I want you first to throw out this “I am not a climber,” notion you might have. I hear this all the time, and honestly, no one really is a climber. Everyone has to work on it to get better!
Yep, climbing is hard. There’s just no way you are getting around that. So instead of fighting or dreading it, embrace it! With this in mind, begin each climb ready for the physical battle you are going to endure and enjoy the process of using your mind to overcome it.
You actually don't need climbs to train for climbing. To train for climbing you need to first address the energy zones needed, and then create the intervals needed to work on these zones.
Start the climb conservatively and let your momentum from before the climb carry you up the first part. Then, as you feel yourself start to slow down, gently apply pressure on the pedals little by little until you reach the minimum effort you need to keep moving up the climb.
Instead of focusing on “going hard,” focus on “riding the terrain.” People often sit up to try and “recover,” on the flatter parts of the climbs but this is where you can make the most time! Read the terrain and use more effort in places you need to keep your momentum.
Tense muscles restrict the blood flow, and thus, limit your already oxygen-starved muscles. Do your best to relax your muscles by a method similar to bio-feedback. Start with parts of your body that are already pain free, such as your hands. Relax them on your handlebars and then try and relax each muscle group from the hands all the way through your body.
Pay attention to your respiration rate to help you gauge your effort. Focus on taking deep and controlled breaths. As soon as you hear short and sporadic breathes, back off the pace a little until you get the rhythm back to normal.
Turn your brain off and focus on what you are doing! If you are thinking of all the reasons why you shouldn't be doing the climb, and all the things you should be doing instead, then you are going hard enough! Enjoy the struggle and throw out all negative thoughts!