Seven weeks into the road to Yosemite, parts of the training regiment have become routine, others are harder to follow. For instance, one day on, two days off has become routine and easy to plan our lives around in advance. The supplemental exercises are also routine. Don’t take that to mean they are extremely easy, they are still tough  as I just increase reps or resistance or whatever to continue to make them challenging. 

Each new phase is a learning process (at least until I go through a couple cycles) and throws off the routine a bit. With hangboarding, it was critical to keep a log of each grip, set, resistance, etc. to track progress. When moving into the power phase, it can be more difficult to track “limit boulder problems” especially when there are 9 commercial gyms (plus my own home wall) in under 30 minutes from my house. All have their own system of rating problems – V-grades, “intermediate, advanced, elite,” even spots. There’s also outside limit bouldering to throw in the mix, which should be the most stable grade to measure on, but there’s about 12 inches of snow outside right now, so that’s out. 

What I can quantify is the campus board. Last blog talked all about how I learned how to use it. I went to a brand new gym in Denver. The board looked extremely steep, but I figured I didn’t really know since I was new to campusing and since it was a brand new gym, the board must meet the standard angle. Wrong. Enter the nerd part: measuring each gym’s campus board angle by hand. The Andersons would be proud. The gym I started at was 10 degrees steeper than the “standard” angle. This made a HUGE difference when I went to another gym this week to campus and their board was the “standard” angle. The rungs and rung spacing were the same – the Metolius wooden rungs, but the angle difference was crazy and shows why it’s so important to mark and record what seems like even the most minute detail in a workout. One would assume I became obscenely strong from one workout to the next, almost overnight, if looking at just my logbook for each campus set. The first time I struggled with the technique, sure, but I hardly did the prescribed workout. The second time? I cruised the “beginner campus workout” in the Rock Climber’s Training Manual and even added more sets of even greater difficulty at the end. It was familiarity with the board, learning the technique, and the different angle. 

There’s probably nothing wrong with the steep board; it’s just more difficult than the standard one, which can be great for elite athletes needing an extra challenge. The real lesson is to realize I am training, not hanging out and just doing some boulder problems at the gym with friends. There’s a different goal than that, one that requires some continuity between workouts (such as using the same campus board each time). So for the rest of the power phase, I’ll stick to just one of the 9 gyms. I’ll use the same campus board for each of the remaining campus workouts and will do my best to quantify my limit problems in relation to other problems like it in that gym, set by the same route setters each time. It’s important to have fun training, but it’s also important to track progress and be able to look back on it with fidelity between workouts, cycles, and even seasons. Next campus board session? Upping the whole program to the more difficult recommended program. I can see how you’re only limited by your creativity with the board once you realize how to fully utilize it, but I’m not experienced enough to go rogue with the program. That’s next cycle…

Most people reading this aren’t fortunate to have the same problem of which of the nine gyms near them should they choose for each workout, but it’s something to think about as you move forward in your own training program. Nerd out, record as much data as possible, and constantly reflect and analyze it to improve your program.