Many cyclists and triathletes (and the occasional runner) head for warmer weather at this time of year to get in a Spring training camp, but what are the benefits and possibly the pitfalls of packing up and jumping on a plane to head south?
Are you just jumping on the band wagon, or is there purpose in your trip?
As you might know we are heading to Denia in Spain for our annual Spring camp in just a few weeks time (contact us to check for last minute availability), and for us at Sportstest we run this as a training camp, not a cycling holiday.
There is a subtle difference…
Whether you travel alone, as part of a club group, or on a organised camp, the major advantage is that you should benefit for better weather (hopefully!), cycling friendly roads usually with less traffic and often with the addition of some great climbing and descending.
Many really enjoy the advantages of riding in a group, the skills you can learn along the way, or just the cycling “banter” that can occur.
For me though, the biggest benefit I see to my clients is the ability to put in a big training week, where we pretty much eat, sleep, train, and repeat the process again.
Quality time spent on the bike, is enhanced by quality recovery time, and some educational work thrown in for good measure.
The usual chores of being at home are not there, someone else is cooking and cleaning for you, and the biggest “commute” you might have to do is from your room to the restaurant!
However, I distinguish a training camp from a cycling holiday partly by the level of social activities that take place. You will realise I am not a fan of stopping whilst out training and we try to restrict café stops to the end of the days ride (a support vehicle will provide constant top-ups of energy and water), and you are unlikely to be able to stop frequently to take photos!
Likewise whilst a nice glass of wine or a cold beer is usually enjoyed with the meal, over-indulging means the benefits of the trip can be lost (this is not a boozy holiday with the boys!).
Your training camp is about getting the most from your week, targeted for a time of the season where an increase in volume and some good intensity can give you a great kick start to the season.
You do however have to be careful that you don’t succumb to over-training, and be aware of the stresses that travel puts on your body. Likewise, it is about being sensible when you get home.
But a training camp at the right time can give you massive benefits in fitness for your season!
Whatever you decide, have a great start to your season