On the first two training camps I went on when I got into triathlon properly in 2010/2011 - both times I was delighted to hit 30 hours of training – smashing out bike miles and quadrupling my weekly swim mileage, unable to lift my fork at dinner each evening – that’s if I could even keep my eyes open. Whilst that was fun, it’s not really a great use of annual leave when you get back home needing a holiday, and then you need two weeks’ rest to get over the chronic fatigue! ‘Typical age grouper behaviour’ as James would say. Things are a little different now that James has shown me the light. The week in Spain with a couple of the Optima full time athletes in February was just what I needed to give my training a pick up when the days are short and cold at home. Whilst my Ironman this year isn’t until June, and my training block for that not starting until April, February is ideal timing for a week away, during our low volume, strength and skills phase of winter training.
So what do we do on camp with Optima? I normally do three sessions in each discipline per week and on camp those key sessions and their progression don’t really change other than the long easy bike maybe being a touch. The additional volume is all in extra easy sessions in each sport – recovery/technique swims, café rides and beach running (although those of us not quite at peak efficiency don’t find the sand completely easy!).
Whilst I still have moments where my ego/chimp wants to be doing more – taking advantage of the mountains, blue sky and clear roads – the result of the week is always spot on. Swimming daily sends me home with some feel for the water and enthusiasm to get in the water more regularly, and being in an environment with great food – and plenty of it – plus the ability to get 12 hours sleep a day means you go home well rested despite the bigger than normal week, and ready to nail the next phase of the training block.
By Paul Burton - twitter.com/Pablo_Burt