How to Prepare for Your First Local Climbing Competition
Updated: May 3
So you have a climbing competition coming up? Climbing is a beautiful sport because you can make it what you want. Are you looking for a way to stay active? Climbing is excellent for increasing and maintaining fitness. Are you looking to make new friends? Climbing is a highly social sport. Are you looking to challenge yourself and enter the competitive climbing scene? That's what we were hoping to hear you say!
With the increasing popularity of climbing and the plethora of new climbing gyms, there are always local climbing competitions, and more likely than not, one will happen at a gym close to you! You've come to the right place if you are ready to take on the challenge and prepare for your first local climbing competition. But before you start training, we have a few tips to help you ensure you properly prepare for the competition!
Determine Your Goal for the Climbing Competition
The most important part of preparing for your first competition is to ask yourself what you want to get out of the competition. Remember, this is a local competition, so while it can be competitive, there will be beginner, intermediate, advanced, and potentially an open category. In other words, climbers of all levels will attend, so winning doesn't have to be the only goal.
Once you determine your goal, you can create a training plan specified for achieving that goal. Check out our suggestions based on climbers' popular goals when entering their first local competition to get you started!
You Want to Win Your Category
Okay, great! You want to gun for first place. The first step is to create your training plan and stick to it. Ask your local gym if they have any instructors to help you with this! Tell them that you want to target your weaknesses while maintaining current fitness. This may mean focusing more on dynamic movements while maintaining a high volume of climbing. Or, it may mean focusing more on technique and less on dynos. You know what you are better at, so self-evaluate and go from there!
You Want to Challenge Yourself
More likely than not, if this is your goal, then competing is scary. There are a lot of nerves and anxiety associated with the idea. You should focus on your mental game and headspace if this is you. Some examples include pushing a little bit harder when you feel tired, making one more move before quitting or completing one extra climb at the end of your workout. The more comfortable you become with being uncomfortable in your training, the less nerve-racking the actual competition becomes.
Recruit a Climbing Buddy
After you've determined your goal for the competition, you may need help to commit to training or find the motivation to push yourself. To combat this, we suggest you recruit or find a friend! Many local competitions attract recreational climbers; odds are, someone you know at your local climbing gym would love to sign up too! Preparing with a friend and training partner will make the process more enjoyable. It'll also help with the day of nerves to have someone competing alongside you whom you feel comfortable around and who can cheer you on!
Prioritize Fuel and Recovery
Another essential component in preparing for a big athletic event is fueling and recovering. Busy schedules and diet culture make it easy to overlook these two prep components. However, ensuring that you are eating enough, drinking water, sleeping well, and taking rest days in the weeks leading up to the competition will help you feel your best in training and, more importantly, the day of the event. The event will likely last for multiple hours, so bring water and snacks to ensure your energy stays high for climbing.
Our final and arguably most important tip is to smile at the wall before you begin a climb. This applies to training and competition. Trust us. We don't care if you think you look silly. It's a guaranteed way to get you out of your head and remind you that you are here at the end of the day because you love climbing, which makes you happy. If you're enjoying what you are doing, especially during the competition, you've won at the end of the day!
Hopefully, this article has helped you feel confident in your preparation for your first local climbing competition. We wish you all the best in your training and competition, and we'd love to hear how it goes in the comments below!