by Gordo Byrn
One of my recent articles touched on the overload required to qualify for World Champs. If you want to achieve your very best, the article lays out what’s required for success, particularly at training camps.
For most of us, life is about a lot more than being fast. That said, it is a lot of fun to hang around with fast people. This week, I write about how to train above your fitness level.
I just finished a mini-camp in Kona, where I was outgunned and needed to use a few survival tactics to limit the damage. With your early season camps and group training sessions, these five tips might help.
Running: If you want to ride with athletes that are stronger or simply more aggressive, limit your run load in the days leading up to the camp and during the camp. Hold your normal run frequency but slow your pace and cut the duration in half.
Swimming: For a three day camp, swim before/after the camp rather than during. At camp, have the strongest athletes swim (and run) before breakfast so they get about two hours of training done before you ride. The Big Dogs will get hungry during the swim, they will eat a huge breakfast and you’ll get to draft them while they digest.
Don’t Cover The Alpha Dog: Tired triathletes are pack animals (dogs, wolves, hyenas -- I’ve seen all types). When I’m really fit, I can help control the bunch. However, when outgunned, I need to be smart with my efforts. Don’t cover the Alpha Dog when he or she attacks. You want the strongest riders up the road early -- ideally smashing each other! Make friends with the moderate folks and save your legs.
Let Go and Relax: Use the group environment to have fun and roll miles. The pace is likely to be erratic and you’ll have to accept what’s being handed to you. If the pace gets silly then roll out the back and do a solo TT set. At our EC Camps, we always have a coach at the back so the “sanity option” is available to you (or me if I need to regroup!).
Pick Your Moments: One of the challenges with having young kids in the house is using my willpower for fatherhood rather than athletic excellence. My daughter’s bedtimes can be misery when I’m exhausted, so I have found clear limits to the training load that makes sense. For me, the best way to be a good dad is to follow a mantra of “never get tired.” That is a good life strategy but leaves me wide open for retribution for all the pain and suffering I’ve dealt to my training pals over the last decade...
Still, if I wait, limit my running, get them to swim first, go light at breakfast and don’t cover the Big Dogs... I can squeak in a couple of “moments.” I might be riding out the back at the end of most stages but I’m having fun and doing way more than if I was stuck at home in the winter.
Make time to make memories!
Gordo is the founder of Endurance Corner. You can find his personal blog here.