Climbing’s debut in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo has been delayed a year due to COVID-19. How are top climbers, like Team Great Britain’s Shauna Coxsey, dealing with this unprecedented delay?
Red Bull online has recently published an interview with Shauna about her Olympic preparations. Excerpts below reveal details of her intensive elite-level training (not to be copied by recreational climbers!), the difficulties of training for three climbing disciplines, the importance of sleep, and how she has dealt with injury and other setbacks.
How do you divide training time between the three disciplines of bouldering, speed climbing and lead climbing?
It’s massively challenging – when you’re training for one discipline you’re training six or seven days a week just on that one discipline, making tiny micro-gains. Then you add in two other disciplines that require different training strategies. It’s very demanding, as you’re putting a strain on different energy systems. They do cross over in some respects, but it’s not the ideal situation to train across bouldering, lead climbing, and speed climbing.
How many hours do you train a week, on average?
At the moment I’m trying to fit in 15 different training sessions a week. The amount of hours I’m training differs, but generally, it’s six days a week with one rest day every other week. Usually, I do between two and four sessions a day. In the off-season, it’s usually a 50/50 split between being on the wall and in the gym or doing other fitness. Then, the closer I get to the climbing season, the more time I need to spend on the climbing wall for all three disciplines.
How important is sleep to your training?
I love sleeping – I sleep a lot. I’m also really good at it. Sleep is incredibly undervalued in society, and we need to shift that to value it more – especially in elite sport as it’s so important for recovery.
How do you avoid injury?
Not very well! Climbing is so demanding it’s really hard to avoid injury. We’re walking a fine line between pushing our bodies to the limit to make gains and falling on the wrong side. I’ve suffered a lot of injuries throughout my career, and I’ve worked hard to come back stronger. I find injury fascinating, and I’m actually quite good at rehab. Working hard to come back is a space I’m not afraid of and I’m not unfamiliar with. We only get one body so it’s worth spending some time to look after it.
Read the full article here.
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