There’s no two ways about it right now. It’s damn cold and even though the cold snap is over (for now), most of us don’t seem to have thawed out too much. 

Sure the snow and frost look pretty to look at at first, but after the novelty wears off we’re left with a bleak reality – It’s bitter cold out there and a lot of us just wanna hibernate until the temperatures move north a little!

However this post isn’t a tedious, boring, repetitive rant about the cold, (I’m not gonna be a classic Brit here!). In this post my aim is to help you keep climbing throughout the cold months so that you can feel more accomplished come the summer.

A lot of people’s consistency drops off at this time of the year, so if you’ve noticed you’re climbing less right now don’t worry, it’s pretty normal – Give yourself a break. Beating yourself up about not smashing it like you did in July is probably only going to weaken your resolve to keep moving. Doing this simply reinforces the fact we’re not climbing as much, making us feel guilty, which is usually then followed by us “forcing” ourselves to “get back at it.” 

Using guilt as a motivator may work for a few weeks but it’s super unsustainable. At best it will make you move more for a short while, but 90% of the time it just makes us overshoot how much we can realistically do right now. For example, boosting your output from 1 to 5 sessions a week for 4 weeks is going to be very taxing on the body leaving you sore as hell, more tired and will ultimately give you less time to do anything else (not great when there’s loads of parties going on). When the “overreaching” bubble inevitably bursts, you end up right back where you started – doing just as little and probably for longer than you expected. 

At its worst, guilt tripping ourselves makes us shy away from the issue and sweep it firmly under the rug. Outta sight, outta mind until we’re reminded about our lack of movement months later, by which time we’ve lost so much of the gains we fought for.

So, let’s lower our expectations of ourselves.

Climbing once a week at the moment? How about we aim to do 2 sessions instead of ramping it up to 4 or 5 right now? It’s the Christmas period, it’s winter, you’re going to want to party more, eat more, relax more and that’s FINE. 

Think of climbing and any other training/exercising you do at the moment like a dial not a switch. When things are against you (weather, work, xmas parties, stress etc) dial it down. However, be honest when doing this. Ask, “Why am I dialing it down?” 

Maybe you need more structure/variation/fun elements/training partners? If so, would adding one or a combination of the above help me maintain the training output I want? If not, don’t worry, knock a session off, it’s ok! When the time is right you can add more in again and dial it up.

You could even ask more long term questions to yourself like, what even is my ideal training output per week based on how my life currently is? Am I basing this ideal off what I want or is it a result of comparing myself to others?

Asking these questions and taking the time to answer them honestly may help you stop the winter training freeze many seem to suffer from. Added to that it may help you enjoy climbing more.

Hope this gives you all something to think about especially if you’re not happy about the dip in training you’re going through.

Have a brilliant Christmas everyone, catch you all in the new year.

Thanks for reading.