6/30/17

Can you benefit from a group training camp?


Preparing for a triathlon or running event requires a lot of time - often alone time This leaves little time for socializing with others who share the same (crazy) passion with you. Although your spouse/friends may support your training, the enthusiasm at a group camp is often much greater than what you would experience alone. 



While you may be 100% personally invested into your athletic journey right now in your life, you are more likely to stick with your sport when your enjoyment factor is high. Although we all need to embrace the solo grind that is needed for self improvement, your sport allows you to live a active, happy and healthy lifestyle - thus, it's important to find ways to keep that “fun” factor going and you can do that through a training camp. 





When most of your training is done by yourself, it allows you to focus on your own journey. Your training environment becomes very controlled and familiar and you know what to do to deliver yourself to a quality training session. This can also keep you from stepping outside of your comfort zone for anything new becomes uncomfortable. 

Because most athletes have a competitive side (and an ego), training with others can tempt you to compete against others, forcing you to go above and beyond what you are supposed to do. Also, in a group environment, you may find that you are constantly comparing yourself to other people, who may be faster than you. Training solo keeps you in a reality-check and allows you to focus on your form, breathing, nutrition and anything else that will help you on race day.

So why should you participate in a group training camp?

At a training camp, you are paying someone to take care of everything for you - logistics, routes, SAG stops and schedules. You are also paying for education and support. This means that all you have to do is show up and train. What a treat!


Whereas many training camps focus on accumulating miles, we believe in a nice mix of training, education and skill development. Ultimately, our goal at our camps is to help our athletes explore their true physical and mental capabilities. We help them overcome fears and what was once uneasy, becomes familiar and more comfortable. We love stretching comfort zones. Our hope is that when our campers return home, they not only have improved confidence and self-belief but they can apply what they learned at camp to their own training and racing.

Although we have a lot of fun at our camps (there is no shortage of laughs), we spend a lot of time on posture, running form, swim mechanics, terrain management, up and downhill running, bike handling skills, descending, cornering or terrain management – all things that may be new, unfamiliar, uneasy/uncomfortable or rarely practiced. At a training camp, you have the unique experience to apply workouts (in your own controlled/familiar setting) to the open road (or water).

A group camp also brings out the best in you – if you let it. You are less likely to make excuses, you stretch your comfort zone and you give a little bit more than you think you are capable of giving. 




A group training camp also provides you with the opportunity to experience what it is like to train when you are rested (good sleep), fueled (good eating) and present (mentally strong). It is important to us that our campers return to their home environment with a better understanding of how important good sleep, proper fueling, nutrient timing and application of sport nutrition, alongside better mental strength, can assist in improved fitness.  For many athletes, home habits sabotage performance improvements so in a group training environment, campers have the opportunity to explore new strategies for fueling, training and mental strength. Imagine what it would be like to perform with a body that is well rested, well fueled and mentally focused??




Regardless of the camp focus, whether it is solo as a weekend getaway, a private training or in a group, your camp experience should be fun, educational and energizing so that when you return home, you feel excited to apply what you learned at camp.

In our opinion, a training camp is so much more than just adding up training miles. 




A training camp is a big investment, requiring time away from work/family but what you get in return is an inspiring, education, fun, challenging, memorable and life-changing experience where you can stretch your comfort zone, learn, explore new boundaires, push your physical and mental limits and become the athlete that you are capable of being. 





6/29/17

Trimarni endurance camp reflections - day 4


When an athlete lacks mental toughness, it's easy to give up, give in or give less. We see this a lot when athletes train alone.

But in a group setting, athletes are willing to do just a little bit more than what they would do alone.
Regardless of talent, a mentally tough athlete has what it takes to get through a tough workout.

Day 4 of camp was all about attitude and every camper brought a great mindset to the last day of training at camp.

After three challenging, exhausting and long days of training, our campers arrived to Lake Jocassee around 8:30am for one last workout. A 1-hour open water swim workout followed by a 90-minute hilly run.

At Trimarni, we have a special group of athletes. We feel incredibly lucky that our athletes/campers bring great can-do attitudes to every workout as this fosters a positive, ego-free, supportive environment. When you feel good about yourself, you think, act and train in a way that is good for everyone. 


Instead of doing things the way that they have always been done, our campers opened their minds to new ways of training over all 4.5 day of camp. 



