After a great week of helping TriSports Lanzarote in the design and delivery of their first Beginner’s Triathlon Camp I feel strangely refreshed and invigorated! This is unusual after a week of work on a training camp, where not only are we required to fulfil the camp’s scheduled training, but have several hours of planning, logistics and other details to attend to before the start and after the end of the camp day. In this instance, although the training loads were lighter (with most athletes at novice level and planning towards a first Olympic distance race this summer, our average of 3 hours per day would be triple their usual training load) we would be delivering at least one coached session each day, with theoretical talks and demonstrations in the evenings. Daz and I felt that our roles as coaches on this camp should include giving informal advice or helping with any kit set -up required during any down-time too. This had the potential to be very draining – pedalling a bike for 5 or 6 hours is less tiring than being “on duty” for 15 hours of the day! However, my own experience was rather surprisingly different – and not only did I enjoy the company of the group who signed up, but I found the whole process of being able to share knowledge see them take it onboard and apply it, and make great progress through the week very satisfying. Their enthusiasm to learn and try everything totally restored my love of the sport, taking me back to the very roots of the very best times that I had as a novice triathlete myself…and what it was about the sport, and those involved, that got me hooked.
Both Darren ( AKA coach Daz, or Dazza) and I have coached beginners before, however (in my case at least) this has generally been restricted to an hour -90minutes sessions, once a week. Whilst this does offer beginners the chance to learn and practice specific triathlon skills, meet other novice triathletes and pick the brains of the coach – from a coaches point of view, the focus is very much on delivering the planned session and there is limited opportunity to help develop individual athletes. The fantastic thing about this camp has been that, in spending all week alongside the athletes, we have been able to watch and guide them as they put their learning from the coached sessions into practice. It was very satisfying that all of our beginner-campers were very highly motivated to learn (I suppose that this was already established by them booking onto a week-long camp!) – taking notes and asking LOTS of smart questions – and we saw rapid development of their skills, and confidence. Everyone got along really well and encouraged one-another through what was a very tiring week, with both physical training and the mental load of all that learning!
Luckily we were well -catered for by Deb’s magnificent kitchen, Daz’s bike and kit maintenance service and the well positioned sun-lounger “recovery zone”. Having the facilities at Trisports all on hand (pool swimming, underwater filming and swim training aids, bike hire and repairs, vehicle support, transition racking and equipment, and matts, roller and equipment for stretching and core work) made life super-easy for coaching and setting up training sessions.
This first year’s was quite a small camp, and we ideally were hoping for a few more participants. However, at the end of the week, Daz and I concluded that had it been very much larger we’d not have been able to give such close attention to each athlete or taylor the sessions according to their needs as we had done. We have agreed that in future running of this camp, we will take on a maximum of 8 campers to ensure the same quality of coaching attention.
Thanks once again to Powerbar who supplied the camp with sports nutrition and water bottles to keep us energized through the week!
We have yet to set the dates for next year’s Beginner’s Tri Camp, but it’s likely to be similarly timed to be just ahead of the domestic (UK) race season – so watch this space!! For those considering this camp, or recommending it to a friend, here’s a summary of the week’s activities:
Beginners’ Triathlon Training Camp 2014
Monday, 5 May 2014
Arrivals on Saturday 26th April:
Assemble or fit bikes and then a short spin to check them
Day 1 ( Sunday 27th ) :
AM: Pool swim session and introduction to swim-bike transition skills. The main set included 4 x 200m swim, building intensity, followed by a T1 drill practice!
AM: Ride: 40km group ride with coffee stop – in rather windy conditions. This was a great opportunity to practice working together as a group to reduce workload.
PM: 5km run soon after the ride
Evening: Talk on Nutrition by Jo Carritt
Day 2 :
AM: Sea swim session with short laps around buoys. Coached element focused on sighting, buoy turns, and practice of entries and exits.
PM: BIKE Hill repeats session with coaching on climbing and descending techniques, working through use of gears and practicing descent with 8 reps of a 3minute climb. 70km in total!
Run: short brick session with 1-2 km immediately off the bike
Day 3 :
AM: Coached pool swim with Daz, focused on individual’s technique and drills work
AM: Track Run session – coached by Jo, with focus on pacing. A set of 4x200m, 2x400m, 1x800m, 2x400m, 4x200m with pace adjustment according to distance
Evening: out for meal in restaurant
AM: sea swim with wetsuit stripping practice. An opportunity for a longer, continuous, swim and sighting practice, ending with a “race” exit and wetsuit strip race.
PM: Long ride to practice our hill climbing and descending on a more challenging climb – the famed Tabayesco ascent, with descent down “the switchbacks” . 50km in total.
Evening: talk on “Writing a Basic Training Plan “ by Jo
AM: Short pool sessions with Daz filming swim stroke underwater
AM; Bike-run transitions skills session. An introduction to T2 with practice built into a multi brick training session. 3 x (5km bike transitioning to a 1km run), building the pace on each one.
Evening: Meal out in local restaurant
AM: sea swim with 3 x 600m laps, sighting buoys, with optional beach run to assess if this is a faster strategy. Another “race exit” with run up the beach and wetsuit stripping practice
AM; 40 minute run along beach front. The coaching element of this was to aim to ‘negative split” by running out for 21minutes, and still get back in 40.
PM: Long ride taking in some of the great scenery of the island now that we are more confident in the wind and of the hills. 80km
Evening: review of swim stroke footage and stroke improvement tips by Daz
Day 7: (Saturday 3rd May)
AM: pool swim, endurance session set by Jo and an opportunity to put into practice Daz’s swim technique tips