In the first few months, I found that I could climb fairly consistently at the standard I’ve been accustomed to over the last 5-10yrs and around 3-4 months into the ultra-distance training, I was happy to still be climbing and making first ascents on 8b+/8c cracks and my body just about felt normal. Initially, I thought that perhaps I could be superhuman and maybe everyone’s moaning when they say they can’t do everything… (I should have had a word with my future self right then!). As the summer came though, I started to really feel the weight of the cumulative training burden on my body. Each week that came and went, I found it harder and harder to muster up “quality” climbing training sessions and no matter how much I tried to convince myself that a hard fingerboard workout was hard, I knew in my heart that I was only putting a “90% show” on. It was the same when I’d go outside and work on a boulder or route – I’d select to do something that I knew was a touch under my limit. At first, I didn't notice, but once I did, I made the depressing realisation that I didn't have the motivation to change it anyway. Crap!
By the middle of the summer, I started to feel like I'd lost my top-end strength and power, which I had limited amounts of anyway. I've always been the type of athlete who can go all day and training endurance is easy, so the last season of consistent loss of strength was alarming. Each month that went by, I kept trying to talk myself into the higher quality sessions, but I just couldn't suck it up. This was pretty depressing for me because I feel like I never lack motivation or the ability to suffer, whatever happens. In the end, I chose to accept that my body and my mind were giving me a dual message of "F-off Tom, we're not sticking with you" and I went easy on myself. Man, even writing those words, sounds like I totally wimped out. Did I? Maybe, maybe not.