Why do you push your limit? Sometime’s it seems stupid, or you might not even be trying to purposefully do it. But often it is planned and a significant amount of thought and preparation go into the moment you decide to push your limit. But you will face many challenges as you navigate the process. So how can you set yourself up for success? I am a climber that has set a specific goal of climbing 5.13 this year which I have never done. I entered the year able to climb multiple 5.12a’s but knew that I what I was going to be at this level was not going to work, here is the journey I went on.
Step 1: Choose your goal, subgoals, and a timeline
In January every year my wife and I sit down at a table and set goals. To be clear, these aren’t New Year’s resolutions. I choose one over all goal and then make sub goals that will have a direct impact on the main goal. My main goal was to climb 5.13 this year.
To get to this point I knew I needed to fix a few things, my diet was the first, I had slipped off of the main plan my wife and I used so it was back to it. Subgoal #1: Eat paleo 80% of the time. Something to note here, I am not trying to sell paleo, I will however preach to pick a dietary plan and stick with it 80% of the time if it does limit what you are used to eating. As part of this goal I have also elected to only allot two alcoholic drinks per week. There was also the issue of dessert. So I have limited myself to only eating a small dessert if I have worked out that same day.
The second point I knew I needed to fix sas how often I was working out and how I was working out. Up to this point I was climbing, doing a bit of campus boarding and a bit of lifting that specifically complimented climbing. This was not going to do. Subgoal #2: Work out with a trainer with the specific goal of 5.13 at least four times per week(This includes climbing and . I have my degree in Exercise and Sport Science and have been a personal trainer for years but there is a point at which I need to own up to the fact that I don’t have the knowledge, at least initially, to get myself to that point. This is also keeping me accountable for working out and also gives an outside perspective on the progression that I will have. (Choosing the correct program to follow is also important but this is very subjective and needs to be personalized so I have chosen not to cover this. I will say that if you have a specific fitness goal you should be spending 80% of your time working on specific strengthening for that activity and 20% on generalized fitness)
The third point was to cross train specifically cardio since that is not highly focused on in climbing. Subgoal #3: Run four 10k’s and complete two mud/fun runs. These aren’t long enough distances that I will start to build specificity in running but it will make a difference in cardio needed while climbing and will allow for time with friends.
The last bit is setting a timeline. The subgoals should start as soon as possible. But the main goal is not obtainable yet. So setting the proper timeline takes into account many issues climbing season’s, short term goals, and proper times for rest and relaxation. I chose to be in shape and ready to work the 5.13 in Late September, early October which is the primary season for climbing in Central Oregon. Since I have set specific goals for working out I also want to set specific goals for climbing. I have added that by the 12th of August I want to climb all of the 5.12’s at French’s Dome (7). I also want to climb 2 5.12’s at Smith Rock prior to August 12th.
Step 2: Start, Change, Keep Going
Start your journey towards obtaining your goals. Start as soon as possible and build in a foundation that allows for change. You will need to take breaks, change your regimen, and at times just plain goof off. I started my main training in February of 2016. However it wasn’t until March that I really got in the groove. I started working a 5.12c at Smith Rock called Tsunami. It wasn’t until June I have finally built the needed strength and endurance needed to climb the route. This success set in motion the drive to keep pushing. It is now toward the end of July and I have climbed all but 2 of the 5.12’s at French’s and have gotten two twelves at Smith Rock. I choose subgoals that were highly applicable to my success. The routes at Smith Rock are specific to the style of climbing that I will be climbing. The style of climbing at French’s requires a high amount of endurance and strength, though they are short routes.
About every month my trainer and I add or change the type of training though we do keep a few consistent factors. We are always working grip, core and shoulder strength and stability. We will change how we work these over time making them harder or changing how we stress the muscle/muscle group. This should be something that you talk about with a trainer.
Keep going! You will face differing demons along this journey. You will give up hope, find it is not worth it, and many other demons that will tell you to give up. I had a coach when I was younger that wouldn’t lie to us, he often stated that you will doubt, give up, and try to move on. But if it really matters to you, you will fight. The other mantra I use is “It’s not how many times you fall, but how many times you get up.” Find what you need to get through your journey. This is one of many that you will fight through. But if it is worth it, keep fighting!
Step 3: Realize your true potential
What you will find is that you are stronger than you think you are. You will find that if you keep going you will find that you will overcome much more than expected. But know, no matter how much you overcome, the truth is that you will have much more to go. It doesn’t stop and you will face new demons that will come from unexpected places. One of the biggest issues you will find is that you are going through this for yourself and no one else. It is hard to bring others along on the full journey. They will see bits and pieces, but they will not know everything that has gone through you mind, the work you have put in everyday, or what you have given up to reach your goal. This will be the toughest part of the the whole journey, it feels very lonely. The the truth is that you wouldn’t be here without all those people around you. And ultimately you are successful because of your effort and the effort of those around you. Be thankful and appreciate those that have helped you.
Though it sounds kind of childish a good idea is to keep a journal to track your journey. You can look back to see what challenged you and what was easy, was worked and what didn’t, what changes you made and what changes you should have made. This isn’t a one time gig, you can take the information you learn from one goal and apply it to the rest. I have used this structure for climbing, finding a new job (a trainer in this instance becomes a mentor), and life goals. So I ask you now how will you find your greatness?