10 Reasons why everyone and anyone should put a training camp into their yearly schedule
All too often, Training Camps are bracketed for those who are deemed higher performers. However, we strongly believe that training camps are where the “magic” happens. Not least because they really are for everyone (who is a triathlete!). We genuinely feel that training camps are not a normal holiday and as such, the everyday triathlete can get something out of our experiences as long as they are after a trip that is more for them than what their “normal” friends would say!
Fitness increases – Obviously, if you go on a training camp, there is a focus on training volume, you will probably do more training. That in itself will bring performance gains, regardless of your ability, but it will also offset against the inevitable mid-winter lull. It means you can practice nutrition plans through your training and also you get physiological improvements just by working out in a warmer environment. There is a heat stress which makes efforts sometimes a little harder. Your blood thickens, your heart has to pump a little faster and then your body creates more blood plasma – this means you become cardiovascularly fitter…just by doing training in warmer climates, let alone doing more training! This also carries across when back in the colder climates, so you keep your fitness gains and your physiological adaptions!
Be yourself – this may sound weird, and why should that be number two on our list of reasons, but the reality, is that most triathletes end up wearing many hats in many roles– work, home, training etc. When on a training camp, you can wear your lycra literally all day long, talk about Watts/Kg, or the latest kit out there, eat three or four helpings and not only will people not look at you weirdly, they will probably join in. Totally immersing yourself in triathlon, your sport and your hobby may sound a little bizarre or even daunting at first, but in reality, you will find it is an excellent way to switch off – even if your “normal” friends won’t every truly understand!
Build friendship and camaraderie – This may sound cliché, but you will find like-minded individuals who attend training camps with similar passions, outlooks and values. To date, we have been so happy to see camp attendees continuing training or racing together, but we also see them commenting, giving kudos or congratulating each other long after their training camp experience. These are friends you may bump into at races around the country or in some instances around the world and may become your next best travel buddy!
Coaching – Okay, so you may not be coached by TTH (yet) or you may have another coach (that is also ok!) but time spent on one of our training camps if you do or do not have a coach is invaluable. You will have a coach looking out for you on every session – you get the feedback, technical analysis, advice on how to train, when to push, when to ease up and someone to ask all those questions you never quite knew the answer to! If you are coached and the coach is out on training camp too, it is an excellent opportunity to get to know each other properly and cement that coach-athlete relationship.
Proper food portions – we don’t do food lightly. We also ensure we cater for all sorts of dietary requirements. On our Portugal camp for example, we organise the menu around the training schedule so our catering staff review what the training looks like and ensure you are getting all the macro nutrients you need for the energy expenditure to recover and load for the next day of training. For most people, a trip away means the focus is on fine cuisine or on the quality of the restaurant. As a triathlete your biggest fear is running out of food! We like to balance the two – but we certainly look at ensuring you have enough of what you need too!
Time outside rather than on your trainer – We love indoor training. It makes things quick and easy for most athletes top hop on a trainer. But we also need to ensure that athletes are able to work on the skills that you can only get by working outdoors. Regardless of your performance, training outside will help you improve your skills on a bike or running, let alone being in the open water environment. Don’t spend all your time indoors hoping for a warm British summer evening to appear early in the hope of a pleasant training session…get on a camp where every day can be outdoors and in short sleeves!
Great facilities – warm weather destinations are chosen in many instances due to their ideal location to train, which usually means excellent facilities. Get a chance to swim in a 50m swimming pool, or run on top level running tracks. At the same time, you can roll round the country side on excellent roads and in beautiful scenery. Most people go on holiday to a location and see the sun lounger and the bar…explore the country you find yourself in and leave feeling well rested, well trained and well cultured!
Recovery is improved – When you end up on a training camp, you can focus on the training (it is in the name) but you can also work on recovering as hard as you train. When do you get the chance to do your training session and finish with the stretching that you know you should be doing – or what about those evenings you said you would do some foam rolling? When on a training camp – you can actually do all those things. And what is more…you don’t get cold between sets or repeats, you can carry on with the training session properly with the right amount of recovery between efforts! It may not quite be the normal approach to a relaxing holiday according to other travel agents….but what better way to relax after a long bike ride…than on a foam roller!
Fewer distractions – Triathletes are nearly always busy people – when one sport is already too much: try and do three…so when at home, we are always working out ways of squeezing out extra sessions, or minutes for a training session. When you come to a training camp, you suddenly find yourself with only three tasks every day: training, eating and sleeping – which means you discover yourself with so much more time on your hands. Either you can do more of the recovery points that you promised yourself you would do, or perhaps you will read that book your said you would read, sign up for that race or plan what to buy the children for their birthday…whatever you decided to do, you will find you can focus more on your sport and still have time to do those little things you wanted to do before!
More hours of daylight – If you are heading south for a training camp, then almost certainly there will be more hours of daylight than in the UK. Therefore, immediately the day becomes more relaxed than at home – you don’t have to fit a ride in before it gets dark at 5:30…! Not to mention, that more daylight, in sunnier climates means more vitamin D which is important for athletes, especially over winter as we know they are deficient in it. Probably most importantly of all, you get the chance to show off your tanned skin from being out in the sun all day – even if your colleagues don’t actually care how crisp your tan lines have become, they will be envious of your tan!