John, my husband, is fond of saying, “Triathlon is a winter sport that is played in the summer.”
Indeed. Most of us spend a good deal of time training through the winter months, working on limiters, building strength, setting the foundation for when the racing season begins in warmer climes.
But, let’s face it: it’s now February, and for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, we’ve been pushing through a few months of the colder temperatures, freezing rain, and piles of snow. It gets old.
Am I right?
Some lucky endurance sport enthusiasts will take time out for a training camp in warmer climates: Arizona, Florida, Southern Texas, to name a few of the popular spots. These training camps come complete with experienced coaches, professional triathletes, and a group of like-minded comrades, willing to work their bodies for anywhere from a few days to a week (or more!).
Sounds great, right?
Sure, but then you look at the price tag of the camp (without even paying to get there), or you realize the timing of the camp doesn’t fit with your life, or maybe the intimidation factor of a camp is too much, or maybe you just like to train solo (guilty!). Regardless of the reason, you can’t find a camp that will give you exactly what you want or need.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t still have a training camp – you just need to improvise.
A few weeks back, I kicked my own arse for a week in a do-it-yourself style training camp, as part of my overall preparation for the Florida Double Anvil (a double-iron distance race), which will be held on March 18-19, 2016, at Lake Louisa, in Clermont, Florida.
No, there weren’t fancy coaches. Just me.
No, there wasn’t a big group of athletes pushing each other day in, day out. Although, I was lucky to have a friend or two join me on a few of the sessions!
What there was in my DIY camp: a fantastic week of training, without the need to balance life, work and everything else.
The idea for this solo training camp came about when I realized two things:
- Winter time is cold New Jersey, and not conducive to outdoor riding. Okay, I didn’t “realize” this – I already knew it, but let’s say I processed it fully as part of setting up my ATP leading into the 2016 season.
- There is a new course for the Florida Double this year, and it’s in Clermont, Florida. Having raced in Clermont back in 2014, I remembered one thing about the area: hills, some of which can be aggressive–shockingly so considering impressions of Florida as mostly flat. While the group discussion on Facebook about the Florida Double Anvil indicated there weren’t any aggressive elevation changes, I craved some certainty so that I could structure my at-home training more specifically to the new course.
What follows are some tips from my experience in the event that you’d like to DIY a personal training camp of your own.