Ways to Improve Climbing Performance

A better climbing buddy

Having a good rock climber with good climbing technique as a partner has many advantages. By simply watching them climb a wall, you can find out a great deal: watch the way they use footwork, watch when and where they takes rest breaks and attempt to replicate their technique. Also request your buddy watch you climb and analyse your technique. This is certainly a beneficial exercise as you may not appreciate a number of the things you are doing wrong, nor where you can develop. I generally prefer to have a climbing partner who has better climbing technique than me, it forces me to improve and produces a higher performance level from me.

Strengthen your grip

Despite the fact that improving upon rock climbing techniques is essential to bettering your performance, you’ll find that you also must have good strength and grip. There are a selection of techniques to strengthen your grip and fingers. Two products I favor are the power ball that concentrates on your lower arm and wrist muscles which consequently enhances your grip and the gripmaster that focuses on your fingers.

Lose weight

Whilst rock climbing, we are fighting against gravity. The heavier we are, the more difficult it will be to climb up the wall. It may sound totally obvious, but shedding some surplus weight will make a significant difference to your ability. Be aware, if you are pretty trim already, it is considerably more beneficial to focus on bettering your rock climbing techniques than losing a few more pounds in weight.

Take time to warm up

It’s going to take a longer time for your hands and feet to warm up than your arms and legs. Without warming up properly, you risk getting the dreaded pump quickly which no climbing techniques can reverse – your session is effectively finished. Instead, ease your muscles in by beginning on extremely simple routes or problems. Also, you should rest in between routes, and devote 30-45 minutes on warming up prior to you attempting harder routes. This can be annoying, however, it does work!

Camp Stove

Carrying Capacity

When going on a trip, especially to cook at, say, a family event, buyers will often consider just how much weight they, personally, will have to haul around and this pertains to the size and weight of the stove. If a stove begins to weigh past a few pounds, it is probably too heavy for a casual trip on foot. The burners available will come with fuel cartridges and should be sufficient for the casual camper.

Activating the Stove

It is not unusual for burners to come with an easy method of ignition. Buttons are usually integrated in the system to make camping easy, but cautious campers often times bring a set of matches in case this method begins to fail. So long as there is a fuel source and a way to ignite it, the stove should be functional so it is not necessary to replace the stove if only the button refuses to work on it’s own after much use.

Recommended Fuel

Propane, Butane and Isobutane canister fuel are all very easy to use. If the ignition is still functioning after repetitive use, all that needs to be done with these fuel sources is to push the button and watch it flame. There are, however, some disadvantages to using these fuels. If the weather is below freezing, it may not work properly and trying to cook a meal on the last remains of fuel in the tank can take a long time. While they last, they are excellent fuel sources. Keep in mind these products can be highly dangerous if the canisters which hold them are not properly disposed of and thus caution should be taken in doing this.

Liquid Fuel

Another option for fuel is liquid fuel. Not so affected by weather and holding easily a steady, hot flame, they can make cooking very easy and relaxing but there is also a disadvantage. These fuels tend to cost a lot more than the aforementioned options, and it is up to the separate buyers whether the advantages tip the balance in its favor.

Tempo Runs

Tempo runs should be done once a week. They will help to increase your fitness level. Tempo runs also train you mentally by giving you the feeling of running faster which will help to build confidence for your road races.

As you begin, you want to start out easy to warm up. Most runners will run slowly for 10 – 15 minutes (I usually do 1 mile of easy running). Then you want to increase your speed until you are running about 15 seconds slower than your 10K speed. If you don’t know what that is, run at a speed that is a hard effort. You can judge this by using the talk test. If you have trouble talking – but not gasping for air – then you are probably at the right pace.

You want to continue at this pace for 15 – 20 minutes. Don’t worry if you can’t run that far at that pace when you are just starting tempo runs. Try it for 5 minutes and then each week build up to runner farther. Some runners will also break it into chunks of fast running. 5 minutes of quick paced running, followed by a minute or two of walking then another 5 minutes of tempo, etc. Whatever works for you is great – it’s just important to get these done.

