As much as we’d like to, few of us can climb hard for even five days in a row without suddenly being unable to send V4 (or V1 if you’re me). If you’re climbing outside on a week-plus-long trip or just psyched on a project near home, your skin is likely destroyed after a few days, and shortly thereafter half of your upper body refuses to function for the first two hours after you roll out of bed each morning. And sometimes you just need a mental break from your project.
Here are some rest day ideas to keep you busy while you let your body repair mid-extended outdoor trip or to distract you from trying to train seven days a week to send your lifetime project:
Drive to your next climbing destination. Instead of obsessively squeezing finger strengtheners or attempting dumbbell bicep curls in the car between climbing destinations, give your body a rest. You want to maximize your climbing time when you’re in a new destination for only a week, so don’t tire yourself out on the car ride there. Instead, use the time to get psyched by listening to podcasts (check out the Enormocast or Training Beta) or reading through the guidebook.
Go for a hike. Too antsy to sit still and ruminate on the crux moves of your project? Get in some cardio to help with carrying heavy ropes/racks/crash pads while letting your shredded fingertips heal. You don’t have to hike for 20 miles, unless attempting Sufferfest III with Wright and Honnold, but a few miles to a pretty waterfall or the top of a local mountain will make you feel accomplished without flailing on crimps with mummy-taped fingers and screaming tendons.
Try some yoga. How many of us stretch regularly? Breath through our cruxes? Feel completely focused on each climb we try? Stretch out your aching muscles while calming and focusing your mind. You can even take a nap on your mat afterward.
Bake and eat your favorite foods. Normally you’d rushing to the crag, throwing a sandwich and some trail mix or, more boring, three cardboard-esque nutrition bars into your bag to fuel you for the day. Take this opportunity to cook your favorite foods and enjoy them warm from the oven instead of out of a Tupperware container stashed in your backpack.
Look for more rocks. Scope out projects on your rest days to avoid wasting time getting lost on the approach on your next climbing day. Better yet, look for new routes and start cleaning.
Explore tourist destinations near the crag. If you’re on a road trip, take a rest day or two to explore the local tourist attractions. Make sure to sample coffee and ice cream from every local shop to know where to revisit on your next trip.
Find cute puppies. Pet them. It’s good for your mental health and will make the puppies’ day. Don’t neglect seasoned crag dogs though; they enjoy love too.
Sleep all day. Sometimes you need a full rest day. Sleep in. Eat breakfast in bed. Go back to sleep. Enjoy doing nothing. Wake up early and send the next day.
Originally published May 26, 2015, on coffeetapeibuprofenclimb.blogspot.com.