Training camps are good, because all you have to do is concentrate on one thing which is training, okay and eating. But that’s about it. Nothing else to worry about, no bad weather mood, no stress. Just training. However nobody goes into a training camp alone. You either sign up for one or you make up your own with your training buddies.
Why do you even go to training camp in the first place? So that you can compete with other athletes or to set the base for a successful season? Both can be fun. Make sure to figure out what’s motivating you to go. It makes a huge difference if you see your training camp as the peak of your season or as a building block for a season which will allow you to unfold your true performance capacity.
When you are going with different people, it’s important to remember, that you might not all be training for the same distance. Also, even though you are all athletes, that doesn’t mean that you all have the same training capacity, etc.
It’s good to train in groups and to push hard. But it isn’t good if compared to your normal training, you do at home, your now just double or triple the amount and start a race with the person next to you during every training session.
The trouble with training camps is that we always feel like we have to be tougher than the athlete next to us. We must cycle 20 km more and run 1 min faster, just because. It makes us feel proud and strong if we achieve it. Yes, that’s a great feeling but remember that when you come back home, you don’t want to have to recover one month or be injured or sick because you fatigued your body so much.
Generally speaking we’re going to assume that you want to use the training camp for your sustainable performance growth. How long should such a training camp be? Especially if you’re still at the beginning of your season, you’re greatly going to profit from a longer stay and a slower build up. The minimum length would be a week, better are two. The longer the camp lasts, the more relaxed you can go about it. If it’s a little later in the season, short “Crash- Camps” make a lot more sense to increase performance. These “Crash- Camps” have a duration of four to five days and can be scheduled by altering your schedule for that particular adding more workouts and more available time for each workout.
When you use 2PEAK to plan your training camp, you’ll most likely not run into any issues. If you have a silver or higher package with us, you have the option of planning a training camp. If you don’t, you can just purchase the training camp upgrade in your 2PEAK product overview. You then go to plans and click on adjust your time plan and then you’ll see the term training camp towards the top of your page so you select that. Then you enter your start and end date of the camp. During the camp, you can enter your own training sessions and 2PEAK will figure out any other training you should do and adjust accordingly, just like it works when you are using it at home. Therefore you won’t run the risk of overtraining or injury because of fatigue as long as you keep 2PEAK updated with your numbers.
Now, in order for you to have a complete guide for a successful and injury free training camp, here’s a list of how to go about it, step by step…
One week before
Is your bike all checked through and your clothes are prepared? We would recommend that you take your own bike with you to training camp. Badly fitting bikes and unknown equipment mostly only bring pain and stress with them. If you pay a special fee, bike transport is possible with most airlines. Make sure to get a stable cardboard box or if you have one, use a bike box. It also makes sense to organize the transport from the airport to the hotel, before you get on the plane. Worst case, you’ll have to find a flexible taxi driver there… If you do end up having to rent a bike there, bring your own saddle and pedals so that at least you won’t have any pain or discomfort at the contact points when riding.
Reduce your training load, the week before the camp so that you can arrive there relaxed and ready to go. But don’t reduce it to zero and do nothing! Also try to minimize any other sources of stress that arise before travelling.
Arriving & the first day
After you arrived, we advise you to do a little tour and check everything out plus to give your body a little time to acclimate. Enjoy your surroundings and the environment and do two hours of easy training.
You booked “all inclusive” and there’s a gigantic buffet? That’s great. But don’t overdo it. A rather light but nutrient rich breakfast is a sufficient base for your training. Since it is impossible to store any just gained energy (before training) in the muscles, it is better to start on “a light” stomach and take small snacks to eat during training in order to avoid a hunger crisis. In this way you’ll be able to go for and last for longer rides, etc.
Further more it makes sense to take about 500 mg of added Vitamin C as a source of Antioxidant when the training load is high. You can take this when you eat your breakfast.
Before the start
In bigger training camps, it mostly happens that you ride in groups. That’s not necessarily a smart thing to do, if you want to train seriously. The reason is, that in big groups there’s lots of protection from the wind so drafting is high. This makes the training on a flat too easy and often results in athletes going way too fast uphill. In general most athletes tend to already put themselves into the wrong group, when it comes to having to decide with whom to ride with. This sets the ground for later performance collapses. It’s better to start slower and go at your own preferred pace. Your best counselor in such a case is your heart rate monitor. Start on a flat where it’ll be easier for you to regulate the training intensity and try to stay in your Z2/ endurance zone.
It’s totally fine, if the lengths of your rides are longer than the ones you do at home because we do want a slight overload. But don’t go from zero to a hundred, it’s better to increase slowly. If someone normally trains around ten hours a week, he/ she can for sure do about twenty in training camp. Ultimately you don’t have the same work stress, etc. which you have at home, plus you’ve got more time to recover. But for example, to go from three hours of training a week to twenty is going to be a pain! A solution, in case you have to start with a small base would be a higher reduction of the training intensity. The goal is to, in any case, not come back from a training half dead because the next day you mostly have to train again.
Does that seem too complicated? You can also do it the easy way and use your 2PEAK plan. If you plan a training camp in 2PEAK all your parameters will be taken into account and the training camp will be tailored to you personally including the pre and post training camp phases.
A common mistake is the “zero diet” on the bike- this is often connected with the hope of losing some weight. It’s better to have a steady flow of sufficient nutrients and a not way too high training intensity level. If you watch out for those two things then automatically, a big part of the energy will be gained from body fat and the added carbohydrates, bars, gels and fruit only support this process. Useful are the same means that you use during a race. A cheap source of energy are self mixed Malt dextrin- drinks or carbonated fruit juices.
Ultimately you lose weight while in training camp because the total energy balance turns slightly negative. That works the best of you train a lot and don’t eat like a maniac after training (especially from the wrong things)
The two hours following a training session, are the best time to fill up your energy stores. Right after training you should drink a recovery drink. The most ideal is a drink rich in carbohydrates with some mixed in protein source (for example chocolate milk). A sandwich with chicken is also a good alternative. Relax, put your legs up… after a maximum of two hours after the training session was completed, you should make sure to consume a carbohydrate filled meal, to reload the carbohydrate stores which were emptied during your session. This meal could be a big plate of pasta. Try to stay away from any alcohol.
After this first meal, it’s time for you to relax again. A massage isn’t a bad idea either. However, avoid saunas after and intense training session.
It would be entirely wrong, not to eat anything after your training and starve and then eat way too much at dinner or scarf down junk food. Because this already set negative tones for the next training. This is due to the fact, that once the time frame in which the carbohydrate levels should be filled is over, a full recovery is impossible.
Since most of the used energy was already put back into your body with the meal you ate in the two hours after training, dinner can be rather moderate. Depending on your hunger and the finished training load, eat some more carbohydrates and some good protein (fish/poultry) and vegetables. You can eat as many veggies as you want. Good fast (fish/ vegetable oil) are also encouraged. Stay away from saturated fats (fatty dressings/ fatty meats). Also avoid raw vegetables, as they spend a long time in your stomach.
Important for the regeneration is a sufficient amount of sleep. Give your body nine or more hours to recover and do all its little magic reparation processes, which it does when you sleep. Alcohol can harm this recovery process!
After three to four training days, you should add an easy recovery day. Two hours of easy training are enough. This way you can gather new strength and energy for your next training session.
The mix of a modest build up, an optimal recovers and the general high training load, will make your training camp a successful one. You have got to bear in mind one more thing: after the training camp, you should do a one week long unloading phase to change the calculated fatigue to strength.