Early training camps are a great way to kick off your best season yet.
Your “A” race may be months away, but the work towards that goal begins now. Whether you’re hoping for a first finish at a new distance, a PR, or a Kona qualification, a spring training camp can take physical and mental skills to the level required to meet and surpass your 2016 ambitions.
“Spring training camps are a period of focused training that hopefully pushes you beyond what you thought previously possible,” says Jesse Kropelnicki, founder and coach at QT2 Systems. “Hopefully, once home and recovered from camp, you can find a new normal, making your pre-camp limiters are a thing of the past.”
Some athletes shy away from early-season training camps, declaring spring to be “too soon” for such intense training. Though a certain degree of fitness is required for most camps, Kropelnicki says a light training load over the winter shouldn’t keep athletes from participating in a focused block of training in the spring:
“You don’t have to be in peak fitness for a training camp. Save that for race day. The goal of a training camp should be to push towards peak fitness. Whatever fitness you see during spring camp should pale in comparison to your eventual peak fitness. Your pre-camp fitness should serve as a mere stepping stone.”
To find the right camp for you, Kropelnicki suggests conducting thorough research of the options available, including a phone call with one or more coaches involved with the camp being considered. Understanding the demands of the camp, along with an established rapport with the coaches, will help each athlete hit the ground running.
A few (of many) camp options in the United States for 2016:
Solvang Tri Camps
For athletes looking to log big miles in a short timeframe, Solvang Tri Camps offer a week-long “Spring Fling” camp with daily rides ranging in distance from 30 to 80 miles. Rides are bookended by swim and run sessions, transition practices, seminars with coaches, and catered evening meals.
Team HPB Tri Camp
March 3-7 and 10-14
Headed up by Ultraman Champion Hillary Biscay and über cyclist Maik Twelsiek, this Ironman-focused camp pushes athletes to challenge themselves in new ways by providing a variety of iconic workouts over the four days of camp, including Biscay’s famed 100×100 meter swim and a ride up Tucson’s Mount Lemmon. Two triathlon camps are offered by the team in March: one for athletes training for a 12-plus hour Ironman, and one for those shooting for a sub-12 performance.
QT2 Systems Elite Age Group Florida Training Camp
Designed to challenge an athlete physically and mentally, this high-performance training camp from keeps its four-day agenda under wraps until it’s time to complete a workout. The element of surprise helps campers learn to cope with uncertainty, making for a more resilient athlete in training and on race day.
Carmichael Cycling Climbing Camp
Santa Ynez, Calif.
If 2016 is the year you’ll finally find your inner billy goat, this camp is for you. Over the course of three days, coaches at this cycling-focused camp will cover the techniques and skills to be a faster climber on the bike as well as how to maximize the downhills for speed and recovery.
HITS Tri Camp
Though the five-day camp is a group experience, athletes in at the HITS Diamond Mills tri camp receive swim, bike, and run training based on individualized goals – be it an Olympic distance PR or covering the full 140.6 miles for the first time. Family members focusing on other events, such as a marathon, can partake in concurrent training sessions, making it a training getaway every can enjoy.
February 29-March 5
TriSutto coach Michelle Barnes will provide individualized coaching for technique and training as athletes log miles in and around the national parks near Scottsdale during this week-long training camp. Those looking for the chance to don some neoprene in the early season will appreciate the scheduled open-water swims in Canyon Lake.
Discomfort Zone Spring Training
This five-day training camp makes the most of what Asheville has to offer: cycling on the Blue Ridge Parkway, climbing on Mount Mitchell, trail running on the famed Shut-In Trail, and a go-for-broke time trial in the velodrome. Looking for an extra challenge? Register for the Assault on The Carolinas, a cycling race with 100, 60, and 40 kilometer options the day before camp starts.
Quest for Excellence Swim Camp
If you’re looking to shave down your swim time, consider a focused weekend of training at the world famous Wall Aquatic Center on the campus of Northern Arizona University. Masters swim camps with instructors from the High Performance Sport Center include one-on-one instruction, video analysis, group workouts, dry land training, and workshops on physiology, technique, and injury prevention.
Purplepatch Women’s Tri Camp
Marin County, Calif.
During this three-day cycling immersion camp, women will receive form, technique, and nutrition information tailored to the specific demands of the female triathlete. Though rides will be the central focus of the weekend, coach Matt Dixon will host runs and open-water swims in addition to education sessions with experts in physiology and nutrition.