Sunday, 8 September 2013

Playing it safe

After looking back through my training log for the past few months I've realised that my work load has been a step above where it had been . Going back a year or so I was climbing a lot , mainly bouldering outdoors and my average session was probably close to 7-9 hours , all day basically . I was climbing two days on one day off and sometimes three days on . Looking back there's no wonder I was getting injured a lot especially when I didn't have trained/climbing ready tendons . If I think back even further when I had just discovered climbing it wasn't uncommon for me to climb five days on ...

During that time I picked up what I would consider my two main injuries that have plagued me my whole climbing life . I injured my left middle finger collateral ligament . It was quite a horrible feeling when I pushed my finger to the side I could feel my middle knuckle shifting and grinding ... Yuk ... I never gave myself time for this to heal , which in hindsight I regret . The reason I didn't stop climbing was that it only slowed me down when doing certain had positions ( locking , jams , open handed , anything that applied sideways pressure ) and being a crimper not being able to do these techniques didn't seem such a big deal ... About 12 months after injuring my left collateral ligament I injured the exact mirror image on my right hand ... Bummer ... This was a shock because I thought my right hand was boomproof ( being a tradesman and always working with tools , hammer , I've always had a strong right hand dominance ) so it was a bit scary to say the least . I got a bit worried that it was bad genetics being an identical injury , but it was likely a combination of this and just bad technique ( hideous crimping on untrained fingers ) when I injured my right hand I started taking things a bit more seriously - I had to , I was running out of digits - anyway I went and saw a hand specialist whom built me a thermo cast and basically told me don't do anything that hurts , there goes climbing for a while ... I did take a break for a few weeks ( likely not long enough as it never really healed ) and tried to get back to climbing gradually - which also didn't really happen - eventually these two injuries did go away enough for me to start training again , but I knew they were always just lingering below the surface .

Now back to today ... I've been feeling my right collateral injury coming back this past week . I'm wondering if its from climbing in a new style - the style that used to aggravate it in the past , pockets and open handed ... and to often . So after looking back at my training log for these past few months and paying attention to my fingers and arms I have some concerns that I am pushing myself too hard again . So I may have to drop back on intensity again probably by training my open handing and pocket climbing on my woody in a controlled manner - no dynos , snatchy climbing , hard moves when tired - and maybe keeping away from climbing hard routes for a while - unless they are suitable ...

But not only am I feeling my collateral injury but I have also picked up some strains in my flexors ... Will it ever stop ? I haven't done anything about this and have just been climbing regardless ... Will I never learn ? Maybe ... I have taken the past three days off from climbing to see how I feel and today have just done some biking , planking , crunches , push-ups , dips , calve raises and other various things that won't aggravate my hands and will give me some climbing benefits . I've been needing to strengthen my shoulders too because they have been feeling very crunchy and unbalanced .

So I guess time will tell where I'm at , I will likely give myself a few more days then perhaps get back into endurance circuits if I feel ok . At least I am accepting that I have some limitations now and doing something preventative instead of just ignoring my injury's and hoping the will just go away . Progression will be near impossible if my body stops working so i must look after it , there's no more denying it , and short term fitness loss is not such a big deal I'm realising now ... Progress ...

Stay strong .

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