Training camps or training holidays come in many forms. If you have been lucky enough to attend one, I'm sure you will have formed your own opinion as to its value. However I would like to offer 7 of my own thoughts, to help you decide if a camp could be part of your season in the future.
From the UK, there are many choices of training camp or holiday; early season Canaries, the Spring time cycling mecca of Majorca, Portugal or mainland Spain. Emerging as exciting new camp destinations are Eastern Europe, and of course there is always the beautiful and often overlooked UK.
The chance to down tools from everyday life and focus on training for your season’s A Race is certainly a bonus for lots of triathletes.
Many will attend a camp to chase a big week of ‘volume’ (lots of time training, and numerous miles). But there is much more to a training camp. Here are 7 benefits of giving yourself some triathlon based ‘you time’:
The ability to sleep for 8-9 hours a night, in (you hope) a comfortable bed to recover from not just the training that week, but the accumulation of training you have done back home, and the stresses of work, family, home commitments. It can get you back into a good habit of early to bed, early to rise, and really get back to prioritising your sleep.
This is a huge one for me. Many of us use the likes of Zwift, Facebook groups, Instagram, turbo trainers and treadmills to while away the hours of training and get our tri fix.
Many of us train in isolation, work in isolation, do triathlon when our friends or partners do not, and utilise these methods of staying in touch, but nothing replaces the real face to face connections.
Triathlon training can be a lonely process. Sometimes having the ability to be part of a like-minded group on the camp can bring a better sense of connection with people, which can positively affect your mental health, leave you feeling revitalised, and it’s not uncommon to meet life-long friends at training camps!
3) Change of Scenery
You will no doubt experience new cultures, traditions, views, climates and often bum-pleasingly blissful road surfaces!
Camps are an opportunity to lift your head up from the TT position and see whats around you! In Majorca in Spring the colourful wild flowers are such a treat after the UK winter. UK camps can be in areas you have never experienced, with wild animals, stunning vistas and new cafes with local delicacies. Let that lift you and give you energy, a break from the norm can be so enriching. You know what they say… Travellers come home richer!
4) New ideas and coaching methods
You may be going on a camp that is run by your coach. You will get to spend time getting to know each other better, which can be invaluable. If this isn’t the case, make the most of learning new methods of training from the coaches, and fellow athletes. Be open minded and take what you can from their experiences. Most of my race choices have been borne from other people’s experiences and recommendation. Once again, keep an open mind and you will come back with a full one (& probably having booked a new race!)😊
5) Relax and recover
This is the big one. Learn how to live like a pro for a week!! Switch off from everything, sit in a deck chair or the hot tub, grab a book, and kick back. You will be amazed how well you perform with the luxury of maximum rest and recovery.
I am hoping you have picked a camp based on the deliciousness of the food!! Fuel is key, you are asking your body to train more frequently and with more intensity than at home, so you need to fuel VERY well right form the start of the week. It’s also a great chance to try new foods, maybe even new pre-race or race day nutrition. Just like sleep patterns, if you’ve slipped into bad food habits recently don’t panic, use this camp to get you back on track.
Successfully getting yourself and your kit to a tri camp in one piece, in my opinion, is a challenge akin to winning Kona.
You have a holiday to pack for, flights to catch, bikes to squeeze into boxes, personal items to remember, logistical issues of transfers, worries of charging all your technical kit. And you have THREE sports to do all this with!
But do not panic. There is a lot of help out there, if you pick the right camp, and they will talk you through it all in plenty of time for you to get organised. Once you return home in one piece your confidence will soar that you have managed to achieve it all, and probably already thinking about booking the next one!!!
Where to go?
Of course to reduce a lot of the logistics, there is always the UK camp option. Driving to the venue, with your bike fully built, no flights, less chance of catching bugs on the plane, no transfer issues, and no Euros to purchase. It’s worth a thought, and a long weekend UK camp is ideal for a quick getaway with maximum time for training.
Mojo is running a few very friendly, fully coached and catered tri camps this year. With both UK and Majorca options, weekend or week-long, and catering for all abilities and race goals, click below and take a look: