I’ve always enjoyed my DIY training camps. In my fell running days I’d head off with a friend for a week or two and just run in the hills every day seeing how many Munros we could bag and enjoy a pint or two in the evening whilst recounting our exploits. Having discovered triathlon these training breaks became more bike focused; I would go and stay in a pub in Scotland and run in the hills before breakfast, bike during the day and run off the bike every day. I’d always assumed that I’d be unlikely to find someone else that would enjoy such things. Then I met a like –minded female; Jo, and whilst others were signing up for organized, coached camps, we just started doing our own high-volume thing together. Sometimes we’d invite other friends along and they’d always remark on how different our approach to the week was from any of the ‘official’ camps that they’d previously been on. In a good way! Then we went on an Epic Camp and realized there were loads of people that also thoroughly enjoyed pushing themselves through a massive week of training and that the right sort of group environment could really enhance the experience. We started to think about organizing our own camp that would be a combination of our cheap and cheerful DIY approach and the fully supported, competitive group environment of Epic Camp.
It’s amazing how easy it is for a casual idea to become a reality. The initial step is so easy – and before you know it, it has it’s own momentum. We were on one of our ‘camps’ training for Ironman Lanzarote 2010, with various friends joining us for parts of it. One evening we were having dinner with a couple of Jo’s sponsors and discussing our idea of organizing our own formal EverydayTraining camp. This would be a down-to-earth training camp fully focused on getting out and training with a group of motivated individuals. There would be no picking and choosing of sessions, no lectures in the evening; just swim, bike and run everyday with some competitions included to add to the fun and ensure some harder paced stuff. We also liked the idea of a ‘camp completion’ target to motivate people.
They both immediately offered their support. So with just the inkling of an idea, we had our sports nutriton from Powerbar and camp massage from The Tri Touch covered. The dates were agreed around that table and the wheels were in motion….
We got a booking at a cheap hotel that we like, set up a flyer advertising the camp and sent an initial invite to our athletes and Tri London members. Before we knew it we were sold out, deposits were paid and we were off for a winter in Christchurch.
In our final months in Christchurch the work really built up. We put together the schedule, finalized bookings and managed to get several more sponsors on board to provide discounts, goodies and prizes. Jo and I were very lucky to be able to draw on the many connections and sponsors we’ve built up over the years and managed to get recovery products from For Goodness Shakes and prizes from Vivobarefoot, Freespeed, Blueseventy, Tri Grand Prix and Ten Point Tri.
Ahead of the start of the camp we spent several days in Lanzarote riding various routes to check our timings, measuring courses and going through daily timetables and logistics and priming the local bike shops for the inevitable urgent requests! It was a great bunch of people that turned up for the camp, many very late on the Saturday night who had a quick dinner and put bikes together ready for Sunday’s early morning start.
Next day we were off. Everyone threw themselves in to the camp and hammered the first of 5 races, a 10 mile TT. For Jo and I it was all such good fun – but we really hadn’t appreciated the amount of work we‘d need to put in ‘behind the scenes’ each day. We were doing several hours before the day started and were working till midnight going over details for the following day. We wanted accurately measured racecourses where we could, and good marshalling. Luckily we’d got some friends to come along and help with some of the riding and marshalling and had a great masseuse – a key part of the camp not only to rub sore legs but to be a sounding board for the athletes. At the end of each day athletes reported their training which made for some funny statistics and kept everyone motivated as a group – for instance the group climbed a total of 132km in the camp!
We’ve had the most amazing and exhausting week. The goal of an average of 30 hours training per person in 6 days was achieved and I think all athletes discovered something about themselves. For us we feel like this is the start of something and have plans for a couple of similar camps next year as well as hosting some weekend camps along similar lines in the south west in the meantime.
(For full details of the day to day happenings on camp go to http://www.everydaytraining.org.uk/TrainingCamp.html )