by Ron Tribendis, D.C.
EC is doing its annual training camp in Tucson right now and I'm participating, along with several members of my crew from Texas. When I saw this topic come up as our writing point for the month I was excited to share information that’s been helpful to me and athletes I’ve trained in preparing for camps.
In previous articles I’ve mentioned that camps are a big part of my training, but I mainly spoke about how much fun they can be. I’d like to focus now on how to get the most benefit from a training camp. Here is how I approach a camp as an athlete and coach:
- The lead in - When I know I have a spring training camp coming up, I focus on preparation. That doesn’t mean race ready. You need to ensure that you are fit enough to be able to get a physiological benefit out of the camp rather than just getting tired. To address this, work toward a solid block of training that is consistent across all disciplines. Do not be overly concerned about length of sessions, just consistency. This consistency helps to develop durability. In my experience a camp is much more enjoyable when you are durable and healthy going into the week. The final tip during the lead in to a camp is to make sure you freshen up the week before. You are going to shock your system at camp. Make sure your glycogen stores are topped off and your body is ready to go.
- Camp week - The idea of a camp is to take you out of your comfort zone. Train full time and push the limits. The biggest advice here: resist the urge to go too hard the first two days, just because you’re coming in fresh. Set limits for yourself (for example, power and HR caps). Discipline yourself to chill out the first two days. It is best to pace a camp much like an ironman. Build into the week.
- Post camp - Refresh the week after the camp. How do you evaluate the success of a camp? By how quickly you can get back to a normal training week. I learned this the hard way. A few years ago when I got back from Epic Camp, it took me four weeks to get back to normal -- probably a good sign that I stressed myself too much. Post camp week is the time to assimilate back into normal life and let the week of training absorb. Remember camp life isn’t normal life. You can’t be expected to maintain that level of training when you have a job and kids. Get caught up on family time and other responsibilities while your body naturally recovers.
I hope these tips help you enjoy your training camp and build some quality fitness. Train safe.
Ron Tribendis, D.C., is a member of the Endurance Corner coaching network. He has been competing in triathlons for 10 years, qualifying for Kona and the 70.3 World Championships. He has also coached multiple athletes to Kona and Clearwater. He currently lives in Frisco, TX, where he operates a sports medicine chiropractic clinic, North Texas Performance Chiropractic. He is a USAT Level 1 coach and active release (ART) full body certified.