After your quicker paced runs, you want to be sure to cool down. A nice, easy 10 minutes (or an easy mile) and then you’re done! Make sure that you are doing the warm up and cool down as it is critical to your performance.

Also, make sure that you are entering your tempo runs in your training log. Keep notes on your pace, how you felt, the weather conditions, etc. This will help you with your runs in the future.

20 minutes of tempo paced running each week will make you a stronger runner. However, if you are training for a longer distance run, you will want to increase your tempo runs to 30 – 40 minutes for each workout.

Mountaineering

Mountaineering is a very popular pass time for many people. It provides an opportunity to get out into the wild outdoors and experience Mother Nature at its finest. This type of exercise will give you the stamina to walk for long hours at a time and provide you with stealth like abilities to reach even the most difficult of summits. What most people don’t realise about mountaineering is the fact that in most cases it requires little more than just walking. It is not a fast paced exercise but rather one that will require a lot of stamina. Treks can be as little as 1 hour to 6 hours depending on what mountain you choose to climb. Some treks can even continue through the night on the way to the camp site. In some cases you may be required to manoeuvre around difficult obstructions to continue on your path, but it is not the same as having to scale a mountains face. The paths are safe and continue on a steady incline until you reach the summit or camp site. By taking on this sport you will be able to explore nature while building up your endurance and strength.

It is not only a sport that teaches you about exercise but also one that helps you to learn about yourself. Some people have said that climbing mountains gives you the opportunity to reflect on your everyday life. Helping you to achieve clarity on certain situations. In most cases it is not safe nor advisable to climb a mountain on your own. While being within a group you will have personal time while being able to learn about comradery. Even the most energetic person can struggle to reach the summits before them. You will learn how to help them get through the pain and possible mental block, while both enjoying an experience that you will never forget. Team work is very important especially when you choose to conquer some of the highest mountains in the world. While climbing you will find that you are learning skills that will truly enrich your life. There is always an end goal, you cannot stop, you have to continue or choose to turn back. Therefore it is a great test of your character, you will either push through and reach the top, or turn back in defeat. You will soon find that you have far more strength within yourself than you ever thought possible and will not give up on the challenge when you begin mountaineering.

Running In The Rain On Race Day

First of all, make sure that you are wearing a cap. A cap to me when I’m running in all types of weather is a must. When it’s sunny, it helps to protect your eyes and face. When it’s a rainy day, a cap becomes even more important. The brim on a cap will keep the rain off of your face. This helps in many ways. First of all, keeping the rain off of your face just makes you feel better. And, if you wear contacts or glasses, it helps you to be able to see better.

A big mistake that runners will make is to overdress if it’s raining. This will cause you to be very uncomfortable during your race – especially after you start and get warmed up. If you put on several layers, they’ll all get wet due to the rain and sweat and you’ll be carrying around that extra weight. See what the temperature is and dress accordingly, as if it were a dry day.

However, you can wear a garbage bag while you are waiting around the starting line to keep the rain off you. Get a large size bag and make holes for your arms and head. Wear it around the start – then take it off once you get moving and warm up. Make sure that you throw it to the side of the road so that you don’t cause someone to slide and fall on your discarded garbage bag.

Many runners that don’t usually have a problem with chafing will if it’s a rainy day. To prevent this, use Body Glide or Vaseline where you may chafe – your inner thighs, underarms, etc. Also, make sure that you put some on your feet. This will help prevent blisters from the extra moisture of the rain.

Make sure that you have dry clothes waiting on you at the finish line. You’re may be warmed up from your race, but you can still get chilled easily. If you have family or friends with you, you can leave your dry clothes with them. If you are at the race by yourself, most races have a drop off and pick up spot for clothes.

Elements Of Marathon Training

Interval Training

Interval training is essential to increase your running pace. Use treadmills to help you with this training. Treadmills allow you to simulate sprints or hill runs and they also allow you to have fun and effective workouts to get your pace to the max. Most treadmills also have tracking features so you can track your progress and improvement.

Strength Training

Increasing resistance or strength training will improve your muscular endurance. As a runner, you want to focus on your glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps. These muscle groups will be the ones abused the most during marathons and it is important to keep them strong.

