Lattice Training Log Part 12: Week 2 of Cycle 3. Finger injury. Sessions that don’t mix.

This was the week of Oct 24, the second week of cycle 3.


The details are in the spreadsheet. The highlights are:
  • two sets of 30s L sits for the first time! This felt absolutely impossible the first time I tried it a bit over 2 months ago, when I managed only 15s on the first set. This and the hollow hold have been the bane of my existence and it’s so awesome to reach this milestone.
  • added 5lb of ankle weights to my toes-to-bar and windshield wipers.
  • swapped to 4RM for weighted pull ups and bench
I sent two V7s and a really tough V6 during my boulder circuit session this week, and got really close to another V7. Of course, it’s hard to say if it’s me or the set… but I felt pretty confident attempting them so I feel like I’m getting a lot more solid on that grade.

Finger Injury

So I hurt my index finger on my right hand about 2 weeks ago, right as I was about to go into the de-load for cycle 2. For some reason I didn’t think to tell my coach right away, and didn’t write about it in this blog. I guess I was hoping that it would just go away and not affect my climbing.
It got swollen on the side closest to my middle finger, and I had considerable pain loading it in the half-crimp position. I think I hurt it doing front-3 hangs, though I don’t remember any acute pain. I just woke up the next morning with it swollen and sore.
After the de-load week, and last week that I spent sick and traveling, it was still puffy and painful, so I figured it was probably time to come clean with my coach.
He advised me to avoid the f3b3 hangs, the tension board, and amended my schedule for this week to spend more time on boulder circuits and boulder play instead. Unfortunately, I reached out to him after already having done the two tension board sessions for the week. I did have the good sense to not do front-3 hangs this week, instead limiting myself to just the back 3.
I think I did something pretty stupid by continuing to hangboard and climb as if nothing was wrong. A dry-fire or a foot pop could have loaded the injury unexpectedly and turned it from a minor strain into something worse, increasing my recovery time from a few weeks to a few months. I was playing with fire and I got pretty lucky Thankfully my finger handled the boulder triplets and max effort bouldering on the tension board OK. The swelling and pain are improving from day to day, so I think it’s likely going to make a full recovery in another week or two.
As soon as the injury happened I needed to stop and re-evaluate my priorities. The goal should be to make the finger heal properly so I can fully return to training and climbing. Even though I get that on a logical level, I do still find that it’s really difficult to convince myself to actually follow through on my own advice.
I think this goes back to perfectionism and impatience. I didn’t want to mess up my training cycle, or delay the feeling of progress to deal with the injury properly. There’s also the question of experience. I’ve never had a serious finger injury that prevented me from climbing for extended periods of time. Though probably this is not something I want to learn the hard way.
I’m going to do my best to let the finger keep healing, and to load it in a gradual and controlled way.

Sessions that don’t mix

Speaking of learning the hard way. One of the questions that I’ve been asked a couple of times is how do I decide which sessions I should do on what day. Lattice provides you with some guidance - a grid of what you can do before & after each kind of session. For example, this is the grid for the boulder triplets.
At the beginning of the first cycle, my coach also laid these out for me in a sample week schedule. I lay out my sessions for each week using these as a guideline, but I think there’s still some individual differences that come into play.
For example, this week I ended up doing my boulder circuit and hypertrophy pull-ups on the same day, and that really didn’t go well. I did 6 sets of 10 pull ups in my previous session, and in this one while trying to do 6 sets of 12, I quickly dropped down to only being able to 6 or 7 reps. I think doing pull-ups after a lot of volume of pretty hard overhanging climbing is just not a good combination.

Tension Triplets

Now that the Tension board at my gym has lights, I was able to do the boulder triplets workout on the board. It was really fun! I picked two V5s that I’ve done before, and a few V4s, choosing sustained boulders. I ended up failing on the 2nd and 3d attempts for a bunch of them, but I’m excited to keep trying it until I can send all the attempts, and then progressively make it more difficult by swapping out for harder problems.
I’ve written a few times before about chasing the right feeling for boulder triplets (Part 10, Part 5). On the tension board, I think I found it. Rather than “peeling off” the holds as I did on the long set boulders, I got a very clear “powered out” feeling in my shoulders, my hips and my core. I just couldn’t generate momentum with my feet or my hands.
I did this session on Monday. It was so successful, in fact, that I was still powered out when I attempted my max effort workout on Wednesday, after getting a full day of rest. I could not do anything on the board, and ended up calling it quits after about 20 minutes.
So the lesson here is that I need at least 2 rest days after a board triplet session before I can do max efforts again. I’ll try and account for that in future weeks.
Tune in next week to see if I stupidly re-injure my finger by being impatient.