Review of climbing goals, goals for 2014

in climbing, bouldering, goals, shoreditch boulder

For the last couple of years I have done an end of year review of my climbing over the previous year, and set myself some goals for the coming year. Rather than doing exactly the same thing this time, I thought it would be good to look back at several of these reviews over the past couple of years, look at the data on my climbing, and see if I could discover any insights.

The key takeaways are that I have very rarely managed to achieve any of my end of year goals, while at the same time I have been improving, in spite of having less opportunity to train and fewer chances to go on climbing trips.

In addition to all of this, 2014 will mark the following:

If we look at all the annual goals I’ve set myself over all years, I have only managed to achieve 7/30 of those goals.

The goals and successes break down as follows:

Goals 2008 - 2/7

Goals 2009 - 0/5

Goals 2010 - 1/5

Goals 2011 - ?

I’m unable to reconstruct my goals for 2011.

Goals 2012 - 2/5

Goals 2013 - 2/13

SMART goals for 2013

Long term goals with now-actions

The biggest goal that I set myself - to climb 8a by the age of 40, is one that I will clearly fall very short of. 2013 looks particularly bad, but that’s the year just gone, it’s frech in my mind, and it wasn’t a bad year at all. My highlights from 2013 were:

On the goal of climbing Inner City Riots - an extremely crimpy/fingery V4 on the Shoreditch boulder - I made a lot of progress, and found myself consistently falling off the top move on the last three days of the year. At the beginning of the year I was unable to even hold the crux move in the middle of the problem - so close, soooo close.

A closer look at the training data

Let’s have a look at the data on my performance over the last couple of years.

training sessions by year and type boulders by type

A couple of things really jump out at me:

Though you can’t see it in those graphs, when you look at the activity logs you can see that I’ve had a few month in each year where I lost motivation. Last year it was because I was unable to go on a climbing trip that I had arranged and I reacted petulantly. It was a childish reaction, and I’ll have to work to let go of those kind if feelings and focus more on the journey rather than the goal.

What can I learn from my miserable failure on my goals?

I have to conclude that I’ve been taking a more of a waterfall approach to setting my goals. The takeaway is that I have to recognise that with the current configuration of my life external factors are simply stronger for me than my willingness to prioritise climbing. I am totally OK with that, I have a fucking awesome life, but I have to adapt how I set climbing goals to take this into account in a realistic way.

This year I am going to set performance goals around training only. I’m going to set those goals in terms of effort and volume, and not achievement, and I’m going to set them no longer than 3 months out. I’ll review progress on a rolling three month basis.

In terms of things I would like to climb or achieve, I’ll list those here on my wish list for 2014, knowing that there are more than I can achieve this year owing to time constraints. In doing this I want to leave myself open to opportunity, while at the same time I want to defend myself from feeling too pissed off at not getting a chance to do any of these things.

My preformance data is very promising, and the steady approach is providing gains over the years, I just have to keep that in mind.

For 2014 here is my aspirational, but optional list of things that it would be awesome to get done:

2014 aspirations

Training goals for first 3 months of 2014

I started drafting this post at the beginning of January, and so far things are going well. As of writing we are about three weeks in and my tally so far is:

Probably all quite reflective of the start of the year enthusiasm that I can see in my training data from the last couple of years. The challenge for the next 9 weeks is to keep at it in a nice and steady way.

To finish here is a rendered 3d model of the shoreditch boulder