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Intelligent Triathlon Talk, Issue #015 -,Training Camp Tips & Free Mag
February 04, 2014

Intelligent Triathlon Talk

4th February 2014, Issue No 15.

Welcome to Intelligent Triathlon Talk.

In this issue:

  • News Update
  • Coaching Services
  • Training Advice: Training Camps
  • Free 3 Month Tri Magazine Subscription

News Update

Part of being a full-time and professional coach is the luxury of taking athletes on multiple warm weather training camps. I say ‘luxury’ as it is possible to get the work done at home in a wet and windy UK, but it is not ideal.

As such, before Christmas I was on Fuerteventura (Canary Islands) for 2 weeks at the British Triathlon camp. The programme we were looking for was to get around 40-42 hours of basic Extensive Endurance training in, particularly on the bike and run, and also some quality strength and conditioning work.

The weather, training opportunities and resort we stayed in made this a successful camp – more on the resort later.

With that luxury of full time pros, we are off on camp again now, this time to southern Spain, and the next block in the winter build up.

Some of the guys start racing in March, so we now enter the next phase of introducing more race specific work. Others though are on winter miles as they don’t start racing until mid/late April.

So we’ve had to plan, and be inventive with training plans to ensure the individual maximizes the power of the group.

One Quick Example:

One of our U23s is not racing for a while, and is still doing miles, so he is going to ride a long ride with another of the non-drafters who will be doing some TT (intermediate endurance) rides of up to 2 hours.

These will work out about 38 – 40-km/hr, so the U23 sits on his wheel and gets dragged along at high speed, but at an intensity which would be higher than Extensive Endurance intensity (still his long ride intensity).

Thus he gets used to fast riding, similar to a road racer would get from road races - sitting in the bunch not doing too much but going fast.

This has huge benefits to pedaling mechanics and neuromuscular adaptations for racing, but also gets the miles and aerobic development done. It also keeps the non-drafter on his toes!

Intelligent Triathlon Training Coaching Services

We are now coaching and mentoring several athletes. We are in the UK but the athletes are based all over – from Hong Kong to South Africa as well as the UK.

We would like to introduce you to our ‘stable’ over the next few newsletters, starting with our South Africans:

Dan Forer – South Africa (ITT athlete since April 2013)

I started triathlon in Dec 2010 training in a social squad after 18 months had racked up 4 Ironman 70.3, two full Ironman and plenty 100k cycle races, half & full marathons. I had also racked up plenty serious injuries (PF, ITBS, Inflammed Peroneous Brevia and 3 torn ankle ligaments) which robbed me of at least 9 months of this training and racing time.

I questioned the training program I was on, so after months of injury rehab I decided in Oct 2012 to change how I train & train on my own, shift to sprint & olympic distance triathlons, learn more about triathlon training and physiological adaptation through training. This lead me to ITT website, which became my primary reference for learning how to training.

Following advice on the ITT website, I managed to shake injury issues from the past and my performances improved to the point I qualified for National Triathlon Champs & World Duathlon Champs.

I had done well but being relatively inexperienced in triathlon and wanting to be more serious about the sport, I really wanted Mark's input to help me achieve more. It’s the best decision I have made sports-wise.

Mark is great to work with.

He knows triathlon, the science of training and has pedigree doing so, which set my mind at ease regarding training. I've seen significant improvements in my fitness and performances in races with Mark and see potential for further gains ahead.

Its lead me to setting new goals to race and do well at both Triathlon and Duathlon World Champs in 2014.

I wish I had started training with Mark from day 1 but I am happy to have the opportunity now.

Terry Flack – South Africa (ITT athlete since November 2013)

I was an enthusiastic but average school boy athlete. In 2009 the gauntlet is laid down by 4 friends – let’s do the 70.3 half Ironman in East London. It was fun, I was beaten and lost a bottle of Chocolate Block wine for my troubles. I improved steadily from then, and was surprised to qualify for the SA Triathlon Championships in April 2013.

Expecting to be blitzed by the best in the nation I had mentally settled for a mid field position – I came 7th.

Whoa, now what???

Well, I received “the letter” 3 weeks later. I had made the team to represent South Africa in London at World Champs in September, 2013.

The rest of the year was sublime with me winning South African and African Duathlon Championships, and then clinching our provincial Duathlon championships to make the dream hat trick.

2014 is the year for growth.

Physically, mentally and technically. I am aiming for top 5 at SA Triathlon Champs, another win at SA Duathlon Chmaps and a trip to Spain for World Duathlon Champs in June where a top 10 would be sublime.

The benefits of training with Mark include the following:-

  1. The discipline of having a schedule that is professionally prepared
  2. The personal interaction and Mark’s ability to tailor training to lifestyle and race focus is hugely beneficial
  3. You know you are being coached by an individual who has the experience and knowledge of training techniques that work
  4. Online facilities including the customised use of Podio and the effectiveness of Training Peaks are really great
We are currently at capacity for coaching however if you are interested in finding out more about our services for when more spaces open up please contact us.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter Twitter to keep up to date with news from our coaching services.

