There has been a lot of commentary over the past year around the appropriateness and the content of triathlon training camps (there are some notable articles floating around by Sutton and Tim De Boom).
Personally, I have not had an opportunity to stop work, go away with some quality training partners and put together a solid week of training for a number of years. After consultation with Trent, I recently devised a long training week up in Noosa.
From my experience with high performance camps, they can often leave athletes prone to injury in the first few weeks after returning to normal training (which is often higher intensity). With this in mind, below are some of the key things we focused on when setting the schedule:
- Goals: We first sat down and worked out what the goals would be for the week. For me this was to increase my riding mileage and to try and run at a stage of fatigue I had not done before.
- Structure and load: With a focus on riding we were able to set appropriate rest gaps in the program enabling me to optimise the load without creating outrageous fatigue that would result in symptoms of overtraining. The idea was not to make it hell but to make it challenging and achievable.
- Key sessions: I targeted three key sessions for the week that were to be my A sessions. Firstly, a long hilly 200k ride followed by run, a “super session day” mid-week followed by a test tri at the Luke Harrop triathlon.
- Sleep: Going away for a week to train is rare. To make the most of the time, and to ensure I absorbed the training load, we made sure that none of the sessions started at sparrow fart. Allowing us to enjoy the sleep-in and added flexibility around timing.
- Nutrition: Make sure you have a chef handy (thanks Kel) and plan all your sports nutrition (at the very least for any key sessions). Being fully fuelled meant that sessions could consistently be backed up.
- Recovery sessions: We planned a number of fun sessions which included an open water swim (which happened to feature Pete Jacobs and Belinda Granger) a couple of easy spins through some scenic locations and some off the beaten track runs. I also included lots of time in the pool for recovery and a number of long walks and stretching sessions.
Statistically, I got through 20ks in the water, 700ks on the bike and 100ks of running.
The test for the week was the Luke Harrop Tri. This was a short but challenging race included to test how much of the training I had absorbed. It was not going to be easy. I was off the bike in second after spending the bike recovering from a swim marred by someone pulling my leg in the first 100m. I had a great first 2ks of the run but fell away in the final 1500m with the fatigue of the week really hurting my speed. Not unexpected. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with the result, third with a final run time of 17.51.
I would have to say the moral of the week was to make sure the mind was rested from the drain of routine training, to successfully get through the sessions albeit at a stretch and enjoy the location and company. The goal for the next few weeks is to ensure I don’t get injured by maintaining and monitoring form and being careful not to get overly excited with intensity of group training too soon.
If you are putting any thought to a training week consider these points and ensure you plan it closely with your coach.