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Weak Days vs. Strong Days?
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saxfiend


Oct 4, 2005, 11:17 AM
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Weak Days vs. Strong Days?
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Does anyone here have strong climbing days some days and weak days other times? And if so, do you think it is really a matter of physical strength/weakness, or is it a mental thing?

I ask this because I seem to have days where I can just breeze up routes that are at my limit (and sometimes beyond it); then there are other days, thankfully not as often, where everything seems to be a struggle.

A few weeks ago at Lost Wall, toward the end of the day, I climbed a route on toprope that has a roof at the top. I grunted my way through the roof, but not without taking a fall first. Then last week, I was back on the same route, this time leading it. I redpointed it, having no trouble at all with the roof. Though I could easily rationalize that I was tired the first time after a long day, it's hard to believe that physical factors alone could account for the differences in how I was able to handle that climb.

Do you think this weak vs. strong thing has a mental aspect? If so, how do you deal with that?

JL


shanz


Oct 4, 2005, 12:10 PM
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I know exactly what you are talking about as far as weak/strong days. i think that the mental aspect is the major factor in weak days and strong days. Our attitude affects our climbing.


stabla


Oct 4, 2005, 12:35 PM
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I have found that when i am climbing stong i am very hydrated from drinking of plenty of water throughout the day before i go climbing. I have also found if i eat carb rich foods i feel like i still have more power/enduro at the end of a climb instead of being sapped. Hope this helps!
cheers


Partner jammer


Oct 4, 2005, 12:43 PM
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For me it is not a mental thing. I'm usually just as excited to climb on bad days as I am on good days. I just feel weaker, like the strength in my arms is just not there.

jammer


glowering


Oct 4, 2005, 12:52 PM
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There are so many mechanisms at work who knows?

I don't know why, and have given up on trying to figure it out, I just hope I'm having a good day when it matters.


veganboyjosh


Oct 4, 2005, 1:00 PM
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i prefer to climb on the weekends.


climbsomething


Oct 4, 2005, 1:02 PM
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I call my weak days Eeyore days. They're usually physically weak days (tired from previous climbing, work/school/life, dehydration, etc), but when I notice my Eeyore-ness, I get discouraged and then it becomes mental too.

My truly weak days, thankfully, are pretty limited. So are my guns-a-blazin' kickass days. Usually, I'm chillin' in a happily acceptable zone of fun mediocrity.


pylonhead


Oct 4, 2005, 1:09 PM
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I definitely have them. Like someone else said, I think there are an infinite number of variables.

Sometimes stress. Sometimes I think it's just my immune system fighting something off.

At times, mentally I'm at 110%, and I walk up the cliff thinking I'm going to have a great day, and for some reason I just can't pull down like I want to.

Sometimes I walk up thinking, "Maybe I should have just stayed in bed," then end up having a ground breaking day.

There are definitely non-mental elements at work.


toejam


Oct 4, 2005, 1:12 PM
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There are undoubtedly both physical and mental factors which play into peak performance. Many of these are easily controlled, such as periodization, diet, and sleep. I've always forced myself to train hard, even on days when I feel off, because when the big day comes, you might not feel up but you have to perform anyway. Practicing under these conditions makes it seem less of a "weak" feeling, and more like simply operating with different parameters.

One of the things I have found is that even when you feel physically poor, you can still perform well. I've seen time and again people have peak performances running a fever or a cold. Something about being sick releasing them from the obligation to perform well, and the pressure free attitude enhances their performance.

Often it is not a weak day, but a weak moment. Some of my best athletic days were those when I started weak, and reached a peak during the finals of a competition. Conversely, I've had many days where I started strong and petered out early. Too many people will have one bad performance and write themselves off as "having a bad day".


lewisiarediviva


Oct 4, 2005, 1:26 PM
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Some times I am so excited to finally get out: out of town, out on a rock, out under the expanse of the sky.

Then I don't climb as well as I think I should.

I very much agree with those saying that life it's self can wear you out. I'm not bothered by my weak days, they still make me stronger for the days of "life" ahead: talking to clients, the school principal, the networking of transporting kids, the teacher, the co-workers, dealing with soccer games in the snow. . .


daithi


Oct 4, 2005, 1:43 PM
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I find my weak days correlate very well with the amount of Guinness I have consumed the night before!


Partner jammer


Oct 4, 2005, 1:58 PM
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In reply to:
I find my weak days correlate very well with the amount of Guinness I have consumed the night before!

Wish I drank so I could blame it on the beer :? Maybe I'm not replenishing my energy when I sleep?


franko


Oct 4, 2005, 2:01 PM
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Interesting question. Besides climbing I also play racquetball, lift weights, & play tournament chess, & I've noticed strong & weak days at all these activities. Weightlifting is all physical, but some days I can lift heavier & longer than others. Racquetball is both physical & mental, & some days I'm on, & some days not. Chess is all mental, & some days I can see the moves, & some days it's all a fog.

I asked the physical trainer at my health club if he knew anything about this, & he said that it has a lot to do with blood sugar levels & insulin efficiency. (For many years he was the trainer for the Washington State Cougers football team, so he has much experience with athletic performance levels.) He claims that a high protein diet helps keep blood sugar at best levels, & thus smooths out performance. Personally I think it has to do with your horoscope.


saxfiend


Oct 4, 2005, 8:57 PM
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In reply to:
I find my weak days correlate very well with the amount of Guinness I have consumed the night before!
Why didn't I think of that!?! I haven't been drinking enough Guinness, that's gotta be it! :mrgreen:

JL


musicman


Oct 4, 2005, 9:01 PM
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i don't have weak days or strong days. i am always equally strong! i have high gravity and low gravity days. :lol:


saxfiend


Oct 4, 2005, 9:10 PM
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In reply to:
I've always forced myself to train hard, even on days when I feel off,
Yes. Sometimes on my regular gym nights, I feel sluggish and want to just blow it off. But I go anyway and once I get sweating, I wake up and start doing some good stuff on the wall. This is why I think weak/strong days are at least partially (maybe primarily) a mental phenomenon.

