Friday 8 January 2016

New years resolutions

Judging by the number of books we’ve been stuffing into the wee postbox in Inverroy since January 1st, there are a lot of climbers out there with new year’s resolutions to change your habits and up your level. Great! Let me know how you get on. I would say ‘good luck’, but that would be irrelevant. You’ll make your own luck, or you won’t. 

Both 9 out of 10 climbers and Make or Break are in part behavioural science books. They explain how having willpower is not really the centre of behaviour change that leads youth better climbing performance, or getting back to full form after an injury. Rather, changing the environment helps you to make the changes you need without having to constantly force it by willing yourself to do something against your natural tendencies.

My own new year’s resolution is pretty simple - to get more sleep. 8 hours minimum and 10 hours after a heavy training day. I think it has been the missing link in my own training for a long time. I’m ashamed to say I’ve probably squandered the effort of many a training session by not giving my body the chance to benefit from it in recovery, simply by not sleeping enough.

As not-so-subtly hinted in 9/10’s title, this training error might be something you should think about too. I dare say there are tons of climbers out there who spend ages researching and doing different training regimes, only to waste all of that time and effort by under-sleeping and missing out on the gains from that training.

Depending on what mood and mindset you apply to the problem, you could see it as a super simple thing to change. Just go to f**kin bed early! Simple. But of course real life is not so simple. You have to be organised. Being organised requires stepping back from the actual schedule and taking a dispassionate look at what activities there are in your life that are unnecessary. Stepping out of your own bubble is essential to do this. For instance, a lot of folk would have more time for all sorts of things simply by deleting the Facebook app from their phone. 

Is Facebook undermining your performance in sport? is commuting time? Is the fact you haven’t build your training board at home yet? Is your commute, or your phone (or whatever it is in your life) really more important to you than your climbing dreams? It’s your choice.


  1. Hi Dave, really loving your work, the book (9 out of 10), the blog, everything. I have been on and off climbing for a few years now but have never really had a training plan. So this is new territory for me and very exciting. In fact I have been spending most of my time during the day trying to come up with the perfect plan for me, to the point where I lay awake thinking about it till 3 a.m....and now I'm not getting enough sleep haha.

    Thanks again on the wonderful blog and books and happy climbing!

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  3. Nothing like a good nights sleep. Good resolution. On a related note, and one that I would love for you to blog about, is about the managing fatigue throughout a climbing day. Whether it's just trying to perform after an 'alpine' start, or how to work on that all day crag energy that allows for a whole bunch of redpoint burns after a hard walk in. I swear just general tiredness limits my climbing more than almost anything else.

  4. As a normal guy with family, job etc I call myself a weekend-warrior. Besdides that I wonder hoe you imagine sleeping 10hours a night? I have to get up at 7:00AM, which would lead to falling to sleep at 21:00PM, means going to the bathroom etc. around 20:30... how should I do that in summer when it gets dark around 21:30 ;) ? Anyway, the topic as such is definitely correct: Stop staring at screens, rerad a book and you will feel tired much earlier ;)

    PS: I am one of the people who ordered "make or break" early Janaury... because I didn't get it for Christmas gift ;). Love it so far!