It is a delicate balance to fit in the training for both running and rock climbing whilst also allowing my body to rest and recover. However, both sports are great for cross-training purposes as they focus on different muscle groups. And let’s be honest, I enjoy them both so much I’m not willing to give up either!
To train I work on a number of facets including technique (in both running and climbing), strength, nutrition and mental preparation. In this article, I will focus on my physical training schedule, which is how often I train for each discipline and the specific type of training in each session. My schedule may appear a bit overwhelming and daunting to some. The truth is I enjoy sport and being extremely active, so to me this is normal. I would even do more if my body would allow.
My training obviously varies each week depending on which event I am training for. A standard training week includes 11 or 12 sessions.
My Standard Training Week
When designing my training programme and the individual sessions for each week, I take into account the following:
1. Having a goal
Whenever I can the programme is built around a specific sporting goal, my next A race or challenge. I determine the type of workouts in each discipline I believe I need to succeed. However, I don’t just focus on the end goal but also on the process to get there. I concentrate on the steps I need to take to improve each day, as opposed to only focusing on the end goal itself. Each session has its own goal and needs to be a success in itself.
2. The power systems my body uses:
- the anaerobic system used for short efforts, which means speed/sprints for running, power/strength training for climbing
- the aerobic system to power steady state exercise of continuous duration of longer than 3-to-4 minutes (e.g. tempo runs, long runs, power endurance for climbing) .
Both these systems are important and need to be trained to increase my anaerobic and aerobic capacity. I make sure I work on both systems each week across the disciplines to improve my athletic performance.
3. Recovery weeks
I train in blocs of 3-4 weeks of high intensity and then have a (slightly) less demanding recovery week. The aim is to avoid overtraining and prevent injuries. My body needs time to repair and rebuild itself in order to meet the demands of my next training block. On the recovery weeks, I don’t completely stop training. Instead, I reduce the volume and/or intensity of my training.
4. My body and how I feel