Ian Mulvany

December 18, 2021

my climbing year in review.

2021 ended up being a good year for me, in terms of climbing, in spite of some headwinds that I had to navigate.

2020 was obviously heavily disrupted due to the lockdowns in the UK, but I signed up for the lattice home training program, and that worked really well in terms of increasing my finger strength. I wrote up my experiences of that program here - https://partiallyattended.com/2020/09/27/12_week_lattice_training_plan_-_review/.

When the lockdowns lifted in early 2021 it coincided with the opening of a new climbing wall - Stronghold London Fields. I bought an annual membership and started getting to the gym more regularly than at any point in the previous few years. It takes me under five minutes to get there. It's also open from 7am to 10:30pm, and I've taken advantage of that. I can now get to the wall after the kids are in bed, or sometimes before I need to do the school run in the morning.

I've been tracking my bouldering with an app called Pinnacle. Looking over the year you can see:
306 boulders this year, compared to 67 the year before. 44 V4 problems this year, compared to 5 the year before, and five V5s this year, compared to none the year before.

It was not all plain sailing this year. I signed up for the dedicated coaching with lattice training, but I had to withdraw. We bought a new house, I had an injury, and we had some other illness in the family, and I just couldn't dedicate that time to a formal training program, as my attention was needed elsewhere.

I had a ton of injuries over the year - impairment in left shoulder, small tear in left oblique, minor tweak right shoulder, a gofer's elbow that lasted from June until September, a bad Spain with my right ankle, a small tear in my left calf, a small twist of my left wrist. Probably my increase in climbing volume has lead to a proportionate increase in minor injuries, so it's been a game of trying to tread along the injury / performance improvement curve.

I've taken flexibility a lot more seriously at the end of this year, and have now been making time several times a week to just work on lower body streching.

I'm looking forward to next year, the house move worked out, I now have a room that I can use for work/training, and in 2022 I'll be able to build in a space for fingerboards, and a small wall. The membership at London Fields continues, and I'm getting to the end of the year largely injury free. My family members are on good roads to recovery from their own medical problems.

The big lesson continues to be about removing barriers to training/getting climbing. If 2020 was very much about trying out structured training and 2021 about getting to the wall again more regularly, then 2022 will be about kitting a nice balance of those two together.

I'll also focus on overall conditioning, and working on antagonists. Finally it's clear that I need to spend time now working at a harder envelope of effort to move my grade pyramid to the right. 

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