12 in 12: Don't Think, Just Do

The biggest threat to her training regimen and what the author would rather be doing most of the time. Photo by Zach Ziegler

The biggest threat to her training regimen and what the author would rather be doing most of the time. Photo by Zach Ziegler

I wish every day could be like last Friday.

Having a purpose in climbing—and life, I suppose—is like living life à la Benjamin Button: You have the experiences, skill set, and muscle memory of an adult, but also the wonderful ability to see everything from a whole new perspective. I’ve been working my endurance for the past week (15 laps on mid-5.10s including easier warm-ups on Monday, a little more than an hour of treadwall on Wednesday), and Friday was supposed to be more laps on routes. I was pretty psyched all day to go to the gym and get a good workout in. (I’m still in the honeymoon phase for this project and training for it, so my head is fresh.) As my Friday wore on and the snow kept falling in Boulder, it was ridiculously easy to come home in the pitch black after a long day at work, get comfy on the couch, and push away the thought of going to the gym. If I just ignore something, it will go away, right?

When my training partner Alton walked in around 6:45 and somewhat rhetorically asked, “You still wanna go to the gym?” I stared at him blankly, not wanting to giveaway my true lazy self. I didn’t answer, so he asked again. Still no answer or movement from me. As he’s well aware of this little blog and my goal to climb 5.12, he immediately hit me with, “You really need to train for your project.” Ouch. Well, the truth hurts. I wordlessly stood up and went to my room to change. Still not psyched, but ok, we’re doing this.

There’s that old advice that recommends doing something you really don’t want to do, like cleaning out a closet or writing a term paper, for just 15 minutes. Mentally, it’s easy to wrap your head around a mere 15 minutes, and chances are if you work for 15 minutes, you’ll find it easy to keep going. That’s how I approached it. I got that little spur from Alton and started the process of going to the gym without thinking about it. Once I physically started the process, the right frame of mind followed suit.

And you know what? I went to the gym for almost four hours and had one of the best training days… of my life. Yeah, it was that good. I climbed 18 routes on lead, and 14 of them were 5.10a to 5.10d, and I was still feeling strong enough to do some intermediate boulder problems at the end for fun. I was inspired and motivated, and I just did it. Setting goals not only gives you direction in your training, it also gives you purpose, and that can make all the difference. Accept the fact that training will be hard on your brain and your body and your psych, then sack up and just do it.

Tell me if you’re doing it (or not) in the comments below, or at jellison@climbing.com.

Click here to read all the 12 in 12 posts.