Staying away from injuries…

Injuries and practising sport at a high level unfortunately go hand in hand. It hits some harder than others, but rarely anyone can avoid them completely. Reacting properly in case of an injury sure is important, but even more so is trying to prevent them from happening in the first place.

With half a dozen serious climbing injuries over the last 20 years injury prevention has become a major thing for me. In the section training tips you will find some basics, most of which are ridiculously obvious. Still, I keep finding myself ignorimg them from time to time. An overly quick warmup or refusal to stop training if need be are easy ways to tweak a finger, knee or shoulder. Most of the times these small tweaks will disappear in a week or so, but sometimes they linger on. This brings me to the question:

When does a tweak become an injury?

Before answering this, let me describe the situation I'm currently in: As I'm aiming for a goal that is at my limit I want to train at 100%. This means that choosing the training intensity feels like walking on the razor's edge. Too much will cause overtraining, injury and performance loss, but too little might not lead to succes.

If I'm honest, right now three fingers, one elbow and one knee regularly hurt. And no, it's the other knee this time 😕 . At the same time I reckon myself injury-free, since I don't have to hold back when grabbing holds and I can do almost every move (including big dropknees). These tweaks are a sign that I'm training at my limit, but they can turn into an injury if Im not careful. It almost feels like a bit of a gamble. On the other side, they keep me vigilant, and remind me to stick to my own rules for preventing injuries.

So to answer the question above, I see the occasional pain or tweak as a clear reminder that the limit is reached, and that pulling harder will lead to an injury. The very cliché 'listening to your body' makes sense after all, doesn't it?

Some years ago I had to tape several finger to climb pain-free

Season two: Changes and plans

Season one on the project showed me many things I could learn from and adapt for this season:

  • climbing 9b is harder than I thought 😉
  • My overall endurance wasn't good enough
  • March and April proved to be the best months for good conditions on 'Fight or Flight'
  • Trying one project only can quickly get you out of shape
  • It's easy to get over-obsessed

Based on these observations (and taking in account some Fall-rocktrips) I made up a schedule for this season. The biggest differences will be that I decided to skip both basetraining (phase I) and the Spain trip around New Year's Eve. This enables me to right away focus on the training that I think is necessary to climb the route.

2019 schedule

You can find a rough timeline for this season in the main Training section (scroll down), where you can see that I started a month later than last year. This worried me a little at first, but since my endurance level at the start was a lot higher than in the first season, I quickly realized that it might not be that big a problem. I really feel that every season of sportclimbing (rather than only bouldering) ups your baselevel by a notch and makes it easier for the next season to get started at a higher level.

Even though I would have loved to make a trip to Spain in December, I decided the days are better spent on training in the gym. It's a little sad, but I think rockclimbing as a preparation only works well if combined with gym training. Most of the time during a trip I just get weaker towards the end, and have to reactivate with some gym sessions. Respect to those who stay fit only climbing on rock!

That said, I decided to make two trips to Oliana this year, two weeks each in March and April. Even though temperatures are higher than in winter, the wind and shadow makes up for it. Plus it gives me enough preparation time.


So far I finished my power training (phase II) and just switched to endurance (phase III). I'm not completely happy with my bouldering strength, but therefore my endurance is better than expected. I focussed a little more on getting endurance, which (at least my body thinks) doesn't go together with that explosive power.

I also saw from last year that it's very easy to get too motivated and overtrain. As I explained in my last post I've been busy lately and I felt tired while training. A week of cutting down to 70% and finishing training with still some energy left proved a great idea (thanks Katha...). I'll keep you up to date on progress!