Training camps are great to get away from winter weather and increase your volume to build your base. You will have the opportunity to accumulate higher training volumes and this coupled with proper rest/recovery (not rushing off to a hectic daily schedule) can provide an excellent stimulus to your body. Motivational group and coach-led training creates a perfect environment for improvement.
Choosing the right time to go on a training camp is key. Too close to your "A" Race may leave you without time to recover sufficiently. Too early may mean that you haven’t acquired the base fitness needed to complete the training camp. You will need to check what the camp offers and think about what you want to get out of it. Usually, camps will fit well at the end of your base phase and the start of the build phase.
Integrating your Training Camp and Plan
Training camps can be structured or (for a more relaxed approach) have a self-planned format. You will be able to increase your volume during the camp week. By how much, is individual and should be based on your current fitness, goals and consistency of past training.
These offer different levels according to ability and specific events. Select a camp appropriate to your level. You can then replace your planned training week (or two) with the schedule provided. Make the most of the coaching and group training. You can learn a lot in this environment to take away.
These will generally have all the facilities and a training schedule from which you can select workouts. You will have the freedom to choose from the program as you please. You may wonder how to get the best out of your training plan while benefiting from the camp. Here are some factors to take into consideration:
- Train in groups that match your abilities and training goals. You can stretch yourself within limits; it's not worth going too hard.
- The temptation to overdo it. Training too long or at an intensity that is too high can leave you fatigued for following sessions and prone to injury.
- You can use the opportunity to include more hours than your planned training. Any additional time should be low intensity and preferably in the pool perfecting technique. Or nice and easy on the bike, in a social ride.
- Make the most of your camp by utilising group opportunities and learning from fellow athletes and the coaches.
- Take advantage of massage and recovery with your feet up; it is something we rarely get in everyday life.
Adjusting your schedule:
- Avoid doing the hardest workouts on consecutive days. Typically long runs, or longer workouts with hard efforts.
- Don't do consecutive days of the same discipline if possible (but it's not the end of the world).
- Try and set swims for after runs; this will help your legs recover. That doesn't mean you need to swim straight after a run. It just means your next session after a run, should be a swim (if feasible).
If your camp coincides with an active recovery week, switch the order in your plan so that your recovery week follows the camp. When you return if you feel you need more recovery time take the first 24 - 72 hours as complete rest and reduce the intensities for the rest of the week.
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