Partially Attended

an irregularly updated blog by Ian Mulvany

Review of climbing goals, goals for 2014

Sat Jan 18, 2014

1407 Words

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:

  • I’ll turn 40
  • I’ll have been climbing for 23 years
  • my hardest redpoint (7a) will have happened 10 years ago.

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

  • Onsight Grit E2 (not done)
  • Redpoint f6c B (not done)
  • 10 weekende trips in UK (not done)
  • 5 red problems in a day in font (done)
  • 80 kg weight (not done)
  • build climbing wall (not done)
  • get driving license (done)

Goals 2009 - 0/5

  • My long term goal is to redpoint an 8a by the age of 40. (not done)
  • CLimb font 6a in font (not done)
  • 4 trad climbing trips (not done)
  • Onsight E2 (not done)
  • Indoor 7a (not done)

Goals 2010 - 1/5

  • fr 7a redpoint indoors (not done)
  • V5 (I’ve done a few V4’s towards the tail end of last year) (not done)
  • a font 6a in font, preferably la marie rose (trip to font planned for April) (not done)
  • Trad E1 (I’ve lowered this goal as I’ve had so little trad experience in the past number of years) (not done)
  • A few trips to do some trad climbing (done)

Goals 2011 - ?

I’m unable to reconstruct my goals for 2011.

Goals 2012 - 2/5

  • remain injury free (not done)
  • significantly reduce the amount of alcohol that I consume (done)
  • fall off at least 10 routes of 6c or harder/month (not done)
  • redpoint 7a, but don’t stop trying harder things (not done)
  • get three campus board sessions or power hand sessions into my training per month (done)

Goals 2013 - 2/13

SMART goals for 2013

  • 520 boulder problems (not done)
  • one fingerboard session/week for weeks where I am at home (not done)
  • La Marie Rose (not done)
  • climbing Inner City Riots (not done)
  • Try font 6b/6c and 7a problems when in font. (not done)
  • redopiont 7a+ indoors (not done)
  • read “Better Bouldering” by John Sherman (not done)
  • get away for one climbing trip to Switzerland with Daniel (not done)
  • climb a Dream of White Horses (not done)

Long term goals with now-actions

  • Climb V6 | try V4/V5 problems every month for the first six months of 2013 (not done)
  • Get to 79 kg | get to 80 kg by the end of Jan (done)
  • Climb 520 boulder problems in 2012 (not done) | climb 40 boulder problems in Jan (done)

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:

  • 3 trips to font
  • putting up a new V4 - half dome on the Shoreditch Boulder
  • without really seeming to try, getting in 420 boulder problems in the year

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:

  • I stumbled into doing more boulder problems last year than in any other year of my life. That was a pleasant surprise.
  • I squeezed in three trips to font in a year through being opportunistic, that’s what led to the high number of days climbed outside.
  • The number of days that I can get to climb on are diminishing, but performance is holding steady, or slightly improving, there is scope to use the fingerboard more
  • my base level for bouldering really is improving, move V4s last year than any other year, mostly becuase I made myself try more.

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

  • 7a sport, indoor, outdoor - whatever.
  • as ever - la marie rose
  • le trou du simon
  • a climbing trip to Ireland- fair head- glendaloch- the burren - wherever
  • climbing trip to Italy ir Spain
  • mufti pitch anything - preference for Switzerland - preference for 6c or harder.
  • any psychoblock.
  • all of the v4s on the Shoreditch boulder
  • video all of the routes I can climb - on the shoreditch boulder.
  • I count 10 problems that I can climb on the Shoreditch boulder - do all of these in one day.
  • v5 indoors.
  • avoid falling into a muti month lull

Training goals for first 3 months of 2014

  • try at least 12 routes of 6c or harder.
  • at least one fingerboard session per week.
  • get to the shored itch boulder at least 4 times.

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:

  • 5 fingerboard sessions
  • dogged my way up 5 6c routes
  • flashed a 6b+ route, the hardest thing I’ve done on a rope since January 2013.
  • done 4 v4s
  • done 30 boulder problems

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

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