Training Camps – Should You Go On One And If So, Which?

This is the time of year when northern hemisphere triathletes are getting ready to go on training camps or holidays. So to help you choose your camp effectively and get the most from it, here are our top tips:

Types Of Training Camp There are many different styles of camp, coaching and accommodation to choose from. The main two options are:

  • All-inclusive accommodation and coaching Pros: everything is organised for you, leaving you to focus on training. Cons: Can be expensive; the training may not fit in with what you are looking for. Best for: Someone with a flexible approach to training; someone looking to improve specific skills; someone wanting to train with a potentially wide variety of other people .
  • Accommodation only with training facilities on hand Pros: You are in charge of your own training Cons: Unless you are familiar with the venue it can take a few days to suss out the best training routes etc. Best for: Someone with a specific training plan to follow; a club or group of athletes wanting to train together.

Why Go On A Training Camp?

This is a key question for you. Obviously the bottom line is to focus on your triathlon training without the distractions of every day life at home.

However, knowing exactly what you want to get from your camp is important, otherwise you could end up in the wrong place with the wrong people, doing the wrong training and not get value for money.

  • Some people want camps to be about going away with friends and doing some ‘training’, but it is more about the experience, having fun and doing some cool things.
  • Others want to get specific training done, lots of bike miles for instance, because they can’t get them in at home.
  • Others might want to learn or become better at a skill, i.e. a swim based camp where there is plenty of instruction and hands on coaching.
  • Others might want to get some race practice in, open water swimming and some transition practice.
  • For some it’s a club event and there is likely to be a wide variety of people going.

How To Get The Most From A Camp


If you’ve got several options or friends are going somewhere and have invited you, which option is compatible with your aims?

It’s no good you wanting a high volume, high impact couple of weeks, and going with a group who are hitting the club every night and doing a little light exercise! You might need to go somewhere else to get the camp/benefits you want.

Planning Your Time

If you’re going on a camp where you are in charge of your training, this is very important. We like to plan, it is what gives you a better chance of achieving your goals.

We’ve seen lots of camps where people get excited to be in the mountains and on day 1 ride/run much further than they would normally do in a week. By day 3 they are hurting and from day 5 training is seriously compromised.

A good camp should be an increase on your normal training, after all you have more time and less other ‘stuff’ to do.

BUT it shouldn’t be 300% more. For the average person getting 8 – 12-hrs a week of training done at home, trying to do 30-hrs is a huge step up. There is also questionable medium to long-term benefit to doing so.

Finishing a camp strong and going home tired but able to recover quickly from it is more beneficial than having to take 2-weeks off to recover from a 1-week camp!

Planning rest and recovery is good as well, into a weekly programme but also into a day!

Be Adaptable And Open Minded:

The facilities are likely to be different to what you are used to at home. This might open up different training options, or may require you to change what you had planned.

It’s Not Just About Training:

Your triathlon performance can improve from more than just the training you do whilst on camp. If there are other athletes and coaches around, tap into their specific expertise and experiences. Get involved in camps and talk to people - about things you’ve done and things you struggle with, what they are doing etc. ‘contact us’

Finding A Camp

We have a Triathlon Training Camp Directory on our website, so this is a good starting point.

We’d like to highlight a couple of options:

Florida Keys Triathlon Camp: A coached camp in the beautiful Florida Keys, USA: December 3 - 7th 2014.

Playitas Resort

This is the premier sports destination on the Canary Island of Fuerteventura. It benefits from year-round sunshine and is an ideal triathlon training destination.

With an 8 lane 50-m outdoor pool, fantastic accommodation (options of apartment, hotel, villa), some surprisingly interesting running trails, combined with climbs and flat riding on quiet roads, this venue fits the needs of most triathletes. You can sleep, eat, swim, run and ride, with no more than a 200-m ‘transfer’ to any location.

Using the buffet means no time is wasted cooking or shopping, it’s just a matter of dropping in and refueling.

There is also a gym, and if you go with non-triathlon family/friends, they can make use of the golf course, spa, exercise classes and kids activities.

Free 3 Month Subscription to “Triathlon Lifestyle” magazine

We recently contributed to this magazine, available exclusively on the Apple Newsstand.

They have given us a code for you, our newsletter subscribers, to access a free 3 month subscription. The code is: TriLifeRocks

To simplify the process of using the codes there is a "how to" page which can be found here.

Ask the Coach

Since our last newsletter we have answered lots of questions. Got a question for us? Submit it to the website and check out other people’s questions - and our answers.
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If you like this e-zine, please forward it to fellow triathletes who you think might be interested. If a friend did forward this to you and if you like what you read, please subscribe by visiting this page. By doing so you'll also receive a copy of our free triathlon training planner.

Comments? Ideas? Feedback? We’d love to hear from you. Please contact us.

See you next time!

Rhona & Mark

© 2014, Intelligent Triathlon Training, published by Rhona Pearce. Reproduction of any material from this newsletter without written permission is prohibited.

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