Falling off the wagon

It has been quite an eventful few months; Sophie and I completed the Alpine Coast to Coast, I managed to get out for some of my own climbing, and we have been back in the UK meeting friends and family, even giving a few talks. And falling off the wagon. Hard. It has been amazing but I have made compromises en route that have led me to where I am today – pretty disappointed and feeling a little too sorry for myself.

Missing that first session is a slippery slope

Prior to the Alpine Coast to Coast, I was so psyched for all my training; kettlebells, running, climbing, and anything else I could throw myself into in Chamonix. I knew once we left that all of this would become more complicated, that by being on the road I would need to work harder to keep my routine together and keep my motivation and drive up. It really proved to be much harder than I thought.

Our plan was for each of the cycle legs to take at least two days but Sophie’s drive and determination quickly put paid to that with us racing along the first three in a day a piece. This added time pressure to my days and the first thing to go was my own training. Between the long days climbing and all the driving, I started making excuses. Before I knew it, we were coming into Switzerland and it had been 10 days since I’d swung a kettlebell.

Routine is key, to building strength as well as keeping motivated, and I fell out of mine.

With my routine in disarray, I then started to feel guilty about the missed sessions – something completely in my control but, at the same time, feeling completely helpless to do anything to change it. I don’t handle guilt very well and get very defensive about whatever I feel guilty about. Sophie would encourage me to do a training session but I would then build up an irrelevant chore into something much more important and of a higher priority than actually making myself feel better with a training session. Besides, I was still putting in long days on the hill and so was getting my exercise in, and then some, but not the strength work I had put so much work into and seen such great results.

This is the hardest part. The lack of strength training has taken its toll – I have really lost a lot of the hard work I had put in and, with the StrongFirst certification just two months away, I have had to make the difficult decision to post-pone my attendance. Hand on my heart, it was always going to be a close call getting up to strength in time and with the missed training, I don’t believe I can make it, nor do I feel able to take the risk of paying for a course without a decent chance of success.

This is just half the story.

Food. My biggest weakness,

How I approach nutrition and eating has changed dramatically in the last year with us learning about the foods that make us feel good and those that don’t. We’re pretty clued up as to what works and what doesn’t and have a growing catalogue of recipes to call on for any occasion. This is great when you are at home and have proper refrigeration and hobs with more than two heat settings (scorch and char).

The length of the days we were putting in also meant we needed to change the balance of our meals and so, once again, we fell out of our routine and into an anything goes way of thinking. This is fine – well, maybe not fine, but ok – when you’re climbing for 14 hours every other day, add to that Sophie’s cycling and she was most certainly not able to consume sufficient calories to balance out the output. For the entire month, we ate whatever we liked, whenever we liked and were only getting fitter, stronger, and leaner.

Once we stopped, however, my eating didn’t go back to normal.

Getting back to Chamonix, then London, without a proper training routine, I continued to eat quantities that are too large coupled with foods that don’t make me feel great. Much like the training, this is completely in my control but I have felt lost to change it. The results are a little paunch forming on my previously toned tum and a general feeling of complete disappointment.

All that hard work has gone to waste.

I know it hasn’t. I know that getting my butt in gear will turn it all around but I’m feeling pretty low about it all right now.

Turning the tide.

I am being rather melodramatic here but it’s amazing how big the small things can feel. I am where I am, however, and cannot change that. I can, though, change where I will be tomorrow. I hope, by writing this post and putting it out into the real world, .it will help motivate me to stop feeling sorry for myself and get back on the wagon.

Tomorrow we drive back to Chamonix. There is a brief weather window for some hopefully amazing mixed climbing and Sophie and I are even doing a shoot for a trail running brand. Getting back home, getting outdoors, and stopping moping around feeling sorry for myself is exactly what is going to get me back on track and feeling great.

Now, where’s that chocolate gone…

by Charley Radcliffe

4 Responses to “Falling off the wagon”

  1. Amanda

    fab. I have faith in you and your drive. Those kettle bells will get back into the garden and get used everyday. Enjoy Chamonix.

  2. Kelly Maclennan

    Love your brutal honesty in this blog.. only because everyone (especially me) can relate to it.. its hard to be good all of the time! I have no doubt that you’ll get back into it quickly, after all, it’s your determination that got you here in the first place! 🙂 It’s good, to hear the bad with the good! Keep them coming..


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)