There’s nothing better than a ‘low gravity’ day on the climbing wall. And in 2017, I was having a fairly ‘low gravity’ season; I was training harder than ever before, consequently rocketing my climbing ability, and even more consequently, pushing my competition rankings closer and closer to the elusive first place. I made my first World Cup final, then another, and another, and I ended the year beaming as I stood on the podium for the first time. This certainly wasn’t something I pictured whilst sitting on the beach in Vietnam just over half a year earlier having been so mentally exhausted from a decade of climbing competitions. But like I said, 2017 was the year I trained hard… not smart.
As a climber, your fingers are probably the most important tool you have. So when I ruptured three pulleys after this incredible breakthrough season I was devastated. All sorts of questions i never thought I’d have to ask myself – at least not at the age of 21, and what I’d hoped would be the start of a highly successful climbing career – were suddenly circling constantly in my head. I’d decided against attending university to focus my efforts solely on climbing and moved away from home to be close to the best facilities for climbing in the UK.
This injury was the biggest lesson life has taught me so far – if I want to climb at a high level for a long time, I need to listen to my body and put its needs first. That means giving it rest when it needs it, and giving it the fuel it needs to train hard. The start of my relationship with PhD coincided with my change in attitude to start training smartly, and I was immediately attracted to their focus on what it means to perform smart, and how easily their products fitted into my training and daily life routine. My go-to snack is the PhD Smart Bar – they’re perfect for a boost during training, as a portable crag snack mid route in Spain or my as a reminder of home food at World Cups in China. Competitions and rock climbing take me all over the world and routine is something I value a lot, so you’ll always find me making my same breakfast porridge in my hotel room with the PhD Pharma Whey (banana is best!). These reliable fuel sources are essential to me making sure I’m giving my body the best chance to perform as well as it can.
Currently I’m training for the last Olympic qualification event in March and the 2020 Lead World Cup season, putting the hours in in the gym and on the wall. 2020 is climbings’ Olympic debut and it’s always been a dream of mine to represent Great Britain at a games as prestigious as the Olympics. If I want to be in with a shot I’ll have to make sure I perform smart, getting everything out of the training sessions and recovering as well as possible.
By Molly Thompson-Smith