Mammut athlete Jakob Schubert is considered one of the top title contenders at the World Climbing Championships in his hometown of Innsbruck. He gave us an insight into his training leading up to this major event.
Jakob, the World Championships in your hometown are imminent. Is the pressure greater here compared to other competitions?
The anticipation is huge. I was born and raised here, my family and my friends will be among the spectators, an awesome feeling. That's exactly why a win would be absolutely fantastic. Sure, it all adds to the pressure but the anticipation more than makes up for that.
The advantage is: I can sleep in my own bed, know where to get good food and feel completely at ease in my normal environment.
"A win at home, especially in lead, would be my biggest dream come true!"
You're competing in lead and bouldering events. And you're taking part in combination too. Where do you see your greatest chance of a title?
Lead is definitely my strongest discipline. But in training, lead and bouldering are closely connected. Good bouldering power is really important for lead climbers as longer routes have elements of bouldering too. What's more, both of them are a lot of fun. I've also increased my speed climbing training this year. So I'm really looking forward to the combination competition too.
Let's take a closer look at your training. What does your daily routine look like in the weeks leading up to the championships?
As the championships are taking place in my hometown, I'm continuing my usual training. Normally, I train on the climbing wall for around 20 hours a week and do something extra to help compensate such as stretching exercises. The week before the competition, I will reduce the number of hours so that I am fresh for qualifying.
What does your training involve specifically?
My training isn’t super structured. I spend most of my time right on the climbing wall. I work on lead as well as bouldering and focus on the strength of my fingers, good technique and explosive power. I listen to my body and do exercises and routes that I enjoy. So sometimes my training time is shorter but the quality is higher. Since last year, I've had some really good experiences training this way. Fun and motivation are therefore clearly key areas of focus.
"Normally, I train on the climbing wall for around 20 hours a week"
Are there any days when you don't feel like training?
No, never! I still have such a blast when climbing. Training is even more fun at Innsbruck’s new climbing gym. I take a week-long break from climbing once a year. Apart from that, I'm always climbing.
Is there anything in the training itself that you don't like?
Yes, especially flexibility training. I should definitely stretch more often but I just don't enjoy it. Consistent motivation and having fun are important factors for me; performance happens as a result. That's why I always weigh up effort and gain. I think that if I did invest a lot of time in something that I don’t enjoy at all, then I'd maybe become a little more flexible but there would certainly be some negative consequences.
What is your diet like before a competition?
I don’t have a diet plan. Of course I make sure that I eat healthy food but I’m also lucky that I can treat myself to a steak or a burger without putting on weight straight away.
What music do you have on your playlist to motivate you?
Hip hop and rap are good for me! I also love old classics. Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar can always be found on my playlist.
What do you do once the competition is over and the pressure is off?
When one competition finishes, it's nearly always time for the next one. Even when it comes to the World Championships, there is only a week until the next competition starts. I'm also not the type to take a long time off after this kind of event. If a gold medal does happen, it will of course be celebrated in style! A win at home, especially in lead, would be my biggest dream come true!
Jakob, thank you for the interview and good luck!
#innsbruck2018 – The Climbing World Championships – greater than ever
From September 6 to 16, Innsbruck will become the Mecca of the climbing world. Over 700 athletes will be competing for medals in front of 30,000 fans. Visit the event website here and buy your ticket now. www.innsbruck2018.com