August 25, 2012 posted by

Fall Is Coming

Days are getting shorter, leaves are starting to turn, temps are waning; all meaning good climbing conditions are on the where-the-hell-did-summer-go? horizon. As usual, I’ve been tooling around the high country on my bike and am weak as a kitten. With an ambitious birthday challenge on the docket, it’s time for a little training Psyche.

This video shows Canadian climbing Sean McColl doing a workout. It’s rad. I tried a version of this yesterday and could not finish the climbing portion. All subsequent exercises had to be abridged. For reference, I tried doing three 45-move problems that I’d climbed in a single session in the spring, in 4-12 move segments, and could not finish. Pathetic, sure, but basically something I deal with on a yearly basis as a seasonal multi-sport weekend warrior.

That this workout is too hard for me off-the-couch is not surprising. McColl is very strong. As I mimic it my routes will never be as hard as his. I will, however, be able to do most of the exercises and complete this training session by the time I’m ready for the challenge. I will train to do this differently, following an article I wrote that will come out in the Sept 1st issue of DPM. More on that later. For now, enjoy the vid.

A funny aside is that McColl’s session somehow caught the ire of some climbing “training experts” over at the Climbing Narc. If you’re into mental masturbation on training it’s probably worth a read as there are some quality perspectives presented. While the main point, that just because someone climbs hard does not mean they know how to train is valid, it’s also rendered ridiculous in that there is no quantitative data in this case to support the statement.

Sean is one of the world’s best on the competition circuit. What he’s doing here is similar to how all of this competitors train. Granted it’s only a workout-—making no mention of his systematic training plan. But it’s in line with every other elite competitor’s training if, perhaps, slightly more realistic for the average human. To dismiss it is akin to saying the Jamaicans know nothing about sprint training, Kenyans distance training, or Laird Hamilton on surf training. Without real world examples and data you simply cannot dismiss a training protocol that is working at the highest level.

Bradley Wiggins’ team now has a case to state Lance Armstrong wasn’t training efficiently because they have a quantitative improvement. But until your training philosophy can provide data for actual progression, you’re no more prescient than Jesus Quintana.


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