We’re back following Kate Dean’s Lite Plan Journey as she completes the ninth week of her plan. In this article, Kate talks about having to put a larger emphasis on sleep and nutrition, improved results in testing, and getting psyched for climbing outside.

I’m just finishing the 9th week of my training plan. This past week has involved some re-testing and some much-needed rest from the high volume of workouts I’ve been doing over the last couple of months. The re-testing week has marked a shift in the focus of my plan from endurance to power endurance and I’m really enjoying trying new things and doing some strength workouts. Weeks 6 and 7 were my busiest so far, and I’ve been feeling fairly fatigued as a result – I have a newfound respect for the pros who are doing this week after week!

Nutrition & Recovery

Since I last updated you, I’ve learnt a lot about how to care for my body while following a training plan. When I was sent the plan, Lattice highlighted the importance of good nutrition and sleep when increasing the amount of exercise you’re doing. I can’t agree with this enough! I wasn’t prepared for how tired my body would feel as a result of increasing my volume of training this much. I’m pretty used to getting about 7-8 hours of sleep a night, but recently I need 8 hours minimum. Since increasing my sleep, focusing on improving the protein content of my diet and upping my daily calorie intake, I’ve found that I can recover from training sessions quicker and I am performing better too. In an ideal world, this good behaviour would have started from week 1 – if not before – but I’ll know for next time. Another thing I would advise female athletes is to, if you can, avoid having your highest volume training weeks when you’re on your period – it’s something I will definitely consider in the future!

Testing Improvements

The 8th week of my plan involved retesting my finger and shoulder strength. Before being given your Lite Plan, you’ll be asked to complete a series of tests so the coaches can find your strengths and weaknesses to personalise your plan. When I did these, I discovered my finger strength was quite poor, as was my upper body strength, so I was hopeful that I could make improvements in these areas. The strength testing involves finding the maximum weight you can add to your bodyweight and still be able to complete two successive pull-ups. I didn’t expect this to improve much, as I feel that I’ve been mostly focusing on my fingers and endurance. I guess the Lattice team know what they’re doing though, because quite unexpectedly, I was able to add two extra kilos this time around. Similarly, the maximum weight I could add to my bodyweight when doing a deadhang on the small Lattice rung also improved by two kilos. I’m not sure what is technically a good improvement in these tests, but as my scores were fairly low these gains are pretty substantial and I was really happy with the outcome!

Getting Outside

My outdoor climbing frequency has improved a lot since last time I wrote. Living in Sheffield means I’m lucky enough to be able to go outdoors as much as I want. I’m really enjoying Peak Lime sport. I wish I could say that I’ve climbed 7c with ease, but this isn’t the case yet. I’ve got involved in a couple of projects at Moat Buttress and I’m loving feeling closer to sending harder routes on this type of rock than I ever have! I haven’t found a project I can see myself dedicating the season to yet – I’m just so psyched, I want to try everything! Individual moves feel a lot easier than last summer, particularly on those tiny crimps. I have also found that, due to being generally fatigued, I’m starting outdoor sessions feeling tired and am consequently powering out early on the steep routes. However I’m confident that after I complete my plan and can come to routes fresh, the training will come into its own and I’ll be able to push myself way harder.

Bouldering Surprises

A nice surprise has been seeing my bouldering improve a lot. I’ve always considered myself a sport climber primarily, but I love bouldering too and have found my finger and shoulder strength to be a limiting factor. Although my plan has been directed towards sport climbing and improving my endurance, I have also been working on basic conditioning for my shoulder stability and doing a lot of compression, core and pull-up workouts, along with one or two finger-board sessions a week. This has made me way better at bouldering, almost accidentally! I’ve really enjoyed being able to quickly tick problems that felt impossible last year, and I can’t wait for this to translate to longer routes too. Having been in a bit of a rut with bouldering, this improvement has reignited my enthusiasm.

Overall, the past month has been great and I’m still enjoying training and being able to fit in some time on rock. I’m excited to see how I find the new set of exercises that I’ve been given for the next few weeks!

Keep following Kate’s journey on the Lite Plan over the coming weeks to see how she gets on. You can also follow her Instagram for more frequent updates!