Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Competing and Training with an Injury


Competing and Training with an Injury
A close-up of my pre-injured hand (photo by Leo Cackett)

With the Boulder World Cup season done and dusted it should be time to start getting ready for the lead season, my stronger discipline. However, sometimes things don’t go to plan and you can find yourself sat in bed, nursing an injured finger and wondering why such bad luck comes at the exact wrong time! I recently found myself in this situation (and am currently still recovering and unable to train at the level I would normally) after damaging a vein, whilst fingerboarding a couple of weeks ago. I’ve had my finger scanned and the injury could have been a lot worse-instead of spending months without climbing I am expecting for my finger to be healed within another week or so.
The experience has given me a lot of time to reflect about the priorities in my life and the importance of climbing in it. My initial fears that I would be unable to compete in the Lead World Cups this year have now been consoled, as I know now that I will be able to compete, even if I am unable to perform my best. However, these thoughts were enough to make me feel desperate and even a couple of days off training made me realise that climbing has become so important to me that I can’t function without it.
These thoughts were a little scary. Of course you have to care about something a lot to be able to succeed in it, but relying so heavily on one element of your life in order to be happy does not seem healthy to me. In hindsight, I think the scare of injury was good for me as it forced me to look to other activities I had an interest in and I now feel that if I were to suffer a long term injury, I would be able to cope with it better.
Now able to climb on big holds, I am looking to make the most of what training I am able to do before the first comp at the start of July. I have made the decision to compete and I knew I was making a choice between competing when I knew I might not be on my best form and pulling out completely to wait for a time when I would be at peak performance. This was a hard decision for me, but in the end it came down to the fact that I want to compete for the full experience-to feel the adrenaline on the routes; to spend time with my teammates in cool and interesting places; to see how I compare to the top climbers in the world, even when not at my peak. I do not simply compete to get good results; I compete to enjoy myself.