I needed a bit of down time from running in November, after a punishing August and a busy race schedule in September. I wasn’t feeling the pep in my legs and didn’t want to push it. Consequently, I spent most of the month training in my local climbing gym instead.
Generally, I periodize my climbing and weight training according to the popular 4-3-2-1 weekly rotation popularized by Eric Horst. The four weeks of stamina training in the gym were a nice substitute for running mileage. I’m not sure I raised my aerobic threshold that much during the four weeks, but the training was fun nonetheless. The setters at Stone Age have been consistently putting up some fun and challenging overhanging roof routes. There always seems to be one or two that I can use as lap routes, one or two right on the edge of my on-sight ability and one or two that I can project. The problem is just that those type of routes always seem to be everyone else’s favorites too!
November was also a great month of weight training for me. I’ve been working to standardize my lifting in order to gauge my progress, and I feel like I’ve finally found a decent way to do so. I’ve been combining climbing-specific pull exercises (off-set pull-ups, weighted pull-ups, etc) with antagonist muscle exercises (push-ups, military presses, etc) into supersets with two minute breaks in between sets. This has worked out really well during my “stamina/endurance” phase and I’ve seen some definite progress in this four weeks. That’s where the payoff from meticulous training logs really becomes apparent.
Hopefully, this type of systematic core and upper-body strength training will help my ultra-running this season too. I’ve experienced upper body/back soreness in the past, caused by carrying a hydration pack and/or hand-held running bottles. Doing some rough calculations, I think I put on around 3-5 pounds of muscle mass in the last two months though. Now it just remains to be seen whether or not I immediately lose that upon restarting 30-40+ mile running weeks in December.