Training / by Mayan Smith-Gobat

I have been climbing full-time for over 10 years now, in which time I have done very little actual "training"... I have sworn by the method of training through climbing - By choosing projects which work my weaknesses I have continually become a stronger and better climber. However, for a long time now, I have known that to really make significant gains in sport climbing I need to gain power! Unfortunately, this is the hardest thing to gain from climbing outdoors, yet I have lacked the discipline or desire to dedicate a block of time to pure training. Even though I know that this is what I need to do - climbing is so much more fun! It is amazing to think about the tiny amount of time I have spent climbing on plastic over the my climbing career, and what a glaring weakness this is in my climbing... Life definitely has interesting ways of throwing unexpected opportunities at me. By some strange and unexpected turn of events, I ended up with the option to come out to Colorado and train with Rob Pizem, Ben Rueck and a very psyched group of climbers of varying levels. I do kind of believe that life often throws opportunities at you for a reason... and that it is usually best not to ignore them. So, I took the plunge and decided to try it - for a short period of time anyway... Therefore, I ended up in Grand Junction - a kind of random place to be, but with a lot of good climbing very close.

I launched myself straight into a pretty full-on training program, involving a lot of core work, power training and finger strength. Training six days a week, often doing two or three different workouts per day, plus trying to climb at the same time - It is exhausting, but a lot of fun - I have realized once again how much I love pushing myself hard! We are often up at 5am for training sessions and training until late at night. The first week my whole body (especially my core) totally died, I felt like I could barely move for almost a week. But this week feels much better - My body seems to have adapted to the extra work amazingly quickly. I feel like though still very tired, my body is just loving the extra work and I am feeling much stronger already!

In addition I have been sampling the local climbing areas, going on long trail runs in the desert canyons around here and getting out to Rifle as much as possible. I even managed to squeeze in a day at the Black Canyon, where I climbed the ultra classic "Scenic Cruise". It was a little hot, but a great day, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that this particular route was far from loose or scary - which is what I have always heard about the Black...