Core Training

The stronger your core, the better your conditioning will be. Use numerous functional movements to train all of your major core muscles.

Pacing

You must be able to maintain a consistent and comfortable pace during training. A comfortable pace is at around 70 percent of your maximum heartbeat rate. When you can hold a short conversation while running, maintain your pace at this rate and stay there for your marathon. Remember, that this is a marathon, not a sprint. You must be able to reserve your energy and not burn it out too quickly.

Cross training

Cross your training. It is important to take some time out from running. This will allow your joints, muscles and body to recover on your most fatigued days without skipping exercising.

Proper Nutrition

Once you have a training program planned, you also need to concentrate on energizing your body efficiently. Make sure to increase your complex carbohydrate consumptions through eating whole grains and oats. Get your proteins through beans and lean meats.

Hiking and Backpacking

Hiking is a great way to enjoy the outdoors while giving your body an excellent cardiovascular workout. It challenges your heart and lungs, and works the lower back and abdominal muscles. According to the American Hiking Society, an average 140-150 lb. woman can burn approximately 300 calories during a 40-minute hike at a moderate pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. Carrying a light backpack will increase your caloric expenditure by at least 15%.

If you’re out of shape or are a novice hiker, begin with a regular exercise program that includes walking. Take walks around the neighborhood or on flat nature trails. Ask an outdoor outfitter where to find the best trails in your area.

It’s best to start below your fitness level so you can comfortably complete your hike. The fitter you become, the more you can do; meanwhile, you’ll be able to adapt to the terrain both physically and psychologically. Don’t attempt hills on the first day unless you’re accustomed to them or have been exercising regularly. Be sure to include lower body stretching and strengthening exercises in your routine.

For best results, stretch your calves, hamstrings, quadriceps and lower back before and after hiking. Be sure to get the blood circulating in your muscles before you stretch by walking slowly for 10 to 15 minutes. Don’t ignore the upper body–hiking uses both arm and leg movements. A strong upper body may help you do more advanced hiking, allowing you to tackle rocky trails or steep inclines. Target the chest and shoulders when stretching the upper body in preparation for a hike. Stretch within your own range of comfort and flexibility. Never stretch to the point of pain. In addition, stretching after a hiking and backpacking helps alleviate muscle fatigue and soreness.

During a hike, you can go from hot and humid conditions one minute to rainy and cold conditions the next. For this reason, proper gear and apparel are essential for safety and protection.

Purchase good hiking shoes in a sporting goods or reputable shoe store. You need three things to find the perfect hiking shoe: time, patience, and socks. Try boots on at the end of the day, and you should be wear the sock combo you’ll hike in–preferably a thin liner with a thick sock, for an accurate fit. Hiking shoes should be a half-size larger than regular shoes to allow for toe room (versus toe smashing) on downhill trails. This space will also trap warm air and allow for an extra pair of socks when it’s cold. With the boot unlaced and your foot moved forward, you should have room to slip your forefinger down the back to your heel. Look for a high ankle for stability and a good tread to prevent slipping. All boots require waterproofing.

Prevent Running Injuries

Take it slow

Experts have devised a set of guidelines called “The 10% Rule.” Simplified, this rule recommends an increase in training mileage at 10% per week and no higher. The motivation behind this rule is to avoid training errors which occurs when the human body is subjected to sudden changes in running intensity and mileage.

The body requires a recovery period so that it can respond well to the demands of training. Rushing the body may result in muscular and soft tissue injury. Experts in sports, biomechanics and kinesiology all agree that pushing too hard is not the answer to advancing forward. On the contrary, it can even delay successful achievement of running goals.

The best approach to training is to increase the monthly and weekly running mileage total based on the 10-percent rule. A person who is injury prone must also consider a lower target such as 3% or 5%. Even top runners base their training program on this rule and they apply the same principle when they engage in interval training, trail running, and hill running as well as other training activities. This approach is also helpful to a runner who wants to gauge their personal training threshold.

