We’re 5 days into the inaugural running of EPIC Woman Camp on Lanzarote, an 8-day training camp for highly driven women of a certain mentality…..and EPIC one!! Many of this group of 9 have attended Tara’s ( Tara Norton) State-side camps before, and are well practiced in the art of cramming as much training into a 12-hour period as possible. There are one or two weary bodies and minds, but even after 4 tough days (I’ve personally swum for 4hr40, ridden 18 and run 4hr50 in the 4.5 days since the start of the camp, others have done more) there’s no sign of slowing down. This has been a bit of a shock for Daz, coach and co-owner of the TriSports Lanzarote villa which we are using as our camp base and for logistical support. Daz gets to see many, many different camps, groups and individuals who come out to train for a week at TriSports….which are, as is the triathlon community in general, mostly male. Even those billed as “high level”, “endurance” athletes don’t have half the energy that he’s seeing displayed by this group of mostly amateur women of all ages (including a mother-daughter team!) …and i think he’s feeling rather shocked by the revelation!! I’m personally really pleased to hear him expressing this, since many people’s perceptions of a Women’s camp, is a somehow down-graded version on a male-dominated camp.
There are differences, of course. That most tri camps are heavily cycling oriented, and that in general the difference between male and female’s strength is greatest on the bike portion of our sport, means that our ride pace is somewhat slower on this camp than it would be on a co-ed camp. Unfortunately what tends to result in that environment is the women are lumped into a “slow group” …given less challenging routes and coached at a lower standard than is appropriate for their level of skills relative to their gender (You can read a more thorough article on the topic at whichtrainingcamp.com).
On EPIC Woman we can address this – although it must be said that the ethos on Epic Camp does centre on self-reliance and initiative -i.e we don’t train as a group so much ,but rather train with a common goal – pushing our OWN limits within a group, or groups, of like-minded athletes who may or may not turn out to be training at a suitable pace for us to buddy up for workouts.
This has taken a little adjusting to for myself, accustomed as i am to “leading” – or at least encouraging the formation of – groups who will work together through the camp’s training schedule …but as the week goes by I’m getting back into the old EPIC vibe…there’s a points competition which does reward speediness, but to a greater extent it rewards volume…like crazy volume. Done a 3km swim, 10 run and 140k ride already today? Well why not do another swim set this evening…or set the alarm to enable a sneaky run before training officially starts tomorrow …see if u can pick up an extra point? Fun Times :o)
Most of the girls, including myself, have been writing blogs each day from camp- you can read them here: