The athlete with higher performance capacities in speed and strength will always be able to carry out a given training task at a lower percentage of his absolute capacity than an average or incompletely trained athlete, (i.e.. if an athlete can squat 600 lb he is unlikely to be injured while squalling 400 lb).
Charlie Francis, from The Charlie Francis Training System
Here’s both a recap of the Prep Block and a new looks at Foundation training. Hopefully, these assessments will help you design your own training programs.
The goal of the Prep Block was to increase my capacity to train hard, toughen up skin on both hands and feet (important for this training cycle’s climbing goals), and not get injured. Successful on all accounts, it doesn’t feel like much of a “training cycle” since I did very little actual training and, currently, am less fit than I’ve been in a while. But that’s okay. You can’t (and should not try) to always peak. Down time is vital. Strategic down time is even better, which was double-y essential given my long birthday challenge had me in a fairly broken down state that required more repair. Now I feel rested, even restless, which is a good way to move into a training program. I’ve also healed some nagging injuries and toughened up my skin a bit. That fact that I’m a good 15 pounds above my May/June fighting weight doesn’t matter in the slightest. I’m health and ready to get after it.
While it’s “okay”, it doesn’t feel very good. To borrow a quote from a coach back in college, “I’m fat. I’m slow, and a disgrace to baseball.”
The New Foundation Plan
When Phil Requist re-opens his web site it’s going to have a bunch of cool training banter. As of now, you’re going to have to settle for the short version. Essentially, Phil’s been tinkering with training schedules for, hmm, the last 25 years I’ve been hanging out with him, at least, and has just come off the best climbing year of his life. I’ve been tinkering with his tinkering and the bottom line is a different look from what’s traditionally been used for foundation training.
The goal of a foundation training block is to prepare the body for high stress training that’s to come later. We both feel that the old school approach of high volume, low intensity over emphasizes too much quantity over quality. If you read any training for climbing books that discuss foundation you’ll see things like ARC sets, where you spend 30 minutes sessions on climbing wall, moving but not getting pumped. Akin to base mileage on a bike, it’s useful but probably not as necessary as the days of randomly targeting a thousand k’s of riding before you’re ready to begin training.
My foundation block is going to include campus boarding, finger board training, and sports specific weight training movements. All will be done at base training levels of intensity. I’ll post a couple of workouts near the end of the block, because they’ll be more useful after I’ve experimented. Hopefully Phil will get his up by then, too, so that you can compare the differences. This will lead to some discussion about training for your body type.
As an overview, weeks will be broken down into one A workout that is purely climbing specific, two B workouts (one stability/core and one low-weight/high rep big muscle specific workout), a moderate climbing day and three C workouts that cover aerobic and mobility work. That’s seven days of training. I often take rest days but those C workouts can be doubled up easy as they don’t affect the other session.
Diet – I’ve been eating and drinking anything I want. Again, this is cool at times but it’s been long enough. I don’t like strict dieting in the beginning of a training program as you should always opt to feed your recovering in periods of heavy adaptation. So I’m going with the old eating well mid-week, weekends off routine. Goal is to drop 4 pounds in 4 weeks, which I won’t know for sure because I don’t have a scale that works but I’ll be able to tell, more or less. What’s important is to feel light, which I don’t in the slightest.
Toughness – I’m a wuss. Bolted and cleaned routes (emphasis on the latter or vertical construction, as we call it) all weekend and, good lord, I can barely move. My white collar lifestyle isn’t going to prep me for what I want. This month I’ll add two days per work of uncomfortable night or dawn patrol training sessions.
Mobility – Also slacking majorly, I can’t remember ever being this stiff. Five mobility sessions per week, which will be short and don’t count towards actual training. It’s important as we age to start slowly here. Start easy and slowly build from day to day.
pic: while power is pretty much the opposite of an eternal river, i’m a huge fan of metaphors that make no sense. power’s more like a river busting through a dam. it’s also a good excuse to show this video. more review on cafe kraft will show up later as we move into more intensive training.