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Alternative Warm Weather Training

Balancing Warm Weather Training with Non Training Partners



Warm weather training has become a popular alternative to your usual holiday as you can combine a fabulously sunny destination with your favourite healthy pastime such as running or triathlon. You can even end your holiday with an organised race so not only come back with a tan but a race medal!

This market has become big business and the fitness package holiday has emerged, with chalet style accommodation and large groups training in isolated all-inclusive camps. A bit like Butlins for runners!

As runners and triathletes become more aware of how to train effectively they are looking for more bespoke training to meet their exact needs. Many people can’t afford two holidays a year so somewhere combining tailored training and sunshine, while also catering for the non-athlete would be ideal.

Authentic Spain

Southern Spain (Costa del Sol) has been a favourite destination for holiday makers for decades but people are now discovering the true Spain east of Malaga. You can take advantage of the low cost flights to Malaga and then drive east to the Axarquia region and in to the mountains to explore a uniquely Spanish area where health and fitness are woven into the fabric of the white washed villages.

Cómpeta is one such Moorish village. Driving up the coast from Algarroba you pass picturesque olive groves, Moscatel vineyards and avocado trees clinging to mountain side. The sight of oranges, lemons and mangos sitting ripe on the boughs of the trees you pass makes you realise you have arrived in the real Spain. The largest mountain in the province of Malaga, Maroma, over looks Cómpeta and reminds you are in for some great, challenging training!    



As you come around the mountain you see Cómpeta with its white houses stacked higgledy-piggledy, quaint plazas and cobbled streets, full of signs of their Moorish past. At the centre of the village is an impressive church built in 1512 and plaza (town square). The church bells still ring to signal the time. At 650 metres the views down to the coast are amazing, with the curved coastline of Torre del Mar in the distance very distinctive. The town is known for its artist population and guided walks through the Almijara Sierra mountain range. Cómpeta has retained an authentic air with its artisan shops, market selling local produce, authentic restaurants and traditional festivals. Traffic jams do not exist but the roads are sometimes blocked for a few minutes to wait for the local goat herd to cross the road.

Outdoor activity

Cómpeta, as you can imagine, is not your usual back drop for a triathlon camp but Chili Tri has made it their home. The camp has been set up to provide coached training for swimming, cycling, running and strength & conditioning, alongside an open-air gym to provide cross training options such as HIIT, Circuit Cross training, static cycling and Pilates classes. All of the training takes advantage of the fantastic weather with the majority of it outdoors with views down to the coast.

Chili Tri also offer an endless pool (water treadmill) for swim stroke video analysis alongside the usual video gait analysis for runners.

Coached running sessions take place in the mountain trails, on the modern local 400 metre running track and the beach running route. Cycling ranges from challenging mountain climbs similar to Alpe d’huez to flat fast coastal time trials. For the swimmer then, apart from the endless pool, there is a 25 metre pool or open water sea or lake swims.



The camps are fully coached by BTF, IRONMAN and ASA certified coaches and during your stay you will follow a bespoke training plan to meet your exact needs and goals. The camps are limited to four people and include accommodation, coaching, training venues, transport to venues and fitness classes. Chili Tri also have a therapy room offering sports kinesiology taping and sports massage. For the non-athlete various activities can be arranged such as horse riding, kayaking, art classes, yoga, guided walks and more.

The camp was given a stamp of approval when Paralympic silver medal winning Lauren Steadman came to train for a week in the run up to Rio.

There is so much to see and enjoy that your holiday need not be a compromise between sightseeing, chilling by the pool and winter training – in Cómpeta you can have it all!


Karen Parnell Profile

Karen Parnell has been a triathlon coach for 6 years, is a British Triathlon Federation Coach,  Tutor and an IRONMAN Certified Coach. She is also a Personal Trainer and Sport Massage therapist. She has coached in the UK and now coaches in Southern Spain at her own training camp (www.chilitri.com). She has raced all around the globe (UK, Spain, France, Taiwan, Korea, Honk Kong and the US) from sprint triathlons to half ironman distance and up to marathon distance running races.

Categories: All topics, Triathlon

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