Being an endurance athlete is a constant struggle to meet the requirements of your training with the constraints that your life presents. From available time to physical health to geography, your top priority is finding a way to be consistent in spite of these challenges. After all, we don’t all live and train in sunny SoCal!
While not every facet of your life can be “solved for,” it is possible to use a Training Camp to add in some important volume to complement your season program.
Defining A Camp
What is a training camp, you ask? A training camp is a focused block of time where you can add training and learning into your athletic portfolio. But not all camps are the same, so be sure to know what it is you are looking to achieve.
- Newer athletes will benefit from camps with a greater educational/hands-on environment, where more experienced athletes will thrive in a more independent setting.
- Single discipline camps are great to improve your cycling, but won’t help other areas of your multisport lifestyle.
- Travel camps will include equal parts logistics and adventure, so be sure to pack your patience!
- All camps will include other athletes, so be prepared to interact and learn from others.
Short Term Camp Gains
The quickest improvements campers will make will be with regards to their aerobic fitness. Four days of cycling, for example, could easily equal a month’s worth of long rides. Hello, fatigue!
Campers will often pick up training tips and tricks that can improve their experience:
- How to descend properly
- How to shift on a climb
- Properly fueling strategy/timing
- How to accelerate recovery
- Better use of technology and/or new technology exposure
Just how beneficial these elements is dependent on each individual athlete.
In terms of fatigue, will the athlete be able to recover? Will she be able to build off of this boost into the rest of her season?
In terms of technique, will the athlete integrate the new lessons learned? Did he truly capture the change from camp? Will it have the same effect “at home” as it did at camp?
Long Term Camp Gains
Even a short term fitness boost can improve a whole season, especially if the athletes is able to continue with a relative level of consistency when they return home.
More importantly, the educational gains will accelerate each camper’s athletic evolution. Instead of reading articles about bike handling or running technique, athletes will have individual experience and feedback on their personal form. Talk about valuable!
By and large the biggest impact is on a social level. There are incredible benefits to having deep social connections with other athletes on a similar journey. Train for a weekend…friends for a lifetime!
Is a Camp Right for You?
At the end of the day, your sport is a hobby. It should be just as much fun as it is a challenge. Strive to embrace the adventure of exploring new venues and challenging your fitness limits. Don’t spent your whole life indoors, or staring at a powermeter — breast the mold to enrich your athletic lifestyle with something challenging and fun.
Do it right, and the aforementioned benefits will be yours. Even better, your motivation and lessons learned will carry you long into the season.
The only questions is…where should you go for a training adventure this year?