It has been a long, long week. I teach four sections of introduction level philosophy courses and this past week was the last week of classes. I now have 60 papers to grade, tomorrow I receive 40 exams, and another 40 on Thursday.
I’ve been working on a writing sample for applications to PhD programs. The first deadline is the fifteenth, so a lot of my free time this past week has gone into that.
To top it off, a very good friend of mine came to visit, which made me very short on time. Many days I just did not have the time, energy, or resources to get to the gym. Nevertheless, I consider this week to be a success in terms of exercise.
On Monday I lifted and climbed:
Two sets of bb bench to warm up, followed by 5 sets of 8 plate loaded wide chest press.
Two sets of dips to failure.
Burn sets of cable crossovers to pump out.
Burn sets of tricep cable pushdowns to pump out.
I made progress on all my lifts, increasing either weight or reps while maintaining form.
In terms of climbing, I consistently flash 5.10, but until yesterday I hadn’t pushed myself.
On Tuesday my friend came to town, and I skipped my usual run. Fortunately for me, she is my old climbing partner, so on Wednesday I used a guest pass on her at my gym.
Two sets of bb bench to warm up, followed by 3 heavy sets of floor presses.
Two sets of eight on dumbbell incline as accessory work.
Burn sets of low to high cable flies to failure to pump out.
Again, I made progress on all lifts. (Also: I alternate between this workout and the one from Monday.)
Climbing: 5.10 is my comfort zone, and I didn’t leave it on Wednesday. Due to all my past injuries, I’m hesitant to push myself. My friend, however, climbed a number of routes at her limit – some she flashed, others took multiple falls to complete, and others she failed.
I was entertaining on Thursday, and worked a solid 13 hours on Friday before promptly passing out.
Saturday, however, was a very, very good day. I repeated my workout from Monday, again making progress on all lifts.
I then decided – motivated by my friend – that I can’t just stagnate in terms of climbing. If I can flash 5.10, I should be able to climb higher grades. I decided to push myself slowly, and climb consciously, deliberately, carefully, and efficiently. I climbed some 5.10d routes, and nearly finished a 5.11a before taking a hint from my then exhausted hands and calling it a day. Next time I’ll try that 11a again, and I have my eye on an 11b that I think better suits my strengths. Once I can consistently climb 11, I’ll stay there until I can consistently flash 11; dominating at one grade before moving to the next is a good way to avoid injury and develop the various facets of climbing – technique, strength, mentation.
Finally, after what has felt like forever (not to mention 9 hours today) I have finished my writing sample. I am very self-critical of my work in general, but I am proud of this document. As a reward, I went for my first run in a week. Prior to my time away from running this past week, I had only managed to run 2.5 miles at 6mph (10min/mile). Today I did the same distance, but upped the pace to 6.5mph (~9:14min/mile).
Feels good, man.
This week I have a ton of grading ahead of me, but nothing that requires 8+ hours of undivided attention. Tomorrow, I’ll be back on schedule; an occasional easy week can help you to recover and improve your performance, but – by and large – consistent effort is how progress is made.