Female Climber Series: Syncing Training, Climbing and Menstrual Cycles
One of the changes that people find most positive (alongside tracking) is alining deload weeks with the phase where higher training volumes and/or intensities feel less accessible or enjoyable.
This varies between people, but is often the late luteal or menstruation phase. A deload week is a time of reduced training (this could be volume and/or intensity) so that we feel fully recovered & motivated to start another training cycle.
As we know, not every cycle is the same and so what training or climbing we feel is possible in our deload week may also change. When it comes to our cycles being flexible is key to optimising training, climbing and our experience of both!
1- Be Flexible During Deload Weeks
By changing the focus or a session or the session itself! This is not “failing” or going “off plan”, but an important part of listening to our bodies.
2- Change The Focus Or Intention
For a session. Deload weeks do not mean “doing nothing” & lots of climbers still keep up some harder sessions, but if the intensty doesn’t feel accessible when you start the session you could still complete it but simply changing the focus. For example, you might still have 1 board session but if you feel a bit sluggish after warming up then drop the grade and focus on climbing pace or body tension. With conditioning sessions we could drop the load and try some visualisation alongside the movements instead!
3 – Think of Alternate Sessions
This allows us to check in with how we feel on any given day and choose the sessions that feel most accessible or motivating. We can either have a climbing session and alternate conditioning session, or different types of climbing session.
Something I find useful is to schedule a bouldering session with an alternate weights session as I find weights quick to do and simpler movement wise (for when my coordination and muscle synchronisation seems to have gone awry!) and a bouldering session with an alternate lower angle boulders-on-the-minute session (for when I am motivated to climb but don’t feel like trying as hard!).