Tracking Your Climbing and Training

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My apologies for going for so long without a post! I actually have several posts ready to go that I need to get up as soon as possible.

After reading Brendon’s update I was thinking about how important it is to keep track of our training. Keeping a journal being an essential part of this process. But writing everything down in the first place is just the start of the process. The learning happens when we review the contents of our journals and assess the volume, difficulty and quality of the climbing that we have done in the past weeks, month, quarter, or year.

So with that in mind, I went over my climbing journal for the end of 2011 and did an analysis that you can see here:  Climbing_review Sheet1

After have not climbed for most of 2011 I got motivated in November and started climbing on a regular basis. As you might imagine, with about a year’s worth of no real climbing my starting point was pretty low. In addition, I didn’t really create a plan in advance, I just wanted to work hard and have fun using the kind of workouts best suited to the gym I climb at. In this case, I had not done interval training in a very long time so I thought it would be fun to do bouldering circuits. Of course its not the best idea to do bouldering circuits off the couch so I started at a low level and didn’t push myself to the limit in any given workout.

What I like about breaking the numbers down as shown in the link above  is being able to see the over all change in volume in climbing as well as each grade as a percentage of completed problems.  Even without a training schedule I find this very helpful; it makes it easy to see if progress is being made, and it makes planning for the coming weeks pretty easy.

So, if you are not keeping a climbing journal please do so!  And if your are keeping a journal, don’t forget to do your reviews!



2 Responses to “Tracking Your Climbing and Training”

  1. Geoff BrennanNo Gravatar says:

    Great post! Although as a regular climber for going on 6 years, I’m not sure I’d be able to see such dramatic trends, it is wonderful to be able to have an idea of what’s working with training, what’s not. And how ones different routines, doing Enduro, or Stimina, or just bouldering session lead towards different performances.
    I have attempted to record data on my training in the past, but have kind of stopped due to lack of coherence in the data. By which I mean, I find I want to record more than just the v grade of boulders. For example, the venue can change between different climbing gyms and outdoor crags. Or the walls in the gym have very different angles, so how to categorize a cave session working v4s that feels harder than a overhung wall session working v6s? But then once I’ve recorded all of that suddenly its impossible to compare the data. Any suggestions? Am I just getting overly complex with it, and should try to be simple but consistent?

  2. DouglasNo Gravatar says:

    Geoff, You raise good points. The dramatic trend is pretty much a function of the fact that I am coming back up through grades I have climbed many times before. Someone’s fist climb up the bouldering ladder will be somewhat slower.

    The additional information you are talking about is valuable, and to be honest a lot of that information about steepness, venue, and the character of climbs is actually present in my hand written journal, but I left it out of the statistical analysis that I presented here, as I just wanted to look at the broad trends.

    I suppose that it would not have been difficult to include one or possible two more levels of refinement, these being location of the climbs, and the steepness of the climbs. I think that would be doable. But as you point out too much complexity can make keeping track a difficult task. I guess that is why I use the system that I do. The hand written journal comes to the gym with me and I record everything that strikes me as important in it. When I do that analysis in a spreadsheet I am just crunching numbers. I think that gives me a pretty complete understanding of my climbing while being an easy to use system.

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