Is training for everything, training for nothing?

So I think I train pretty hard for someone who has a full time job. On average I do about 8 to 10 hours of training a week, granted not as much as an Olympic athlete who is around 20 hours a week but as I mentioned I do have a full time job.

Trail running helps with the cardio fitness.

Trail running helps with the cardio fitness.

I like to be fit and enjoy training with my wife across multiple sports. I run, cycle, weight training, yoga and occasionally get out on the surf board or jump in a kayak. However, my main sport/passion is climbing and mountaineering.

Bike riding helps with the cardio fitness and strength the legs.

Bike riding helps with the cardio fitness and strength the legs.

Now climbing and mountaineering are different sports. Pure rock climbing whether it be bouldering, sports climbing or trad climbing require huge amounts of upper body power and endurance (the balance of which does change within the disciplines), good flexibility, great core strength and it helps if you can keep your body weight low for power to weight ratio.

Mountaineering on the other hand requires more. It requires all of the same things as climbing plus strong legs for walking and slogging in. The ability to keep a lot of power and endurance in the bank for hours even days on end and a great cardio ability which allows you to maintain all of the things above.

Whenever I go to the climbing wall I always get a little disheartened as I have a lot of friends that can climb a lot harder than me, and I know that I am in most cases doing almost double the amount of training hours. However, these training hours are not just climbing and this is where the problem lies.

On average I do about 4 hours of climbing training a week, which depending on how I feel can be bouldering, pushing grades or simply endurance laps. The other 4 to 6 hours of training I do a week is running, weights or biking. My friends on the other hand may do up to 6 to 8 hours of climbing but then do nothing else.

Weight training is essential

When I started doing other forms of training I assumed that my climbing would actually improve as I was elevating my whole physical abilities and while my climbing endurance has increased my actually climbing ability has remained about the same.

On the other hand, my mountaineering ability has increased dramatically which makes sense. Sadly, unlike climbing where I have the ability to do it every night of the week if I choose I don’t live somewhere where this is possible, on top of that even if you did live somewhere like Chamonix you are subject to weather. In this case you have to try and work every component of mountaineering individually and then add it all together. Weights for the legs and arms for power endurance, running and cycling for cardio, big hill days of hiking or trail running to fuse the previous two then various forms of climbing and core yoga for climbing performance.

So while it is disheartening to be out climbed at the local wall or crag the overall fitness does mean that when I do get to the mountain’s I can go all out whilst friends that purely climb get left far behind.

I have also been very happy as I recently started an Uphill athlete alpine rock climbing training plan (https://www.uphillathlete.com/) written by Steve House which while is a bit more structured than what I have been doing basically confirmed that the way I had been training was correct for the goals that I want to achieve which all focus around big mountain routes.

What all the training is about. Gets you faster and higher and more makes it more enjoyable.

What all the training is about. Gets you faster and higher and more makes it more enjoyable.