It is around this time of year – when clubs/athletes have finally gotten fed up with the standard whatapps confirmation that the long weekend spin is cancelled due to wind/rain/snow/sh**e (delete as appropriate) – that most of us pack our bags (and bikes – how fun is that!) and head off on a warm weather training camp.
Now aside the annual argument that it is not a “holiday with my mates” with the girlfriend – I am a massive fan of getting away to the sun for a week in the pre season. Now these camps can be self run, club run or with a private coaching company.
After experiencing a number of camps from a coaching and/or participant point of view – I have put together a list of Dos and Don’ts for people so that you maximise what should be a fun, rewarding block of training.
- Do make sure you have some idea of what the camp agenda is and make sure you will be ready e.g. if there is a lot of biking planned – get your base mileage up to a decent level.
A camp will not make you fit from zero – it can however push your base training onto the next level if you arrive with some training volume in the bank.
- Do pack carefully – I know that the leaflet says “Warm Weather Training” camp but there is no-where that is immune from the odd cold/wet/windy day -so throw in a few bits of rain/wind gear.
Oh and if bringing your own, plan to pack your bike a few days early. This allows you time to make a trip to the bike shop if you run into trouble (Or when in my case “Yes lads – it is me again and yes – I still cannot take my pedals off – Yes I am an award winning triathlon coach …. <blushes>”)
- Do take a couple of days off training before the camp – as not only is it a good idea to turn up to the camp someway fresh – you will need spare time to do all the packing/last min shopping etc
- Do listen to your body as the week goes on – usually there will be a swim/bike/run session each day – but if feeling fatigued on day 3 – skip one of the sessions to allow your body/energy recharge.
Just make sure you advise the group leader when you are not going to attend a session as you will not be very popular if everyone is looking for you rather than training!
- Do take naps – it is not often that we get to train/act like pros – this is one of those times – so between the bike and run session – take a 30 min power nap and feel the benefits.
- Do not put yourself in the wrong group at the start – as most camps will break up cycling groups into beginner/intermediate/advanced – if unsure what level you are at, you are better off putting yourself into an easier group at the start and then move up the next day.
The alternative is you are flogged from the start in a group too advanced for you and will be playing catch up all week.
- Do not assume that just because you are training for 12 hours a week + for the first time in your life that you can eat/drink badly.
Unfortunately it does not work that way – especially important when there are all you can eat desert buffets as part of the package! (yes I am living proof it is possible to gain weight on these camps – 4 years in a row!!!!!)
- Do not throw yourself back into training after returning home – your body will need to adjust from the heavy training volume and to your usual weather.
So give yourself a nice easy recovery week post camp – otherwise you may end up injured/ill and lose all the potential benefits from your time in the sun!
If done well – a pre season training camp can be a launch pad for a great season and can be great fun training like a pro with your mates/club/like minded triathletes.
But make sure you follow the above 8 simple points to get the best out of a camp – and more importantly embed the benefits for the rest of the season!
Right I have a small trip to make to my local bike shop – something to do with a “broken” pedal spanner and my upcoming trip to Lanzarote 😉
Train hard, Train SMart folks
Steven Moody has starred in the corporate rat race but found his greatest source of satisfaction came from his 20 years of endurance racing including numerous IRONMAN finishes and world championship qualifications
Realising this fact, Steven abandoned his cubicle and moved into full time coaching. Steven is now Tri Sutto, IRONMAN UNIVERSITY ®, ITU and Training Peaks level 2 certified and in 2017, was awarded Triathlon Ireland Coach of the year.
Browse his pre-built training plans by clicking here or if you have triathlon queries you can contact him via firstname.lastname@example.org