This past weekend, I went with a few friends to a training camp. Most of the folks on the new team I joined were there (www.twowheelfixation.com). That got me to thinking a little bit about the purpose of training camp and how to get the most out of it.
#1. Have a primary purpose. There are a lot of reasons to do a training camp and one of the most common reasons athletes choose to go to a training camp is to get better/stronger/faster/fitter. However, take a few moments to really think about your objectives and be specific in what you want to accomplish. If the idea is to get a lot of duration in, then you probably shouldn’t plan to work on your sprint. Conversely, if your focus for the upcoming season is track racing, maybe long distance road rights don’t fit with your plan. Having a primary purpose (your #1 objective) will help you choose the right training camp (if that’s an option) or choose the right activities to do and those that you can pass on.
#2. Assess supporting objectives. Lots of racing clubs hold a training camp. One of the supporting objectives is to create a sense of camaraderie among the team members. Other supporting objectives might be to work on specific skills. Keep these items in mind when planning out your specific activities. Speaking of which…
#3. Plan out your specific activities. It’s great to go on a camp with your teammates and other folks who are taking care of everything. It’s your responsibility though to know what the daily activities are and make sure they are aligned with your purpose and objectives. If you have the chance to influence things, great. If not, then consider why you are going to camp and maybe reconsider your primary purpose. If you’re not getting paid to ride a bike, your primary purpose could just be to have a fun time and socialize with your teammates doing healthy activities. Or you could have some specific training goals in mind that you need to achieve.
#4. Make sure you’re with the right people. When you go to a training camp, you’ll be spending a few days with a specific group of folks. Make sure these are the folks you want to spend this time with — they have similar goals, are compatible in terms of style and timeliness, are willing to ride in the same weather conditions you, and have the eating habits that are also somewhat aligned.
There are naturally other things to consider, but these are the thoughts that went through my head. I had a great time at my training camp. We stayed at the Stokesville Lodge and rode through that area on road bikes and mountain bikes.