The Benefits of a Training Camp

There are some really obvious benefits from going on a triathlon training camp which most of us would think about when booking one…a warmer climate, a break from work, more time to train and getting some miles in the legs.  All of these are very true but there are many other mental and physical advantages to taking that time off work and attending a training camp. Below we look at some of these and discuss how it can help you prepare for the next challenge ahead.

Motivation, not the first thing you think about when booking a training camp, after all we all have it, we are triathletes!! But having that training camp booked can really add to it. We have athletes attending our camps tell us how having the camp booked had given them extra encouragement to be more consistent in their training, knowing they had a camp in the diary. It’s not just beforehand but during and afterwards as well. During the camps it is always great to see not just us as a coaching team helping to improve an athletes confidence and motivation but also fellow athletes who, as we see time and time again, always pushing and supporting each other. It amazes us how triathletes who barely know each other do this so well and so quickly.  A great example of this is we like to start our camps with a little fun circuit session on day 1 – we split the group up into two’s or three’s making sure each athlete is not with someone they know – within 5 minutes each group are like best friends pushing each other and trying to beat the other groups (all in a fun way of course).

After a successful training camp you should be leaving it with higher motivation levels as well, which will have a huge mental benefit for when you get home.  The amount of athletes we see at the end of a camp with extra motivation to take on new tasks/work on technical improvement once at home and put into practise what they have learnt on camp with us is great to see. They leave knowing they can now take a step up.

Coming back to triathletes working together and another great benefit to joining a training camp…meeting like-minded people with similar goals to you and sharing training stories, inspiring each other, discussing races they have done and giving new ideas to each other for future events. It is amazing how much triathletes talk to each other and having a week together with a group, you will learn from each other about triathlon related subjects and lots of other things as well! We have seen lots of amazing friendships being formed on camps over the years from people meeting up at races, doing non sporty social activities together, to a couple getting together and even getting married!

Putting a marriage proposal aside, learning and improving at the end of the day is why we attend a camp, we want to get better at triathlon! A good camp should always have a team of qualified and experienced coaches who can help you through the week to improve your performance. We mentioned above leaving motivated to improve once you get home and it’s the job of the coaches to ensure you have this. The benefit of a camp unlike say an online seminar or even a day clinic is the fact you get a longer period of time (usually a camp will be 4-7 days) to allow a coach to watch you day in, day out and offer advice and critique as you go along. This time ultimately means you get a better understanding of what you are doing, can ask questions and keep fine tuning over the period of the camp.  Think of a swim stroke correction, the coach tells you your left hand is entering the water incorrectly, discusses it with you and watches you trying to correct it. You think great you have cracked it, but the next day in the pool go back to your old habits and start putting it into the water incorrectly again, guess what…your coach is there to help correct it again, and the next day again if needed….how often do we get this kind of close and regular feedback! A training camp allows this, and for all three sports, meaning you get to keep asking questions and attain information on what you are doing each day to ultimately help you improve.

Along with technical improvements a camp can help you improve with the higher volume of training you will be doing compared to at home. Most of us with regular jobs will be squeezing sessions in around work, kids and other life admin jobs we do. A camp allows you more time to train and get some extra volume in. Across a typical 7 day camp we have athletes of all abilities riding 5 times a week, running 3 or 4 depending on what sort of camp week it is and swimming most mornings.  This might sound a lot and it can be to most but with a schedule to allow rest and recovery and different speed and pace groups for varying abilities, we make sure our training camps push your limits but mean you keep improving and are not overdoing it.  We have athletes, especially beginner ones,  who might be doing their longest ever rides with us and we watch them get stronger and stronger every day but always highlight that the schedule is there as a guide and never compulsory, and that come the end of the camp all athlete will have likely built up a higher level of fatigue than usual,  which is a great benefit to training as long as once home they let this training volume ‘soak in’ with a few easy days!  These sort of things along with training principles, training zones and testing are all things we discuss on our camps during evening seminars – again another benefit and learning opportunity while on camp.

We have mentioned attending a training camp means you are away from home and regular life and this alone can have great benefits to your training in terms of time but also mentally gives you a break. You have a different view, our camps are usually always by a lake or the sea, you can enjoy open water swimming and be outside more whether it’s getting some fresh air walking along the beach, through the forest, in an open air pool or cycling through the mountains – all of these can help you clear your mind and switch off from our busy lifestyles.  A structured week, planned by someone else, means you don’t have to think about what you should be doing and can allow the coaches to guide you each day. As one guest once said to us…”I like it, I don’t have to think I just turn up and you tell me what to do!”

So whether it’s not having to cook a pre training meal, think about pool lane bookings or wondering where to ride that day, a training camp allows someone else to do all the logistics and other ‘little things’ so you have time to relax, clear your mind, maybe even visit the hotel spa and focus on triathlon training.

A training camp can be suitable for all abilities and allows you no matter what level or experience, to improve technique, learn from other like-minded athletes as well as coaches and form friendships. Yes you will get lots of riding in, practise those descending skills, think about how you are running and need to be thinking about your refuelling but it also gives you a chance to have ‘a break’ and a holiday doing something you love doing.

Challenge Tri Camp do both Pre and Post Season Training Camps which are (February-May/Oct-December) with the focus on technical improvement and building volume into your training along with Race Specific Training Camps (Approx. 6 weeks before the race) which are more focused on familiarisation of race locations and swim, bike and run courses to provide an advantage come race day.

We’d love to hear from you if you are interested in a training camp, want to discuss options for a camp later this year or have any questions on which type of camp would be most suitable for you.  Visit us at Challenge Tri Camps.