Tuesday Night Bouldering - Page 2
Climbing increases balance and body awareness.
“Climbing can be very delicate,” says Houghton. “You’re constantly using your body as a counterweight to balance yourself.” In short, you have to learn to trust foot placement, grip small holds and effectively use your body weight to maneuver up a wall. Says Jeff Jackson, editor of Rock and Ice magazine, “If your balance wavers for a microsecond, you’re falling.” Learning to focus on balance development will no doubt make you a stronger trail runner, especially when it comes to uneven, technical terrain.
Jackson continues, saying that more than just balance, “poise” is also crucial. “Height and its inevitable corollary, the perception of danger, can mentally rattle you and shut down your physical systems, effectively freezing you and bringing on a dangerous rush that flushes fatigue through your muscles,” says Jackson. “The mental disposition of balance in the midst of tension is also a key aspect of climbing and is something that feeds your life in all kinds of positive ways.”
How does this translate to the trail? Think about a particularly difficult run, when your muscles were fatigued and you found yourself stumbling over rocks and roots, losing form and slowing down. Utilizing balance and poise in moments like these will keep you from ending up at the finish line, bloody-kneed.
Climbing is fun and social.
And while this last point isn’t going to improve your running form, it does provide a bonus fun factor. If you have climber friends, you’ve probably heard them all talk about “hanging at the crag.” Indeed, climbing offers ample opportunity to socialize and just hang out. Says Alison Osius, a Rock and Ice editor and columns editor for Trail Runner, “In climbing, you really have dialogue: on the ground or at belays in roped climbing, and a lot of times in bouldering, except when you are hard at work on a problem. But you rest in between, and spot each other.”
Need more info? Looking for a climbing gym near you? Check out Rock and Ice’s extensive list here.