End of A.R.C. Training Phase

Today marked the last day of our A.R.C. base fitness building phase from the training cycle I built around the Rock Climbers Training Manual. I’m doing a 4 month cycle to prepare for a trip to the Red River Gorge in April to hopefully bag a 5.11a.

Overall I’m glad it’s over. Towards the end it got REALLY boring. Here’s a look at the last month:


Green means I did it, red means I skipped it and blue probably means I sat on the couch because ‘OAE’ stands for ‘Optional Aerobic Activity’ and that means running. I don’t normally not do ANYTHING on off days like that but I’m still a bit nervous about my recently compressed disk so am taking more down time than usual. The weekend Outdoor Mileage sessions (OM) would have either been ice climbing or one day inside climbing ropes at the gym.

The worst part was the monotony of repeating the same sequences over and over. Our local gym is not large so after what I count to be 550 minutes of traversing you get to know the holds and sequences available to you like you know your own deep, dirty secrets. No amount of podcasts (holla to the last couple Common Sense episodes from Dan Carlin) or sweet rap playlists can make that any more interesting. The challenge for me is that to keep the pump manageable for those periods of time I would almost always have to choose the easiest sequence available to me. The pump penalty I would pay from upping the difficulty to more interesting sequences was too great and I would be unable to finish the time without having to rest excessively. Towards the end of the month I was starting to be able to use smaller hands and feet without major pump penalties but I don’t know if that’s a training effect or just my ever-growing knowledge of each hold on the wall. I also started using new shoes during this period (Evolv Shamans) and my feel and edging ability has gone way up. This likely is helping my technique as well. Note: if people care about reviews I can post one up, but it’s likely just going to be ‘these fit and the colors are bright.’

One of the interesting things I THINK I’ve noticed is that my pump during ice climbs is way less than last year, even on tricky mixed climbing where I can’t get my feet under me as well as I’d like. This is hard to separate out from any general training effects from the previous year, however, so the jury is still out on the transfer-ability of A.R.C.’ing to ice climbing.

The next phase of training has me do 7 hang board workouts at home across three weeks with some additional easy indoor rope climbing (or ice, if this bizarre winter decides on what it wants to do. It was 12 degrees yesterday. 12!).


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