TRAINING, FUTURE 9a PLANS AND WOMEN’S CLIMBING
Eva is a climbing coach and a scholar researching training methods at a PhD level. She’s forty-two and in October last year she climbed her first 8c+, Potemkin, in the Spanish region of Cuenca. She bolted the route a few years back but didn’t manage the first ascent. Now she’s in her best shape and searching for a new challenge.
In November I had the pleasure of meeting Eva during Women’s Climbing Symposium and interviewed her for the Polish climbing mag GÓRY. Waiting for the article to go to print meant I couldn’t publish online until now.
To honor the occasion, we talked first about…
What’s often stopping many good female climbers from developing further is gender issues. There are of course biological differences; e.g.: we are generally weaker, but physical differences are not the main thing. It’s about social roles. Very often women climb with their boyfriends, or male climbers in general, and they’re not motivated enough. It’s assumed they’re less able or more scared by default.
By climbing with other women, like during WCS13,they can find more motivation. The key is to find out what makes the difference, what works better and why, and take that knowledge outside of the female-only environment. In that way women learn to develop better motivation strategies.
Read more on that topic in an article on Eva’s blog here.
Training and motivation
For the first two or three years it’s just about climbing, even without a plan. Just keep going to the crag and keep climbing. And after about three years it’s good to start training in a more organised way, yet it depends on a person. When I started to climb, I started to train. Why? Because I just love training!
If you don’t go outside, it’s hard to be motivated. It’s no fun. You have no reason to train. Training indoors and climbing outside is a perfect circle for me. If I’m trying a project and I need to get strong for it, I go back to the gym and being focused on the goal, I train more effectively.
I usually go cragging for about two months when the weather is in Spain is the best. Apart from that, I always try to do weekends. Training indoors is from Monday to Thursday or Wednesday.
Motivation? Well, it’s easy. If you’re climbing F6a, you want to climb 6b. And then you climb 6b and you want to climb harder again. It’s a matter of setting goals. When you’re 15, 20, 30; amateur or professional, it’s the same.
To me, climbing is everything. My heart tells me that climbing is the best thing I can do. I just love it! But everyday, or about ninety per cent of the days, I don’t want to go training. I’m at home on my couch, maybe reading a book. And I have to go again… But when I get to the gym, it’s suddenly amazing. I love training! But there is always time when you don’t want to go.
Training is the only weapon against age. If you don’t train, you lose strength but if you do, you gain it. Always. We are designed to adapt, to improve, to get strong. My father is about seventy and he started running marathons two years ago. Now he can run it in 3:48. If you think you’re too old for something, then you probably are. I know I can improve.
Now in Spain the weather is not so good, so perhaps it’s time to train more. I will still try to go out a little bit. There is a project… I’m looking for a 9a. I’m trying several routes at the moment and when I choose one, I will do it!
I love climbing hard routes. It’s only about making a plan. Adjust your schedule, find days, go out. Try and come back to train the things that you think are important for the route. Then try again. Try, try, try… And boom. Send.
It’s only a matter of motivation. If your thoughts are clear and if you really want something, everything is a matter of organisation.
Many thanks to Eva for having time to chat with me. I’m looking forward to reporting about her first 9a!