Portugal Training Camp

Training Camp- Portugal I was lucky enough to get invited along by professional ironman triathlete Paul Hawkins. The main focus of the camp was to get plenty bike miles done which is made much easier in a country with better climate than our usual cold English weather. Iv been training with Paul regular on Sundays and was fully aware what I was in for as after these sessions I’m usually left with my legs suffering. My training started the day before I flew out with a very windy 85miles with the Astley and Tyldesley group who have all got the sights on good ironman performances in 2014. Day one was taken up by traveling, bike building and after a big food shop for 6 of us to keep fed in the villa we had a nice Italian meal out. Day two started with a sea swim at which my mum had warned me that the Atlantic was always cold, she wasn’t joking as it was the coldest swim session iv done measuring about 10-11 degrees. After getting some warmth and food down us we we ventured out for a steady 3 hour ride, this included 4500 ft of climbing and the weather turned on us to make it a wet, windy and very hilly ride. After the second shower of the day to get warm we headed out for a steady 10k run and finished off with 5x20sec hill reps.

Day three and we got up to the weather we came for with glorious sunshine, it’s so much nicer cycling and running with the air against your skin rather than wrapping up and braving the cold. First session of the day was a 11 mile run at which we would do as 2 mile warm up/down and 7 mile build on a undulating loop we found, my pacing on the x3 loops was good at minute miles of 6:30, 6:10 and 5:50. Session two was a 4 hour bike and again was windy but nice and sunny, we did 3100 ft of climbing and added some chaingang efforts towards the back end. Day four was to be a tough 3.5 hour bike session and after a warm up we did 1 hour of chaingang which was on a loop we did x7, this was tough as it was left with me and Paul doing 2s up because we’d dropped the others.

After this we cruised to get the legs fresh for some big gear hill reps in aero position x6 and then on a different hill we did x3 hill reps as fast cadence. I wanted to get some strength work done after we had got back to the villa and refuelled so Paul had me do some plyometrics exercises which I had never done and also worked on quads, glutes and hamstrings, my stomach muscles are still aching 4 days later from this session so just shows my usual core exercises of lots of plank exercises etc isn’t strengthening my core as much as I could be.

Day five was 3hrs easy on the bike with 2800 feet of climbing, this was followed by a run off the bike as 2 mile warm up/down and 3×2.5min hill reps as bounding (exaggerated stride). Day six was a big day, the highlight was a 23 mile hill climb of 3000 feet, this was classed as a HC climb, it was that high up we was in the clouds, the rewards for the effort was a long decent which was great fun. We covered a total of 104 miles this day and 7800 feet of climbing in 6 hours. We all got back to the villa and it was like we’d never been fed, just couldn’t get enough good down our hungry necks.

Day seven was to be recovery and we just did a easy 1 hour spin on the bikes, this is the difference of being on a camp where you can fully relax and recover as at home there is always something to do when not training. Day eight and just enough time to get a run session done before I fly home, another tough session which I’m feeling full effects of whilst writing this blog on the plane. We drove to the same hill we climbed through the clouds on the bikes in day 5, the session was a 5 mile hill climb of 1600 feet followed by a decent, I clocked 39mins going up which was a average pace of 7:38 min/mile and coming down was the quad battering I didn’t want to travel home with, it took me 23mins coming down with a average pace of 5:23 min/mile, this give me 1hr03 for 10miles which I was happy with as it was at the end of a 32 hour training week. Training with someone with the experience of Paul Hawkins was great, I was learning different things everyday which I hope will aid me in improving myself as a athlete. My body coped fine with the volume of 32hrs of training and has shown me I’m going into the 2014 season with a good base of fitness and feeling stronger than ever. Hopefully my legs fresher up for my first race of the season at Lancaster Duathlon in one weeks time, this is a northwest championship race so although it will be used as training I still want to compete for a win.