31 December 2011

Working class hero: Webb Parsons

Chris with his girlfriend Alex Puccio, #3 in the WC 2011.
(c) Chris has often done the IFSC live streaming commentary
(c) Heiko Wilhelm
Chris Webb-Parsons has been one of the best boulderers in the world for several years. In 2011, he did all eight WC's together with his girlfriend Alex Puccio and his best result was #6. Next year, Chris aims for the podium and he is training some 25 hours a week based on a programme from his coach Christian Core. "To be honest, I simply trust Christian and I do exactly what he tells me to do with the training."

Could you please give some insight of your training?Well the training I'm doing right now is all for the world cups in 2012. Christian Core is training me. The training I'm doing is planed out on a day to day basis. Christian and myself have been close mates for a long time now and we talk about many things by skype and since Christian is one of the most accomplished climbers in the world with loads of experience it seemed appropriate that he should be the one to train me. I have never had a trainer/Coach before.

Over the last year I don't feel I have progressed as much as I should have given the amount of training I have done. I have been training the wrong things at the wrong times and doing far to much which has made me go backwards with my climbing. If anything my main problem I have had is my training has not been structured and I have over trained, I have not given my body enough time to recover. For most of last year I felt tired and worn down all the time and I'm sure its because I was doing to much unstructured training. I did not do horrible last year in the world cups, I did have one good result in USA where I made finals so I know I can do well in the comps.

I am the type of person who needs to train lots and lots to be a good climber. The training I'm doing now is based on percentages of how much I train each week, for instance week one I will stop training when I'm 60% fatigued and then do other exercises. Week two is 80%, week three is 100% and week four is 30% etc etc... The training is involved, right now I also do weights one day per week.

I meet with Christian once or twice a week on Skype and we talk about the training. I have the next two months planed out but we might need to make some changes along the way.

A big thing with me and the world cups though is getting my head in check. I do not have much competition experience at all so 2011 was a massive learning lesson for me and aside from learning what I need to train physically I have also learned that I need to do lots of mental training to be able to block out certain pressures or expectations. When I say expectations, its expectations I put on myself. I had to put aside the fact that just because I have climbed hard boulders on rock does not mean I will do well in the world cups. I have to learn to relax and just climb like I would when I'm rock climbing or training.

To be the best in the world cups does not mean you have to be able to boulder 8C on rock, for me bouldering 8C was much easier than winning a world cup is going to be. I'm sure I can go and sit under an 8C get to work on it and one day ill climb it but I have no idea if ill ever have what it takes to win a world cup, but I have to believe I do.

I'm training three days on and one day off then two days on and one day off. For instance this week.... Monday is rest day, Tuesday short hard boulder in the morning and a hangboard session then a campus session in the afternoon. Wednesday is weights and weighted pull ups, Thursday is power endurance with a hangboard session. Friday is rest day. Saturday is bouldering in another climbing gym and sunday I can go on the rock or any climbing gym I want. I'm never climbing on easy boulders, all the boulders are at my limit, so i'm always trying hard. Christian is a great friend and I'm grateful to have a person like him coaching me.

But there is no glamour, not even a shoe sponsor, just very hard work and absolutely no financial support from his Australian federation.
"I'm in debt on my credit card right now due to the last WC season costing me so much money. I'm slowly paying off my debt now although as soon as the 2012 WC season starts the credit card will come out again. I have to pay for everything including my uniform to compete in, my IFSC license, my climbing association membership, competition entry, hotel, travel etc.... So it all adds up.

I'm sure I could climb so much harder if I had more financial support. I think another thing is the added pressure I put on myself being a self funded climber in the WCs. If I don't do well in the comp I get really down, ONE because I did not climb well and TWO because I know how much money I have spent to be there."