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Preparing for your first training camp

Whether you are thinking about arranging your first training camp this coming spring or you have already booked, what do you need to plan to make sure your camp is a success?






The key to any successful training camp is to set your own objectives. Having done this, you may still decide to book onto a camp with a company which organises training sessions; if so, you need to research those companies to find one that gives you what you want.

With most people who have individually specific targets, a do-it-yourself camp is sufficient. However, many people find the camaraderie and behind the scenes organisation of a group camp helpful, especially if it’s their first camp.

The training camp should be a key element in your annual plan and can have a significant impact on how successful you will be in the coming season. You need to decide the type of training you need, whether that’s higher volume, more intensity, ascending/descending, extra skills coaching etc.

Before you leave for your camp, sample consecutive days’ training similar to your training camp schedule to understand the physical demands you will face on camp. Also try out recovery food and drink intake to make sure you have a strategy that helps you.



If you’ve booked in with a company and meet new faces there will be the temptation to over load the sessions. Boys will be boys and the testosterone levels will be high. Remember your training camp objectives and stay focused. The better athlete will be the one who completes all the training and meets their own personal goals.



This will probably be the hardest training that you’ve done. The volume will be greater and the terrain will be unfamiliar. Take each day as another small step towards your goals and don’t try to tackle everything in one go.


If you’ve booked for a warm weather training camp your body will need a bit of time to adapt to the sudden change in climate. Be cautious of the sun.



Plan your recovery strategy in advance of your trip. The nutritional recovery process begins as soon as a session finishes because the window of opportunity closes within 30 minutes of your exercise stopping. Have you got some protein ready for consumption within the first 10 minutes, have you got a high carbohydrate drink ready to be drunk within that 30 minute slot?



During your down time you may be encouraged to do some sightseeing. It is great to get away from a training base for a mental break but would your legs appreciate some rest? Stay out of the sun and take sun protection creams. Make sure you stay well hydrated, so your body has the best possible chance to recover.



Athletes fall into the trap of overeating whilst on training camp. They believe that they need all the extra calories they can get but by the end of the camp they can’t understand why they have put on weight.


You should factor in your refuelling and recovery strategy during and after each session to your daily calorie intake. Aim to eat a balanced diet rather than cram in all the pasta you can eat.


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