A good training camp?

Posted on 19th January by John Hampshire

Seascape from the Alcudia headlandIt’s coming to the end of our first Fit for Purpose training camp, in Puerto Pollensa, Mallorca. Most people have gone home and I’m pondering how it went.

There were 9 of us, joining in for different periods of time and with differing objectives; including five runners of varying abilities, one fit but non-competitive cyclist, an elite mountain biker, an elite paratriathlete and an elite handcyclist. Fit for Purpose staff were Christine, Mary and John.

On balance, I think it’s been a great success; everyone that attended appeared to have gone home in a better mental and physical state than when they arrived and feedback was positive. It obviously worked better for some than others but the concept of providing a supported environment for like minded people to train in has been effective. Athletes of widely varying abilities have been able to train hard, work out niggles and outside stresses to return home fitter and stronger.

John in running kit, standing next to a tower on the Alcudia headlandPersonally, I made some new friends and learnt a lot. Thanks particularly to Helena from the surf shop, who showed me some great running routes. Early in the trip I had time to think about running biomechanics, uphill, on the flat and over rough ground.. all aspects of my personal research. When everyone was here I did a lot of soft tissue work trying to help people work out asymmetry and niggling injuries; and as the camp progressed I was able to watch how each individual reacted physically and psychologically to the environment.

During my final run over the hill to Cala Saint Vicenç I started to ponder these observations and wonder what people get out of training camps. Most people can only spare a relatively short time from their working life and/or other commitments so the likelihood of any significant physiological change is small. In most cases, it must therefore be an opportunity to set things up for the season ahead, a good block of training that starts developing an aspect of fitness or skill that can then be taken forward when back home. This can’t be taken forward without the right mental attitude on return and therefore the camp needs to provide the right environment for clearing out the baggage of daily life back home and building focus and clarity for the return.

I guess a relaxed environment promoting physical and mental focus must be the key. This is clearly the requirement for longer camps as well and will remain our objective as we select venues, suggest accommodation and develop our capabilities…

Thanks to all who attended our first camp and hope you come back for more in the near future…. Lanzarote in February?

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