Lattice Training Log Part 9: Week 3 of Cycle 2. Going to failure. Patience.

This was the week of Oct 3, the third week of my second training cycle.


The details are in the spreadsheet, but the highlights are:
  • 30s and 25s L sits (30s and 22s last week)
  • 58 → 60 total pull-ups.
  • 1 set of 145lb bench for 6 reps (previous best was 135).
  • 6→5 reps on my third set of wide pullups (+45lb). I did it after boulder triplets this week, rather than after my board climbing, so maybe I was just a bit more fatigued. Or perhaps I did them a bit slower. Either way, I don’t think it’s a big deal. My rate of improvement will definitely slow as I get more experience with all of these exercises, so I can’t expect to see consistent increases week to week.
I felt a lot better during my bouldering sessions. I managed to send Zeldawave (V5) at 45 degrees on the tension board. The crux felt really far when I first started trying it weeks ago, and it was great to finally do it.
I also nearly sent Big Pinch Pinchin’ (V5). I’ve never done the crux before, and this week I got past it consistently, falling on the last move several times. I think it will definitely go next week.
During my boulder circuit I sent a new V7 that felt pretty tough before, and made some good attempts at a few other V7s, though I didn’t finish them. My body felt really strong, but my fingers were just a bit too fatigued to get me through the cruxes.
This all felt really motivating!

Training vs Climbing

Last week I was feeling really anxious about pushing hard during training. I felt like going to failure during my strength and conditioning exercises resulted in me being quite fatigued, and as a result not climbing as well.
I ended up talking about this with my coach, and he agreed that this is a tradeoff that is often felt during training:
Fatigue normally presents itself most evidently in our climbing where the complex movement is too demanding of a tired body, in contrast you can often still grind out reps of a simple S&C exercise.
He encouraged me to continue going hard during the S&C sessions, since the primary goal of this first phase of training is to build work capacity, and going close to failure is a reliable way to ensure overload. Later, we’ll apply this new fitness on the wall and focus more on quality climbing sessions.
I’m glad that I continued going hard in my off-the-wall work this week. I’m de-loading next week so I’ll have some time to recover and realize these gains!

Training vs Sustainability

I think I’m still going to give myself permission to ease off of the intensity next cycle. For example, I’ll probably not go for the last rep if I don’t feel confident that I can complete it.
Going to actual failure is really emotionally demanding for me. After a stressful work day, going into a training session already fatigued, the idea of pushing myself to failure feels really daunting. I think it will be a lot easier to keep showing up if I feel like I can give myself this bit of slack.
Also, I expect that keeping 1 rep in reserve will still be plenty high intensity to make progress.


I’ve noticed a pattern in the anxiety I feel surrounding climbing. I worry about doing the exercises just right so I progress faster. I’m reluctant to let go of performing while bouldering, because I have a hard time thinking about goals long-term. I think it all boils down to a lack of patience.
I think having 15 years of climbing under my belt has a lot to do with it. I’ve always pushed myself in my climbing, and I trained myself for 4 years before hiring Lattice and doing this blog. After all this effort, I often feel that I should be better at it.
It definitely stings to see someone zip up through the grades over only 2 or 3 years of doing the sport. Logically, I know that there are many factors outside of my control that account for this (genetics, age, lifestyle, etc…). Still, it’s easy to think that maybe I’m just messing it up somehow. Am I not trying hard enough? Not willing to really face my weaknesses?
I was going to go on a long aside about how the US is a performance-oriented culture and we should recognize the role that natural aptitude plays in performance, etc…
Instead, I think the more honest thing to say is that I struggle with this. I care about climbing, I want to do it well, and I define “well” in large part by how it is perceived by others. The standard advice here is to not care what others think, but I think that misses the point that we are humans, who are social creatures and are extremely, keenly aware of what others think. (Have you ever navigated trying to find a seat in a crowded room?)
In some way this blog is my process for resolving this tension. I want to document in detail how hard I tried, and what the outcome will be. Maybe this will let other people set more realistic expectations about how hard this all is, and give all of us a collective boost of mutual respect. To me that seems better than pretending not to care what others think (while spending hours writing for strangers on the internet. I mean really, we’re way past this being an option.)
As you may have noticed, my posts have been getting more philosophical of late. I think this is because training is rather routine which leaves a lot of brain cycles for reflection.
Tune in next week for de-load for cycle 2, more navel-gazing and training minutia.