Instead of simply asking our campers to swim for 60 minutes, we gave them a swim workout. There were no excuses or reasons for not being able to do the swim workout but instead, everyone gave their best effort - even though we could see the exhaustion in their eyes.

And this is why a group training camp is so beneficial. When you think you don't have it in you, others bring the best out of you. 

It's always amazing to see how a group environment provides an immediate source of energy. Our campers were extremely mentally strong and welcomed the opportunity to challenge and push themselves beyond their comfort zone. 



With a beautiful backdrop to our open water swim, we all gathered in the water after a dynamic warm-up to start the open water swim workout.

Warm-up:
10 minutes out, 10 minutes back - easy swimming
Then 10 minutes out (easy), 10 minutes back build effort.

Pre-set:
4 x (10 strokes fast, 10 strokes easy, 20 strokes fast, 20 strokes easy, 30 strokes fast, 30 strokes easy), 

Main set 3x's
~150-200 yards out (Joey was our "buoy" in the kayak)
#1: Endurance effort, 85%
#2: Build to strong
#3: Strong






The water was a little choppy and the open water swim workout was not easy on the last day of camp but our athletes did not complain. Knowing that the open water environment is not familiar for most athletes, we encouraged our campers to not get frustrated and fight the water but instead, focus on good swimming technique, with great confidence. 



After the swim, we got ready for the run. At Lake Jocassee, there are no flat roads so we told our campers that this would be a very hilly run (about 250-300 feet of climbing for every 30 minutes of running). With the very last workout of the 4.5 day camp being a long run, we wanted to add some specificity to the run to keep our campers focused and engaged.

Although we had covered a lot of miles on the bike, we purposely did not overload our campers with running miles to ensure that we could minimize the fatigue and tissue breakdown throughout camp. This approach makes for quality training and to reduce risk for injury as our campers could keep good form during every run. Additionally, at our camps, every camper is required to bring sport nutrition/fluids with them when running, for all run workouts - either in a hydration belt or backpack. This keeps our athletes "healthy" when accumulating training stress and makes for productive training sessions and quick recovery.

Run workout
90 minutes as 3 x 30 minutes
15 minutes out, 15 minutes back on rolling terrain

Loop 1: Conversational pace, smooth and easy
Loop 2: Steady effort
Loop 3: Strong effort

We had our campers loop back at the picnic tables where additional sport nutrition/water was available for refilling flasks. Our campers treated this workout like a race so the nutrition stops were quick, just like at an aid station (or special needs) on race day.

It was so awesome to see our athletes work together. Although some athletes opted to run alone, there was no shortage of cheers and high fives from the athletes on the run course. Plus, our photographer Joey captured some great pics of us running! Here are a few pics of our campers in action.


Joe and Karel


Justine


Celeste


Heidi and Kevin


Thomas


Me and Justine



Elizabeth, Danielle and Sandra


Tim and Meredith


Jim 


Pat



Michaela 



Katja and Kathleen 


Stephanie 



Although the camp experience is just as exhausting for us coaches as it is for our campers, we absolutely love putting on training camps, especially in beautiful Greenville, SC. It's incredible to see our campers stretch their physical limits, step outside a comfort zone, embrace fear and bond with like-minded individuals. Our job is extremely rewarding and we love helping athletes develop fitness and skills to improve athletic capabilities, while having fun and maintaining pure enjoyment for the sport of triathlon.


Total camp stats:
2.5 hours of swimming 
12-14 hours of cycling
2.5-3 hours of running
Over 17 hours of training in 4.5 days!
And over 14,000 feet of elevation gain on the bike and over 1000 feet on the long run!

Every camp reminds us how much we love the sport of triathlon and why this sport is so special.

Inspiring people doing incredible things with the human body.
Stretching comfort zones, pushing limits and overcoming fear.

You will never know what you are capable of achieving until you try.

Thank you campers for making our 2017 Trimarni endurance camp extra special! 

And a special thanks to Joey for being our SAG/photographer and assistant coach Joe for your watchful eye, great mechanic skills and support. Also thank you to Thomas for being our"route guide" so that we could spend more one on one time with our campers. 
And thank you to the following companies who provided swag to our campers: 
XTERRA WETSUITS - wetsuit bag and hanger
cheribundi - refuel
Veronica's Health Crunch - yummy crunch
Mg12 - The Power of Magnesium - magne sport balm, roll on and salts
BOCO Gear - camp hats
OOBE - camp shirts
TeamHOTSHOT - Hot Shot 'drink'
CLIF Bar - Sport nutrition
Infinit Nutrition - Bike nutrition
Beauty Counter - sunscreen 

6/28/17

Trimarni endurance camp reflections - day 3


We saved the longest and hardest camp ride for day 3 of camp. This route included between 4000-6300 feet of climbing. Our campers knew that this would be their last day of riding at camp and we wanted it to be a ride to remember.