Listen to your body

It pays to be sensitive to what your body is telling you. If there is pain anywhere, pay attention to it. Do not dismiss it, but take appropriate action. Don’t drown the pain in medications, but instead take decisive action to determine what’s causing it. Even at the slightest sign of discomfort, it is best to lower the running intensity for a while or even substitute other lighter activities such as walking or bicycling. It is important to remember to return to running only when absolutely pain-free. A consultation with a sports medicine specialist is the best way to go.

Remember that running is a physical activity that puts immense amounts of stress on the human body. Although it does not involve lifting weights, the lower limbs still receive repeated high impact loading. Be a smart runner and include injury prevention in your training program.

Lonely Pleasure of Long Distance Running

To hear the way some people talk, it makes running sound like some kind of quasi-sexual experience. Which, it is not. In any case, I don’t mean it that way. No pleasure is derived from running ten kilometers unless you enjoy experiencing pain. In fact, long distance running is a bit like taking a vow of celibacy. It’s about denial and sacrifice and spiritualism. Running shoes and heart monitors and pacing your self. That’s what I thought until I tried it.

I wouldn’t say it was an epiphany. Let’s just say I got it. I got what they were talking about. I understood the serenity and the solitude and the understanding. Listening and talking to your body. Challenging yourself to go faster and longer. In my fog of negativity I forgot. When you hit the wall of pain something miraculous happens. A small hit of happiness called Endorphins that flood over you. It’s the most natural form of pain relief there is. It refreshes and revitalizes the mind, the spirit and the body. You can keep going even when you think you can’t.

So what have I learned from this? For a start, I have a greater appreciation of the athletic efforts of competitive runners. I’m talking about the men and women who do this in serious competition. It isn’t just the sheer physicality of the task. There is a strong mental requirement. And here I am drawing on the philosophies of a man who took an ordinary but gifted runner and turned him into an Olympic champion. It applies in a race over a shorter distance as much as it would in a marathon. This is what he said. You must plan carefully. Build training around the concept of winning. Build stamina by setting time trial goals in the middle of a run. You must work out what he called your strategic race point. That is the point where you make your move and dictate terms rather than the other way around. Train for the worst possible scenario. Such as, a competition field made up of sprinters rather than stayers. If you put in the necessary hard work and the mileage into you legs it will become your advantage especially when you are going down to the wire.. But above all enjoy the experience. There is freedom and joy to be had as well as enormous satisfaction. But if, during the race, you get asked the question there is only one place to look to find the answer and that is inside your own self. The toughest competitor to overcome in any race is you. But when you do it is the greatest victory of all.

Road Racing In Hot Weather

As with all road races, make sure that you are aware of what the weather is going to be on race day. On the days prior to a race, you want to make sure that you are drinking enough water. However, if you know that the weather is going to be warmer than usual that day, staying hydrated is even more important. The urine test is the best way to make sure. If your urine is clear or pale yellow, you are adequately hydrated.

If you know that race day is going to be hot, be sure to increase your salt intake before the race. You should be eating some salty foods and even taking salt straight up with water – a packet that you get in a restaurant is the perfect size. Some races will even give you one in your race packet to have during the race. If you are doing a half-marathon or marathon, you should get some salt during the race, also.

Don’t push yourself too hard if the weather is hot. – readjust your race goals. Trying to overdo it on a hot day can lead to heat-related illnesses, such as heatstroke. It’s perfectly alright to run a little slower and make sure that you finish the race. You can try again for the Personal Record in your next race.

A great way to cool down if you feel overheated is to splash some water on you at the water stops. Many races will also give you a sponge at the water stops to wet and then carry with you to keep yourself cool. (It may also be a good idea to get one to have with you if you are prone to overheating if you know that race day is going to be super hot.). Two words of caution with this, though. First of all, if you do get a sponge at a water stop, don’t suck on it to get water. They may have soap or other things in them.

Also, if you splash water on yourself – try to keep your shoes dry. If you get too much water on your shoes and socks, it can lead to blisters. Not to mention, your shoes and socks will feel heavier if they are full of water.

If you do start to feel lightheaded, nauseous or have chills – stop at the next medical stop or find a race official. Be checked out to be sure you are alright.