The bottom line is – listen to your body, if you really pay attention to it, it will give you almost all of the clues you need to choose the right workrate.


Anonymous said...

I think getting enough sleep and minimizing other sources of stress, both physical and mental, is really important. I am a surgery resident in Canada and was training 4/ week when I climbed two days in a row and then operated all night with no rest. I then developed tendonitis in my finger flexors and I attribute it in part to lack of sleep and the increased stress of operating through the night. Dave's point about looking at other areas of your life (sleep, work, diet) to see if they may be contributing to "over-training" and injury cannot be over-stated.

Thanks Dave, I love your website.


Vladislav said...

Hello Dave!
Your blog is very helpful. I translated some articles to Russian, I had sent a email before. And I have a question.

In some articles you said about good diet, what did you mean? Do you have some articles about good or bad meals?

Thanks for your work!