Here's the ultimate secret to a successful training program that none of the books out there talk about. It's her. Recognize her? No? It's my wife, the mother of my children, and my partner in everything I do. To achieve your goals, training or otherwise, you need someone like her. Partners support you, motivate you, and help you when you're struggling (both on and off the rock). I'd have accomplished exactly nothing without her. OK, maybe if she never existed, sure. But at this moment in my life, where I have two kids and a business that is exponentially taking off, no. I need her.
I have wanted to return to Yosemite for awhile now, but realized when our first child was born that long trips were going to be few and far between. And even fewer and farther between after the second child was born. When I finally wanted to make a concrete plan and set some firm dates, I needed her on board. It wasn't that she was just going to watch the kids while I was out having the time of my life, it was the fact that she too would have to make some sacrifices before I could even leave for Yosemite.
It's easy to think you're the one doing the hard work and making the sacrifices when you're alone in the garage, hanging by on the hangboard and lifting weights, but that's the easy part. Try helping a two-year old that's potty training while simultaneously nursing an infant. Even if I wait until after the kids go to bed, Erin has to sacrifice hanging out with me so that I can train. It is no small thing that I'm asking of her.
But even the caring for our kids aside, there's the motivation. She helps convince me to go train when I don't think there's time, whether that's because we have family or friends in town, or it's late and I'd rather sit around for an hour and go to bed. My dream really has become our dream. It's the only way it works.
I try and help support her own endeavors, whether that's her getting out for a run, or doing some climbing of her own, but I realize it's never "fair". A true partnership, one that lasts, is not based on tit for tat. She doesn't keep tally of the hours I train and then cash it in later for her own free time, just like I wouldn't tally up leads on a long multi-pitch route with my climbing partner. If one partner needs one to do more, that is fine. So long as there is an understanding of why that is and an effort to look out for each other. That's what we have and I hope you do too. The books don't talk about it, but scheduling workouts can be tough, so they must be laid out on the calendar ahead of time and must be talked about. Communication is key. It helps keep everyone on the same page and is a great way to let the other know how you're feeling, even if that's frustrated, so no resentment and ultimately, failure ensues.
And hopefully that motivation and inspiration is a two-way street. Erin really wants to exercise - it's been one of the things she enjoys most and a way we really connected - both in the beginning and now. She just had a baby, so getting back into it is hard, both physically and mentally. I think because I'm making training a priority, she feels comfortable trying to do the same, even if it is to a lesser degree right now.
I'm four weeks into this program and have really started to hit my rhythm. Training has become part of my habit, my routine. And I'm seeing gains, so motivation stays high. Like many of you reading this, I'm sure you train alone. In the past, this has been a demotivator, but with a change of perspective, it is perhaps easier as I don't have to coordinate schedules and workouts can take half as long (literally). The Rock Climbing Training Manual Logbook is key for me. I write down my workouts to the smallest detail so I can look back at it when I'm about to start my next workout. The workout is tough, always pushing my limits, so in itself, they can feel like I'm not making progress, yet when I look back from what I could do even a week ago, the gains are undeniable. The end goal seems obtainable. And I am encouraged to keep pushing ever harder. Last night was another "Step Up" - added 10 pounds to every set from the workout just two days before and didn't fail on a single rep (yet I did with less weight last workout). Six hangboard workouts down, two to go. Then on to the campus board, something I have always sucked at and ultimately a tool I never used. Change is progress, so I too, will change.