We have said it over and over again but we just love our cycling playground. We have endless cycling routes and we never get bored on our variable terrain. The views are spectacular, the roads are quiet (and car friendly) and you are forced to become a stronger, more skillful and smarter rider just by riding in and around Greenville.

Knowing that our campers would be mentally and physically exhausted on day 3 of camp, we gave our campers two options for rides. One ride started at Hotel Domestique (~50 miles) at 8am and the other ride started at 7:30am from the camp lodge. Although we had two ride options, we selected which campers would be in which group. We wanted to make sure that day 3 of camp made sense for every athlete, since it was going to be a challenging route regardless of the total miles.

Assistant coach Joe and I decided to ride to Hotel Domestique from the lodge so we left at 6:45am to meet our group of campers at the hotel by 8am. This was a nice opportunity for Joe and I to chat and to spin our legs before riding with our campers. Once we met up with our group, we headed out to the watershed and up the ~10 mile gradual climb until we reached the NC border. Once we were welcomed with smooth pavement, we descended and climbed our way into Saluda before we reached the 28-mile Green River Cove loop. 


The ride to the start of the loop is a beautiful one so we made sure to encourage our campers to ride steady and to save the legs for the 17-switchbacks that occur in the last 2.5 miles of the 28 mile loop. Yes, you read that right - seventeen switchbacks in 2.5 miles!! 



Here are some pictures from the first part of our ride until the SAG stop. 






















Once again, we were treated with amazing weather and very few cars on the road. I don't think a single car passed us for over 15 miles on the Green River Cove loop! 


My group ended up beating Karel's group to the SAG stop so we restocked our bottles and snapped a few pics before heading out on the road again for another 10 miles until we reached the switchbacks. 

I made sure to keep the effort mellow for the next 10 miles and it was nice for us all to just enjoy riding, while enjoying the beautiful views. Once we reached the switchbacks, it was time to go to work! Eventually, Karel's group caught us on the switchbacks so it was fun for us all to be on the same part of the course together, with everyone grinding away until the top. 





Once again, every camper made it to the top. It was not easy but everyone was determined to get to the top. These switchbacks are no joke but Karel and I made sure to instruct our athletes on the best line to take in each switchback to minimize the steepness of the grade and how to establish a good rhythm when climbing switchbacks. The support among the campers was incredible and the group setting really helped some campers stretch their limits and push beyond physical capabilities. 


At the top, we all grouped together and congratulated everyone for conquering such a tough loop (the first part of the Green River Cove loop is not easy with several steep climbs and descends). We then broke into two groups and made our way back through Saluda until we reached the SC border, before descending down the watershed for the next ~10 miles. 


After returning back to Hotel Domestique, we split into two groups again with one group finishing the ride and starting a 10-20 min hilly run from the hotel (there's nothing flat to run on at hotel D!) where the other group (now joined by me and Joe) heading back to the lodge, where they would then do their 10-20 min run off the bike. The pace on the bike was steady all the way back and our campers did amazing. Both groups embraced the uncomfortable and overcame a lot to finish the workout. We were incredible proud of everyone! 

Tim, Michaela and Elizabeth working those hills together. 

Kevin taking a breather. 

Sandra looking strong. 

Stephanie focused and strong. 
Although we finished the workout around 1:30pm, our campers still had another run scheduled for Saturday. Even though it was an optional run, every camper went out at 4:30pm for an EZ 10-30 minute run on the trail. Talk about teammwork and motivation! 


In the evening, we had a Q&A session with our campers and we also talked about how to get to that next level as an endurance triathlete and what it takes to perform well in endurance events. It was a great 1-hour chat and come 8:30pm, our campers were exhausted and ready for bed.

With only one more day of camp to go, we knew an open water swim + long hilly run at Lake Jocassee would be the perfect way to end camp. And we were not going to take it easy on them.
Just when our campers thought that they didn't have any more energy, mental strength or focus for another day of training, the group environment and supportive atmosphere at a camp made our campers do things that they never thought was possible with their body.