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The Triathlon Training Camp – the Holy Grail of Peak Performance?

(Photo-Intelligent Training)

By Clinic Ambassador and Pro Triathlete Alice Hector

It’s been a harsh winter for us British athletes. Once we hit minus numbers and snow abounds, our training grounds become treacherous or closed, pool timetables change and cycling is confined to the ‘Basement of Dreams’. The happy snaps of athletes who have gone off in search of the sun sit in stark contrast to our stationary indoor workout sessions, staring at a magnolia wall or, if lucky, with a computerised version of our cycling friends.

So training camps have to be part of the plan in order to train properly, right? Think of all those extra bike hours, the uninterrupted swims, the running in minimal clothing, the extra daylight. Wouldn’t that all just be fabulous?
Not so fast.

The thing with winter is that it does impose valuable limits. In a sport with a ‘more is better’ attitude, and in which training 3 times a day is a very real possibility, it can be a good thing to have barriers that keep us from pushing these limits tirelessly.

Once in the sun, and usually with a group, the pace inevitably goes up a notch. Fresh legs, clear roads, no work, race on. You could respond well. You could combust. Or you could be the embodiment of self-control and leave them to it; the doubts about your own ability creeping into the forefront of your cranium. Whichever way you do it; good luck with that!

New beds. Noisy neighbours. Flat sharing. Heavy training. A timetable that is not your own. All can disrupt the balance of hard training and recovery, and have you tipping into overtraining syndrome before you know it. A night or two is tolerable, but should your sleep quality falter for any more than this, training effect will be compromised.

Living the dream does not necessarily mean chasing the sun. Of course, it can be wonderful to catch a break and enjoy a change of scene and some quality training, but make sure you stick to your plan, and be sure to take advantage of the quality recovery time that a camp affords.

Remember, results come with consistency, routine and training smart. So, if you’re after peak performance, you can venture to far off lands, but it’s also there for you in your basement, if you want it enough!

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