In this blog series, we’ve asked each of our six coaches about the top five lessons they have learned about training. First up in the series is Maddy Cope, who is a fairly recent addition to our coaching team, bringing a wealth of experience in trad (Prinzip Hoffnung, E9, Austria), big-walling (Freerider, 5.12d, El Cap) and sport climbing (Mind Control, 8c, Oliana). While training herself, Maddy is a committed coach who can use her own experiences of training to support her clients. Read on to hear what Maddy recommends about training!
“When I train, I am often looking to work on my weaknesses.“
1. Motivation is key
When I train, I am often looking to work on my weaknesses. I find it a really satisfying process, but it requires me to try hard. There are numerous ways of working the same thing so it is good to experiment – I have found I give my best efforts when I am having fun! It is very much personal preference, so it is always interesting to see what sessions my clients enjoy as they are often different to mine. I also like to mix sessions I enjoy with those I enjoy less so that I have fun every training day, or make sure I employ a training partner or music for psyche!
2. Quality not quantity
I am definitely guilty of getting sucked into an exercise when I should be finishing or moving on. I often try and complete one more problem, hang, or set. I like trying hard, so enjoy training to failure, but I have learnt that this isn’t always best. Trying hard and being happy to push to failure are really important components of training, but that doesn’t need to be applied to every single exercise. I am the sort of person who could easily spend 3 hours on a board, and forget that I’m meant to be doing moves near my limit… so that ship will have long since sailed! I have learned over time to have more respect for the desired outcome of an exercise and be more patient. I realised that completing sub-maximal or poor quality reps or sets doesn’t help, it generally just means I don’t recover quick enough or pick up niggling injuries.
“Being too rigid in sticking to a plan can be a mistake.”
3. Be flexible
Having a plan is important so that you can schedule and make sure you are covering everything you need, but being too rigid in sticking to it can be a mistake. I am not a regimented person when it comes to training and have learnt to be ok with that and work my training around this rather than force myself to stick to a routine. When I have forced myself to complete sessions in order to stick to a plan – even when I am too tired or not feeling motivated – it has mostly led to poor sessions and feeling deflated. I try to keep an open mind each session and use my intuition with how I feel.
4. When you’re training, you’re not sending
When I am trying to train strength by trying hard boulder problems, I always used to find myself spending lots of time trying to work out beta to make the moves easier just so that I could do the problem, almost as if I was outside on a project. I have to remind myself that I am trying to get stronger, not do the boulder problem, so that I persevere with powerful moves rather than heel hooking my way around them. I enjoy working out sequences, so default to this and have to actively remind myself to stick at hard moves. This shift in focus is also good for mindset because you become less focused on ‘ticking’.
5. Get Creative
If I am training, I usually have a project outside in mind and generally have an idea of the style or certain moves I find hard. Training is a reasonably set process, so it is nice to bring some creativity into it and setting moves that are similar in style to a project or that work weaknesses is a great way to do this. I try not to get sucked into completing replicas, but incorporate similar moves into long boulders or hard boulders. I have found it good to keep mixing it up in terms of moves, the changing stimulus feels like it keeps my brain guessing in terms of learning movements.
Keep up to date with the Lattice blog for upcoming features from the rest of our coaches. Check out our Training Plans if you’d like to start your own plan with the Lattice team!