24 October 2009
Nicholas asks about incorporating annual rest periods into your climbing year to stay injury free and healthy. Is it a good thing to do?
The short answer is yes. Of course it’s not possible to handle uninterrupted hard work of the same type indefinitely, and if you don’t give that particular energy system/muscle group a rest every so often, it will force it on you through injury or stagnation sooner or later.
But the mistake is to feel you need to rest the entire body or do something completely different to achieve the rest and recuperative period needed. Normally, doing some sport climbing if you’ve bouldered for months, or so ice climbing if you’ve been clipping bolts all season is change enough for the body. There’s very very few people out there working themselves hard enough in every area to need to rest entirely, or to need something outside of climbing to keep them active during this recuperative period. For almost all of us, regular work and life ‘stuff’ gets in the way enough during the year to give us more than enough periodic rests. If you feel worn down at the end of a season, it’s more likely due to the monotony of your sporting regime than the sheer volume of it. So, instead of hitting the couch, or pounding the pavements for a few weeks, try just mixing up the climbing a bit first.
Go to a different climbing wall than normal for a few weeks. Or even just climb on a board/wall you normally avoid.
Climb some slabs
Climb some trad
Climb some psicobloc/DWS
Do some ice climbing
Go on a trip into the mountains
Leave the guidebook (or maybe even the equipment) at home and go climbing by instict for a while, without the need for hard routes, just discovery and enjoying the place you’re in.
Hook up with a new climbing partner with a very different style to you.
Completely re-shuffle the days in the week/session lengths/ venues and activities you do in the week. Do the opposite.
If you still don’t feel refreshed all of that I’ll eat my hat and then suggest doing something good that climbing is always getting in the way of - like lying on a beach for two weeks with your other half, or refurbishing your bathroom.