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It’s January. Christmas is over and a new year is beginning. That can only mean one thing, right? Time to shake off the Christmas laziness, hit the crags running and get stuck into some serious climbing. Wrong. For me January is all about resting. Complete rest, 25 days break from climbing, total disconnection.

People often ask me how I can cope with not climbing for a month, but the truth is that I love it. The training year is so intensive that by the end of it I am both physically and mentally exhausted. By the time the rest period (or “parón”) comes round I am longing for it to begin. It’s a chance to fully relax and recover and enjoy spending time doing other things that I don’t usually have time for.  And by the time the new training season starts in February I will be psyched out of my mind and itching to get going again.

For me the most exciting time of year is starting back after parón. Being out of shape gets me really fired up to train hard, and reading blogs written by the many famous climbers who are starting their year in the same way is very inspirational. At this time goals are also set and dreams of what the year might hold are born

This year we ended the 2011 season with a trip to Catalonia for some climbing in Margalef and Siurana. This fantastic area of pocketed and crimpy limestone with grades and angles to suit everyone is justifiably popular. I had a few ideas of routes I wanted to get done on the trip, but unfortunately it wasn’t  to be. However, after  10 days of near perfect weather, fantastic climbing and some near misses we headed to Barcelona so I could catch up with my coach and have a couple of days mooching round the city. And I can honestly say that there is no finer way to kick off parón than chilling out in this magical place.

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