In reply to:
Besides climbing I also play racquetball, lift weights, & play tournament chess, & I've noticed strong & weak days at all these activities. Weightlifting is all physical, but some days I can lift heavier & longer than others. Racquetball is both physical & mental, & some days I'm on, & some days not. Chess is all mental, & some days I can see the moves, & some days it's all a fog.
I'm also a musician, and it's the same there -- sometimes I'm just note-for-note on every chart, sometimes the charts just look like a blur of notes. I wonder if my bad climbing days are good music days and vice versa! :)

The diet angle sounds intriguing, I'll check into that further.

JL


arnoilgner


Oct 9, 2005, 8:31 PM
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There are many reasons why you have strong and weak days. There are physical factors and mental factors. Since you asked about mental I'll address that.
First, life works in cycles so you will naturally feel strong sometimes and weak sometimes. Just have to roll with that one.
Second, it depends on what motivates you. If you are motivated by ego you will have bigger variations in your climbing. In other words, you'll really climb strong some days and really climb weak other days. Your consistency will vary a lot. If you are motivated by learning you will be more consistent. Your strong days will be not that much stronger than your weak days.
It boils down to attention. Ego drains attention thereby causing a weaker performance. A focus on learning keeps attention in the moment thereby causing a stronger performance.
arno


wessingw


Oct 9, 2005, 8:54 PM
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I tend to find that there are a variety of factors that contribute to good and bad days. Mental state can affect things a fair bit. Stress is very hard on the body for example, but I find that this is less common for me than some other factors. Sleep can have a pretty big effect. Diet can definatly have a large effect. I tend to do best when I have gotten enough sleep and have been eating a fairly high carb diet. Dont overdo this though. Protein has a large effect and if I've been skimping on the veggies and fruits that can slow me down just as much. Its all about balance.
Try paying more attention to it and seeing what you might have not done as well when you have a bad day. Drinking even in fairly small amounts will tend to lower my performance enough to notice. Its all about being in tune with your body.
During high school I did cross country which is where I learned about a lot of this stuff, mostly through experience. Through college I did triathlons and a variety of other activities including lifting and those activities also reinforced these beliefs for me. When I am training hard I usually dont drink at all.


blouderk2


Nov 6, 2005, 10:39 PM
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I know exactly what your talking about. Sometimes I can push my limits and then some, and others days I just can't climb nearly as well as I normally do.


_fiend_


Nov 8, 2005, 4:08 PM
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It's interesting to read this topic having had a definite weak evening down the wall.

I didn't feel especially tired, or unmotivated, but my arms felt stiff and sluggish, like they had poor bloodflow, and it felt difficult to hang on to things.

I think it was a combination of not eating enough, having a generally sluggish day, and the wall being crowded, which was distracting and the lack of choice of routes to lead made it harder to find something that felt right.

I probably had too strong expectations of what I was hoping to do - not numberswise, but the style of training I wanted to focus on, and thus I didn't adapt to the different circumstances. I tried to focus a bit on what I was learning, but it was mostly learning that I feel bollox when I feel bollox :wink: Hopefully next time I can focus more on learning from the start as I see in this case it's more beneficial that aiming for a particular performance...


_fiend_


Nov 8, 2005, 4:10 PM
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test


verticon


Nov 11, 2005, 11:59 PM
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Few years ago I climbed one of the most difficult routes in Romania. 14 pitches of conglomerate, poorly protected with old pitons and very few gear placements. The most freaking pitch is "the Wing": 30 m of a dihedral with a rounded edges 30 cm wide crack. There's only one piton 5 m far from the belay stance and there's no gear placement possible all along the pitch. Actually you have to solo it up though some 5.12 steps.
Usually I wouldn't have climbed this pitch as I considered that climbing "the Wing" was an act of madness, but that day I leaded it without any fear and even I enjoyed the climb. And I felt the same for the rest of the route too.
I tried to analyze my state of mind in order to be able to recreate it for other routes too, but I found nothing special or different for that day.
Finally, I checked my biorithm although I considered this theory to be crap, and I was surprised to find that for that particular day all those curves were at their maximum.
What do you think ? Was this a coincidence or the biorithm really means something and it could explain our good and bad days ?


climberterp


Jun 10, 2006, 4:57 PM
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well, I know this is a little old, but I wanted to chime in. I've noticed strong/weak days in my climbing and a similar phenomenon w/my work as well (I'm a sign language interpreter). Overall I've always called them 'bad brain days'; days when things just don't seem to process as smoothly, I can't seem to coordinate my movements (or my speech/signs), I just feel 'off' and can't quite figure out why. I think it has less to do with actual physical weakness and more to do with some complex combination of factors that sometimes just happen to cooincide: diet, hydration, sleep, work & personal stress, temperature, lighting, weather...... I don't really have a solution for the bad brain days, just tolerate them til they pass and do my best to control the factors I can so they don't happen too often.

Anyway, this is my first post here in RWW, I read the book over the winter and it's really helped me make some changes in how I approach my climbing. I'm enjoying it more, beating myself up less for not doing as well as I think I "should", and improving a lot! So, thanks Arno!


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