Half Time by Dave Sarkar

by Dan Crossdale
Posted: 20th Jul 2015
Tags: Dave Sarkar, Scarpa

Blog sponsored by Scarpa UK.

Half Time.

Well we’re half way through summer and the weather has held up very well indeed with little rain and bone dry crags the projects have been falling thick and fast, with Ben Moons ascent of Rainshadow and Steve finally bagging Cry Freedom it is inspiring to see that hard work and dedication really paying off.

For the rest of us mortals it’s time to take stock and have a close look at where we are in our current plans and make adjustments if necessary. Summer isn’t about training it’s about getting out and being on your projects or having that adventure you’ve saved up for all year. The fact that you’re out climbing regularly and trying hard should be enough – but sometimes it isn’t.

For some of us we trained hard through the winter and spring, we trained SMART and used the F.I.T.T principles I wrote about in May and we still seemed to be stuck in a rut and are finding it difficult to move our climbing forward. Many sportspeople experience this and in team events they make much use of the Half Time interval to change strategy or have a motivational session with the coach.

As individuals we can do the same by taking some time to reflect on how our season is playing out and make some changes if things aren’t going as well as we thought they might be. There could be several reasons and we’ll look at some them here:

You are not climbing enough

With the amount of high quality indoor climbing walls now peppering the country there is no reason not to climb as much as you want to. This time of year you should be climbing as much as you possibly can as training can injure you and then that’s your season out the window. If you can’t get outside then climb indoors – you should be doing lots of volume or circuits on the circuit board.

You don’t have enough time – there’s so much work to do!

We’re all slaves to this in some way or another, whether we work or have other commitments. There are, of course, always those lucky few that seem to have all the time in the world – but the truth is they probably have their own commitments and just are better at prioritising. So we have to do the same – summer is my busiest time of the year and although I’m working in the adventure industry I don’t get time to climb as much as I’d like to. In fact the last few weeks I’ve only had a handful of days off and in those days I have all the admin of running a small business to sort out. That doesn’t mean I can’t keep my hand in – I run and boulder as much as I can and anytime I find myself at Malham or Kilnsey I work out like crazy. I just don’t have a project as I know I can’t commit the time to it right now. September and October though – that’s a different story!

You have a holiday right in the middle of the season.

If you are lucky that holiday will be a climbing related one, I gave up the notion of combining a climbing holiday with a non-climbing family a long time ago. I realised it just leads to frustration and a sense of disappointment, I don’t however switch off on holiday I use the time to reflect and train in a different way. I run (a lot) and open water swimming and that usually does the trick and keeps me fit enough for the annual Alps trip when I’ve finished holidaying. The secret is to not try and fight it and make it work for you – time out with friends and family is an important part of the happiness equation.

Make your holidays work for you - bouldering in The Gower.

You’ve peaked too early!

This is very common and happens to me a lot; I train really well through the winter and climb lots early in the season but not on a project. Then of course I burn out and have nothing left when it’s time to get on whatever project I’m working on. Half time can give you the opportunity to change tack and get your mojo back – if you’ve been sport climbing head to the mountains; if you’ve been bouldering go mountain biking or trail running for a few days. Just having that little change in tack can often be just what you needed to come back refreshed and in ticking mode! If you have plateaued then the break will need to be longer or you may even have to give up the project for some time while you train.

If you are struggling with your sport climbing projects - go bouldering.


Half time and mini breaks can occur at any time and happen in all sports both at a macro level (as I’ve described above) but also at the micro (on the route/problem) level. A good rest at a shakeout offers the opportunity to review performance so far and prepare for the next stage; a bivvy on an Alpine route to gauge what conditions are like; a rest in between boulder attempts to stretch those tight muscles. They are all half time events and can be used effectively to improve your overall performance throughout the day or trip.

There’s lots of exciting events happening at the Depot in the coming months with the new NIBAS awards coming along and the Summer League still in full swing not to mention all that good weather to get outside.

So have a great summer and remember every hold you pull on makes you stronger.



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